(NEW YORK) — Under pressure from a conservative advocacy group, The Hallmark Channel pulled ads for a wedding-planning website that featured two brides kissing at the altar.
The network, which is in the midst of its heavily watched holiday programming, originally removed the ads because the controversy was a distraction, a spokesperson said in an interview Saturday.
By Sunday, the channel was singing a different tune following swift condemnation from the general public and celebrities, such as Ellen DeGeneres, William Shatner, and even streaming giant Netflix.
Hallmark’s CEO Mike Perry released a statement about the channel’s reversal, saying, “Earlier this week, a decision was made at Crown Media Family Networks to remove commercials featuring a same-sex couple.”
Perry added before confirming the company is now working with GLAAD to work on better representation of the LGBT community that, “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.”
On Saturday, Senior Vice President Molly Biwer said that the original decision to pull the ads was because “it was in the best interest of the brand to pull them and not continue to generate controversy.”
Biwer confirmed that a conservative group, One Million Moms, part of the American Family Association, had complained about the ads to Bill Abbott, CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, Hallmark’s parent company.
In response to The Hallmark Channel’s decision to reinstate the ads, 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.”
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