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Hallmark's half-hearted effort to appease both sides

by Sam Smith

The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinion of Byte or Byte’s editorial board.

Hallmark is known for their Christmas movies. They produce several movies every year that do very well. According to Marketplace, Hallmark made more than $500 million across both of their channels just with Christmas movies in 2017. In 2018, Neilson found that the Hallmark Channel was the most-watched channel for women ages 18-54 for eight consecutive weeks.

Hallmark was showing commercials for Zola, a wedding planning site. Hallmark was originally showing six ads for the company, four of which featured a same-sex couple. On Dec. 12, Hallmark pulled these ads from their channel. According to The New York Times, the ads were pulled for being “controversial.” 

This controversy is due to a petition started by the conservative group One Million Moms (1MM). The petition was to remove the Zola commercials and to ask Hallmark not to consider movies with LGBTQ+ leads because Hallmark “is not the outlet in which to be politically correct by forcing tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality.” The petition received 34,748 signatures. The commercial was then removed and a Hallmark representative, Bill Abbot told 1MM “the advertisement aired in error” and they only discovered it aired because of 1MM.

On Dec. 15, Hallmark announced they would be reinstating the ads, along with an apology. In a statement made by Hallmark, they stated that removing the commercials was the wrong decision and they were sorry for any hurt that it caused. They then go on to say they are “committed to diversity and inclusion—both in our workplace as well as the products and experiences we create.” They specifically cite their LGBTQ+ greeting cards as evidence of their diversity. They also announce in their statement that they will be partnering with GLADD, an LGBTQ+ media group, to better represent the LGBTQ+ community.

Hallmark has had an ongoing off-and-on relationship with the LGBTQ+ community. In 2007, Hallmark released a Father’s Day card with a homophobic joke inside. In 2008, before same-sex marriage was even legalized fully in the US, Hallmark released same-sex wedding cards. Then in 2013, Hallmark released Christmas ornaments with the deck the halls lyrics, but replaced the phrase “gay apparel” with “fun apparel.” Hallmark clarified that they did it to avoid offending anyone. Hallmark is also home to the Movieguide Awards, which has been homophobic in many of their reviews.

"The belief that so-called “gays” or homosexuals were “born that way,” as the number implies, is irrational and unscientific per se. Following the same line of inane thinking, can’t a pedophile or a racist or an Anti-Semite who hates Jewish people and Israel, say the same thing? Not only that, but there is no scientific study showing that having homosexual desires is an inherited genetic proclivity, or that having such desires is inevitable for anyone. In fact, the actual evidence shows that sexual desires and behavior are learned. Thus, for example, if a child is abused by an adult or a relative at a young age, the chances that the child will also engage in pedophilia or incest as an adult are increased dramatically. Consequently, if society, and TV shows like GLEE, promote homosexual behavior among children and young people, the chances that more people will engage in homosexual behavior or homosexual experimentation also will increase dramatically. It has nothing to do with one’s essential being.

So, guess what? As Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and government (including our government-run schools), has increasingly promoted the homosexual agenda of “Do your own thing,” the incidence of public and private homosexual behavior has exploded, along with the rate of deadly sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS." -Movie Guide

Hallmark, please pick a side. You either support the LGBTQ+ community or you do not. You can not go back and forth between supporting us and not supporting us. I have grown up with your movies and they are a staple of the Christmas season for me. It shattered my heart seeing that you were pulling the Zola ads from your channels. As a bisexual woman, I’ve always wanted to see one of your movies represent me. Yet instead, you have flip-flopped for years about if you should even recognize people like me. Rather than supporting your fans who just want to love who they love, you chose to listen to people full of hate. 

LGBTQ+ people do not exist in a sexual way as 1MM has stated. We don’t have a secret agenda, we just want the same treatment that heterosexual cis couples get. Why is one kiss from a same-sex couple on their wedding day so controversial? Especially airing on a channel where every single movie ends with a kiss or a wedding? How can you say that this kiss goes against your channels policies when all of your movies show the same exact things? 

Hallmark, if you are going to support us, FULLY support us. If you are serious about this choice, reinstating commercials and greeting cards won’t cut it. It is amazing that you are partnering with GLADD, so use them to help make a Hallmark Christmas movie starring a LGBTQ+ characters. Show these people who hate us, like 1MM and Movieguide, that our relationships and existence is just as normal as there is. We won’t accept your half-attempts at support that you back out of every time. You can’t ride the line between supporting us and keeping those against us happy. If you don’t want to support us, fine, but you need to pick which side you’re on.


A lifelong, bisexual fan. 

Sources: Marketplace, Broadcasting + Cable, YouTube, The New York Times, One Million Moms, Hallmark, GLAAD, Advocate, CBS, CNN, Movie Guide

Featured Image: NBC