Last week, Hallmark made the executive decision to remove an ad that featured a same-sex couple getting married from the channel. The commercial was for a company called Zola that helps individuals (of any sexual orientation) plan their weddings. Hallmark reportedly made the choice after a conservative group attacked and pressured the network online for showing the commercial. Comments like “how dare you?!” were posted. The company caved to pressure to remove the ad shortly after the intense controversy.
However, that decision came under fire. GLAAD (originally founded as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) was one of the many organizations that reached out directly to the network to talk about the decision and to make their feelings about the importance of inclusion known. Ellen DeGeneres also expressed her feelings about Hallmark pulling the ad online in a tweet that read, “Isn’t it almost 2020?”
When the media company chose to reverse the decision, it released a statement apologizing for removing the ad in the first place. President Mike Perry said, “We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused.” He went on to say the company was and is committed to “diversity and inclusion.” Now Hallmark says it is trying to work with Zola once again. Zola also released a statement saying, in part, “We will be in touch with Hallmark in the coming days regarding a potential return to advertising.”
While it was tough for a lot of people — especially those who belong to the LGBTQ community — to witness this event, it’s important to recognize that the company is trying to do the right thing. It listened to the community and, moving forward, will hopefully be mindful about how it represents itself and those who often don’t get as much representation on TV.