Wedding planner website company Zola pulled all their advertisements from the Hallmark Channel after the network decided to remove four commercials from their lineup featuring a same-sex wedding. The network's decision comes after conservative groups, including One Million Moms and Lifesite, started petitions asking the network to not run films or commercials featuring the LGBTQ community.
While Hallmark Channel cut ads featuring the LGBT weddings, the network continued to air two other ads from the wedding planner site that did not.
"The only difference between the commercials that were flagged and the ones that were approved was that the commercials that did not meet Hallmark's standards included a lesbian couple kissing," Mike Chi, Zola's chief marketing officer, said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "Hallmark approved a commercial where a heterosexual couple kissed. All kisses, couples and marriages are equal celebrations of love and we will no longer be advertising on Hallmark."
The petition from One Million Moms requested the network "stay true to its family friendly roots," which they believed would be threatened if their films included LGBTQ characters.
"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 read. "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."
After the petition gathered some attention, Hallmark announced it would pull the Zola ad featuring the lesbian couple.
THR recalled a recent interview with Hallmark parent company CEO Crown Media Bill Abbott where he claimed the network was "open" to doing any type of movie, including those with LGBTQ leads which the network currently doesn't have.
"We are always encouraging people to bring us stories across the board," Abbott told THR. "And it’s not always that simple a process where you put the word out and you get back three great scripts and three great stories. We put the word out that we’re doing an original series and we get 50 bad stories. So it’s not as easy as I think you’re making it sound and it’s certainly something that we do discuss consistently with our team and with our talent and with the agencies."