The Hallmark Channel, which portrays itself as the “country’s leading destination for quality family entertainment,” has announced it will feature in the coming months “LGBTQ storylines, characters, and actors.”
“Diversity and inclusion is a top priority for us and we look forward to making more programming announcements in the coming months, with projects featuring LGBTQ storylines, characters, and actors,” Hallmark said in a recent statement.
“We are committed to creating a Hallmark experience where everyone feels welcome.”
In December, the channel apologized for removing an ad from Zola.com, the wedding planning site, featuring two brides kissing. Hallmark reinstated it after backlash from gay rights advocates.
Crown Media, Hallmark’s parent company, had pulled several ads for Zola after they led to protests. Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and William Shatner criticized the move and the hashtag #BoycottHallmarkChannel trended on Twitter at one point.
“Earlier this week, a decision was made at Crown Media Family Networks to remove commercials featuring a same-sex couple. The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused. Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision,” Mike Perry, president and chief executive of Hallmark Cards, said in a statement at the time.
“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."
Conservative group One Million Moms said in a petition, “The Hallmark Channel has always been known for its family-friendly movies. Even its commercials are usually safe for family viewing. But unfortunately, that is not the case anymore.
“Shame on Hallmark for airing commercials with same-sex couples.”