A TV channel has apologised for its decision to withdraw an advert showing a lesbian couple kissing.
The Hallmark Channel reportedly removed the advert, for wedding registry and planning site Zola, following pressure from the conservative group One Million Moms.
The ad featured two brides kissing at the altar.
But after criticism on social media and calls for a boycott of the channel, Hallmark said it would reinstate the adverts and issued an apology in a statement on its website.
Crown Media Family Networks apologizes for the decision to remove an ad featuring a same-sex couple. "We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused," said Mike Perry President & CEO, Hallmark Cards Inc. Full statement here: https://t.co/bpyOss0tmu— Hallmark Channel (@hallmarkchannel) December 16, 2019
Earlier this week, a decision was made at Crown Media Family Networks to remove commercials featuring a same-sex couple, the statement explained.
“The Crown Media team has been agonising over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused,” said Mike Perry, president and CEO of Hallmark Cards.
“Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision. 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.”
The statement goes on to say that Hallmark would be working with advocacy group GLAAD to “better represent the LGBTQ community across our portfolio of brands.
It also intends to re-establish its partnership with Zola and reinstate the commercials.
“Across our brand, we will continue to look for ways to be more inclusive and celebrate our differences.” Perry said.
The original decision to withdraw the adverts drew criticism from a number of high-profile gay figures, including Ellen DeGeneres, and prompted the hashtag #BoycottHallmark to trend on Twitter.
“Isn’t it almost 2020? What are you thinking? Please explain. We’re all ears,” the talk show host tweeted.
Following the apology, many of those who complained about the advert removal headed to social media to celebrate Hallmark’s U-turn.
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The advertising industry has been making steps to become more inclusive and less divisive of late.
Earlier this year a ban was enforced on adverts showing “harmful gender stereotypes” and those likely to cause “serious and widespread offence”.
The UK’s advertising watchdog enforced the ban after the Advertising Standards Authority conducted a review into gender stereotyping in adverts.
It marks the end of adverts showing a woman doing the housework while the man puts his feet up, for example.