The Hallmark TV channel, that has become synonymous with bland programming and anodyne content, had shown an ad from a wedding planning company called Zola that features a lesbian couple briefly kissing at the altar on their wedding day. This of course caused anti-gay bigots to get the vapors and an obscure conservative group called One Million Moms, part of the American Family Association, contacted the Hallmark CEO to complain and the company pulled four Zola ads that featured same-sex couples but not two that did not.
What is curious is the explanation given by Hallmark for its action.
“The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value,” said Molly Biwer, senior vice-president for public affairs and communications.
“The Hallmark brand is never going to be divisive. We don’t want to generate controversy, we’ve tried very hard to stay out of it … we just felt it was in the best interest of the brand to pull them and not continue to generate controversy.”
Just what exactly is controversial and divisive about a same-sex couple kissing at the altar, given that such marriages are now, you know, legal and commonplace? If Hallmark had ignored this absurd protest, hardly anyone would have noticed. But by taking this action, they have joined Chick-fil-A in being seen as anti-LGBT rights and their target audience as largely anti-gay bigots.
The actor Sandra Bernhard, who played one of the first openly bisexual characters on network TV in Roseanne, also criticized Hallmark’s decision.
“All the groovy gay ladies I know won’t be watching your Christmas schlock,” she wrote on Twitter. “They’ll be out celebrating with their families, wives, children, friends on and on and getting married in chic ensembles. Didn’t you all get the memo? Family is all inclusive.”
Hallmark has appeared to be considering more same-sex themed content. Asked about the possibility of holiday movies based on same-sex relationships, Abbott was quoted in the Hollywood Reporter in mid-November as saying: “We’re open to really any type of movie of any type of relationship.”
I think your actions belie your words, Abbott.