UPDATE: Hallmark have since apologised, saying that “Hallmark is, and always has been, committed to diversity and inclusion.”
Today I learned about something called the Streisand effect. In 2003, Barbra Streisand sued the California Coastal Records Project over a photo of the California coast that included her mansion, saying that it invaded her privacy. Nobody cared about these pictures at all and hardly anybody would have seen them until she tried to stop them being seen, and then everyone cared.
It’s exactly what has happened to the Hallmark Channel after they pulled an ad featuring a wedding between two brides in an attempt to avoid controversy.
The ads were for a wedding planning website called Zola, who had six ads running on Hallmark. Four of those ads included LGBTIQ+ relationships, but the one that ended up pulled featured a lesbian couple.
The ad aired, and a far-right Christian group called One Million Moms was immediately pissed. They launched a petition that got 27,000 signatures (in a country of 327 million but ok) wanting the ad taken down for corrupting morals or something. Instead of ignoring them like any decent company would do, Hallmark actually pulled the ad.
In a statement, Hallmark said that “The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value.”
“The Hallmark brand is never going to be divisive. We don’t want to generate controversy, we’ve tried very hard to stay out of it … we just felt it was in the best interest of the brand to pull them and not continue to generate controversy.”
For what it’s worth, Zola have pulled all of their other ads from Hallmark and said that “All kisses, couples and marriages are equal celebrations of love.”
So great job, Hallmark. By trying to avoid controversy over an ad that a lot of people would never have seen, you’ve sent the ad all over the world and have created an incredible amount of controversy. For a “family friendly” channel, you sure seem to have forgotten about a lot of families out there.
As for the One Million Moms? Go back to demanding to see the manager and let people live their lives, damn.
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