The conservative advocacy group One Million Moms launched a petition to keep the Hallmark Channel from airing commercials and movies featuring LGBTQ characters and themes. The group launched the petition after hearing from viewers that the network aired a commercial for Zola.com, which shows two women kissing after being married. In the petition, One Million Moms asked the network to "stay true to its family friendly roots" and ignore pressures to include same-sex couples in their content.
"The Hallmark Channel has always been known for its family friendly movies. Even its commercials are usually safe for family viewing. But unfortunately, that is not the case anymore," the One Million Moms petition reads. "Recently, One Million Moms received concerns about Hallmark airing a commercial from Zola.com in which two lesbians are shown kissing at the end of their wedding ceremony. Similar concerns from regular viewers are posted on an online complaint board for the Hallmark Channel."
The petition cites comments from two viewers, including one who complained that the commercial "ruined" the network's reputation.
At the end of the petition, the group notes that there is no concrete evidence of Hallmark including LGBTQ characters in its movies yet. However, the group wrote, "Please sign our petition asking Hallmark to do what is right and reject airing movies and commercials with LGBT content!"
After more than 2,500 people signed petition, One Million Moms claimed its representatives spoke with Crown Media Family Networks CEO Bill Abbott who said the commercial "aired in error" and it will not air again.
"The call to our office gave us the opportunity to also confirm the Hallmark Channel will continue to be a safe and family friendly network," the group alleged. "Praise the Lord!"
Zola later told Yahoo Lifestyle it has pulled all of its advertising from Hallmark. The company's chief marketing officer, Mike Chi, defended the commercial and said they have no plans to change their marketing campaign. "The negative feedback is an outlier," Chi said. "We want to make sure that Zola is a place where everyone feels welcome and feels like they can be supported."
One Million Moms isn't the only group to call on Hallmark to not include LGBT families in their content. More than 40,000 people signed a Life Site News petition titled "Tell Hallmark No LGBT Christmas movies!"
These petitions have come as Hallmark has been criticized for a lack of diversity and inclusion in their made-for-TV movies. In November, Michelle Vicary, executive vice president of programming for Crown Media Family Networks, told The Wrap they are "continuing to expand our diversity."
"We are looking at pitches for LGBTQ movies … and we are looking to expand and represent the United States as a whole," Vicary explained.
Abbott also told The Hollywood Reporter they were "open" to doing any movie, including ones with LGBTQ lead characters.
"The reality is when you produce as much content as we do — which is 100 movies a year, five original primetime series, a daytime lifestyle show that's two hours a day, 52 weeks a year basically live to tape … and countless specials — there's only so much time in the day," Abbott explained in November. "And while we want to put on and we believe that we do create content that is beloved really throughout the country it's not always the easiest process to make every situation fit the mold for every individual who even wants to work with us or wants to watch a certain segment of the audience on our channel."
Photo credit: Zola.com