The Hallmark Channel finds itself in the midst of some very real holiday drama

not over the movies it creates

but the commercials it airs.


What Happened:

  • Zola, an online wedding resource (for creating a registry, website etc.) had 6 commercials airing on the Hallmark Channel.
  • 4 commercials featured same-sex couples, incl. 2 women kissing.
  • Last week, a conservative group petitioned Hallmark to remove the ads.
  • Hallmark stopped airing the ads with the same-sex couples – then abruptly reversed its 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 from this purpose is not who we are. We are truly sorry  for the hurt and disappointment this has caused.”

President & CEO Mike Perry, Hallmark Cards, Inc. The company previously called the debate over the commercials "distracting."

“All kisses, couples and marriages are equal celebrations of love and we will no longer be advertising on Hallmark.”

Zola's Chief Marketing Officer Mike Chi announcing the company pulled all its ads after the Hallmark Channel stopped airing the ones with same-sex couples. Whether or not Hallmark's reversal changes Zola's decision remains TBD.

“Being ‘family friendly’ means honoring love, not censoring difference.”

America's first openly-gay presidential candidate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, took to Twitter to comment about the controversy. Comedian Ellen Degeneres also weighed in via social media. The debate ignited a social media petition to #BoycottHallmarkChannel.

“Shame on Hallmark for airing commercials with same-sex couples and even considering movies with LGBT content and lead characters.”

Statement on the website of "One Million Moms" - a conservative group which says these commercials make Hallmark Channel less family-friendly.

Something To Consider

Americans, in general, have become more accepting of same-sex marriage over the last decade.

However, the increase of acceptance has plateaued. For example, those accepting same-sex marriage grew from approx. 40% to 60% in the last ten years, but the percentage has recently still hovered around 60%.


More than 85M people watch Hallmark Channel during the holidays; that's roughly 1-in-4 Americans, often making it the most-watched cable channel. It pulls in a particularly powerful group of viewers for advertisers: women from 25-54. What do you think about this controversy?

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