Entertainment

Zola pulls ads from Hallmark Channel after network censored brides kissing

Key Points
  • Wedding website Zola will no longer run advertisements on the Hallmark Channel after the network removed four commercials that featured two brides kissing each other.
  • Hallmark removed the commercials after One Million Moms, a division of the conservative American Family Association that defines its mission as to "fight against indecency," urged the network to not air advertisements featuring same sex couples.
  • While Hallmark cut the ads with same-sex weddings, the network continued to air two other Zola ads that didn't include lesbian couples.
Zola ad of same-sex marriage.
Courtesy of Zola

Wedding website Zola will no longer run advertisements on the Hallmark Channel after the network removed four commercials that featured two brides kissing each other.

Hallmark removed the commercials 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 same-sex couples.

A Hallmark spokesperson said the lesbian couple's public display of affection violated its policies. However, while Hallmark cut the ads with same-sex weddings, the network continued to air two other Zola ads that didn't include lesbian couples. In one of the two ads that were permitted to continue to air, a heterosexual couple kiss at the alter.

"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," said Mike Chi, Zola's chief marketing officer.

"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," Chi said. 

A Hallmark spokesperson said that Crown Media Family Networks, the channel's parent company, made the decision to pull the commercials.

"The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value," the spokesperson wrote in an email to CNBC.

The original complaint to Hallmark from One Million Moms stated: "Please reconsider airing commercials with same-sex couples, and please do not add LGBT movies to the Hallmark Channel. Such content goes against Christian and conservative values that are important to your primary audience. You will lose viewers if you cave to the LGBT agenda."

Tweets trended on Sunday with hashtags including #boycotthallmark and #BoycottHallmarkChannel as some users, angry with the cable network's decision to pull the same-sex marriage commercials, branded Hallmark as homophobic.

— CNBC's Kathleen Elkins contributed reporting