Victory! GLAAD Confirms that The Hallmark Channel Will Reinstate LGBTQ-inclusive Advertisements

December 15, 2019

Rich Ferraro
Chief Communications Officer, GLAAD
rferraro@glaad.org

Hallmark Channel apologizes for “wrong decision” and pledges to forward LGBTQ inclusion on the network

New York, NY - December 15, 2019 - GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, 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 was on CNN immediately after the Hallmark Channel reversed its decision: https://twitter.com/brianstelter/status/1206390075015090178

In response to The Hallmark Channel’s quote, GLAAD President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis stated:

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.

This evening, the CEO of Hallmark, Mike Perry, released the below quote:

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.

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. We have been recognized as one of the Human Rights Campaigns Best Places to Work, and as one of Forbes America’s Best Employers for Diversity. We have been a progressive pioneer on television for decades – telling wide ranging stories that elevate the human spirit such as August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson and Colm Tóibín’s The Blackwater Lightship, both of which highlight the importance of tolerance and understanding.

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. 

Across our brand, we will continue to look for ways to be more inclusive and celebrate our differences.

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.

After the advertisements were pulled from air, 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. GLAAD’s statement after the ads were originally pulled can be found at the bottom of this press release.

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.

GLAAD’s statement from Saturday after the ads were originally pulled can be found below:

“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,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “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.”