Victory! The Hallmark Channel will reinstate LGBTQ-inclusive advertisements after GLAAD and the LGBTQ community spoke out

On Sunday, GLAAD responded to The Hallmark Channel’s decision to reinstate TV ads featuring a same-sex couple after facing pressure from GLAAD and the LGBTQ community. 

GLAAD President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, said in a statement: “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. LGBTQ people are, and will continue to be, a part of advertisements and family programming and that will never change. GLAAD exists to hold brands like The Hallmark Channel accountable when they make discriminatory decisions and to proactively ensure families of all kinds are represented in fair and accurate ways.” GLAAD was also on CNN immediately after Hallmark Channel reversed its decision. 

On Thursday, the Hallmark Channel pulled TV ads featuring brides kissing from its airwaves after deeming the content “controversial.” A series of six ads for the wedding planning website Zola first appeared on the Hallmark Channel on December 2nd. The decision to pull the ads featuring two women kissing came after the network faced pressure from the anti-LGBTQ hate group One Million Moms.

GLAAD created a petition urging Hallmark Channel to reinstate the ads which garnered thousands of signatures, spoke out in the press including on NBC Nightly News, and also had conversations with The Hallmark Channel. GLAAD also worked with media to expose the One Million Moms and their continued agenda to dehumanize LGBTQ people and spread hatred and misinformation about our community. 

In a press release on Sunday, the Hallmark Channel announced that it will reverse its decision and reinstate the TV ads featuring a same-sex couple. Mike Perry, CEO of Hallmark, said in a statement: “Earlier this week, a decision was made at Crown Media Family Networks to remove commercials featuring a same-sex couple. The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused. 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 detracts for this purpose is not who we are. As the CEO of Hallmark, I am sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused.”

Perry continued: “Hallmark is, and always has been, committed to diversity and inclusion – both in our workplace as well as the products and experiences we create. It is never Hallmark’s intention to be divisive or generate controversy. We are an inclusive company and have a track record to prove it. We have LGBTQ greeting cards and feature LGBTQ couples in commercials...Hallmark will be working with GLAAD to better represent the LGBTQ community across our portfolio of brands. The Hallmark Channel will be reaching out to Zola to reestablish our partnership and reinstate the commercials.”

After the advertisements were initially pulled from air, GLAAD released the following statement from President & CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis: “The Hallmark Channel’s decision to remove LGBTQ families in such a blatant way is discriminatory and especially hypocritical coming from a network that claims to present family programming and also recently stated they are ‘open’ to LGBTQ holiday movies. As so many other TV and cable networks showcase, LGBTQ families are part of family programming. Advertisers on The Hallmark Channel should see this news and question whether they want to be associated with a network that chooses to bow to fringe anti-LGBTQ activist groups, which solely exist to harm LGBTQ families.”

LGBTQ-inclusive advertising has become increasingly popular from brands across industries, and plays an outsized role in enabling LGBTQ families to see themselves reflected positively in the media. Recently, Pantene, in partnership with GLAAD and the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, partnered to create a video series entitled “Going Home for the Holidays", which seeks to bring awareness to the unique challenges that many LGBTQ people face during the holiday season.

Hallmark’s decision comes during a year where LGBTQ representation on television has hit its pinnacle: GLAAD’s 2019 Where We Are on TV report found that 10.2% of series regular characters on television were LGBTQ, a record high.