After Hallmark Pulls 'Distracting' Lesbian Wedding Ads, Zola Cuts Ties To Network

Lesbian kiss in Zola's ad formerly airing on Hallmark Channel

Hallmark is always a big deal in the Christmas season -- from cards to movies -- but now it's stuck in the middle of two boycotts.

Long story short -- Hallmark Channel was airing six Zola ads, with most featuring a same-sex couple along with heterosexual couples; one ad just featured a lesbian couple getting married and showed them kiss. There were protests, including from One Million Moms, which petitioned Hallmark to stop airing LGBTQ-related content. Hallmark responded by continuing to air Zola commercials, but not the four that included a same-sex wedding. That led to Zola pulling all of its ads and #BoycottHallmark turning into a trending topic.

While it's true that many of the people now posting #BoycottHallmark probably weren't watching the Hallmark Channel, several did say they usually buy Hallmark cards for Christmas but won't this year.

Here's the statement by a Hallmark spokesperson to THR, explaining the choice to pull the same-sex ads:

Crown Media Family Networks made the decision to pull the commercials. The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value.

Here's the response from Mike Chi, Zola's chief marketing officer:

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. 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.

The initial complaints were made by conservative group One Million Moms and Life Petitions, which has 45,000 signatures for a petition titled "Tell Hallmark No LGBT Christmas movies!"

Now GLAAD is involved on the other side, with president Sarah Kate Ellis sharing a statement with THR:

The Hallmark Channel’s decision to remove LGBTQ families in such a blatant way is discriminatory and especially hypocritical coming from a network that claims to present family programming and also recently stated they are ‘open’ to LGBTQ holiday movies.

Here's the Zola ad that just featured two women getting married, one of the set that Hallmark pulled:

Now Zola is no longer airing any ads on Hallmark Channel, but that ad is still airing elsewhere. Speaking of Hallmark, the channel also got a new spoof on Saturday Night Live last night with Scarlett Johansson:

If you don't watch Hallmark Channel, there are plenty of other Christmas movies currently streaming, including some great ones on Disney+. If you do watch Hallmark, here are some new Christmas movies to watch on the network, and some classics to rewatch.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.