Tech

Hallmark says it's 'truly sorry' after pulling ads of same-sex couples, hopes to reinstate Zola ads

Key Points
  • After Hallmark pulled ads from Zola featuring weddings of same-sex couples, the network has reversed the decision.
  • Zola had already pulled all advertising, including the spots that had not been pulled by the network.
  • In a statement from the company Sunday, Hallmark Cards president and CEO Mike Perry apologized for the "hurt and disappointment this has caused." 
  • The company said it will reach out to Zola to "reestablish" the partnership and reinstate the commercials.
Zola ad of same-sex marriage.
Courtesy of Zola

Hallmark has reversed course on its decision to pull ads depicting same-sex couples from wedding website Zola.

The company had removed the commercials from the Hallmark Channel after One Million Moms, a division of the conservative American Family Association that defines its mission as the "fight against indecency," urged the network to not air advertisements featuring brides kissing.

A Hallmark spokesperson said the lesbian couple's public display of affection violated its policies, while the company reportedly told Zola it can't accept controversial ads. But while Hallmark cut the ads with same-sex weddings, the network continued to air two other Zola ads, including one of a heterosexual couple kissing at the altar.

In a statement Sunday, Hallmark Cards president and CEO Mike Perry apologized for the decision.

"The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we've seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused," he said. "Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision. Our mission is rooted in helping all people connect, celebrate traditions, and be inspired to capture meaningful moments in their lives. Anything that distracts from this purpose is not who we are. We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused."

The company said it will be working with GLAAD to better represent the LGBTQ community in its brands.

In response to Hallmark's statement, GLAAD's President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement that the organization exists to hold companies like Hallmark accountable.

"The Hallmark Channel's decision to correct its mistake sends an important message to LGBTQ people and represents a major loss for fringe organizations, like One Million Moms, whose sole purpose is to hurt families like mine," she said. "LGBTQ people are, and will continue to be a part of advertisements and family programming and that will never change."

In Hallmark's statement, the company said it plans to reach out to Zola to reestablish its partnership and reinstate the ads.

"We were deeply troubled when Hallmark rejected our commercials for featuring a lesbian couple celebrating their marriage, and are relieved to see that decision was reversed," Zola chief marketing officer Mike Chi said in a statement. "We are humbled by everyone who showed support not only for Zola, but for all the LGBTQ couples and families who express their love on their wedding day, and every day."

Disclosure: Both NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Zola.

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