Updated: Jan 28
This is what Hallmark said when asked why they pulled four out of six ads from Zola on December 12, 2019. Zola, a wedding planning service, has advertised on the Hallmark channel previously. Hallmark’s representative claimed the ads of lesbians kissing violated their policies about public displays of affection.
Women who marry women - kiss at their wedding. This is standard for all weddings. Isn’t this what weddings are all about? We gather together to celebrate two people who love each other and have chosen to spend their lives together. The blissful couple makes a public announcement to their friends and family, who all joyfully witness their palpable love. Kissing is a way to seal the deal at a wedding ceremony. The collective “we” melt when viewing this tender moment. We clutch our chest, happy that these two people have found each other.
It’s the most welcome and accepted form of PDA in all the world! Even in church! In front of large audiences, in the movies, and yes, even on television networks. Yet Hallmark thinks they can decide what is appropriate for families to watch, as they label same-sex couples controversial.
This is not controversial. This is love.
I want children of heterosexual couples to see LGBTQ families represented in the media. How else can they learn to love and accept all people, without shame and judgment? I want children of LGBTQ families to see other families like themselves in the media. I want children to grow up accepting that all of us are uniquely different and beautiful and we have the right to choose our partners, without fear of judgement or shame.
The six Zola ads appeared on the Hallmark channel on December 2, 2019. One Million Moms, a division of the conservative American Family Association, collected 25,000 signatures, asking for same-sex couple commercials to not be aired on Hallmark. Ten days later, their wish came true, when Hallmark removed four out of six ads from their network. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/13/style/hallmark-channel-ads.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share
“The only difference between the commercials that were flagged and the ones that were approved was that the commercials that did not meet Hallmark’s standards included a lesbian couple kissing,” he said. “Hallmark approved a commercial where a heterosexual couple kissed. All kisses, couples and marriages are equal celebrations of love and we will no longer be advertising on Hallmark.” Mark Chi, the chief marketing officer for Zola.
On December 15th Hallmark made a public apology, stating they would be working with an organization called GLAAD, a national LGBTQ media advocacy organization to help them represent all families.
“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.” Mike Perry, president of Hallmark Cards.
Has this experience helped to spread the word that intolerance of all people is not okay anymore? Will this Hallmark decision spur on more healthy discussions of what it means to be a family, painting a positive picture for the LGBTQIA community? I hope Zola decides to begin discussions again with Hallmark. Coming together to discuss this issue and to agree on making changes for the greater good would be a wonderful example of collaboration in the highest sense. I won't share the Hallmark ban hashtags. I believe that only further alienates us all. Wouldn't that be "us" shaming "them"?
Imagine a world where children accept all couples equally…all ethnicities with HE, SHE, and THEM.
I want labels to disappear. I want people to not have to feel a need to come out or to fear coming out. Women kissing in public, in magazines, on television, and in commercials is not controversial.
Two women kissing shows they are in love. That is all.
Anastacia Elizabeth Walden
December 16, 2019
P.S. Thank you Zola for representing ALL OF US so beautifully.