UPDATE 12/13/19: Zola tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the Hallmark Channel pulled the wedding website’s commercial — which featured a same-sex couple — as of Friday afternoon. As a result, Zola has decided to cancel the remainder of its advertisements on the channel.
Neither One Million Moms nor Hallmark immediately responded to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
A division of the Christian-right American Family Association, One Million Moms, is calling on people to boycott the Hallmark Channel after a Zola commercial featuring a same-sex couple getting married was aired on its network.
The organization posted a call to action on its website earlier this week after one of the wedding website’s new ads was seen on the family channel, noting on its campaign page that Hallmark’s commercials are “usually safe for family viewing. But unfortunately, that is not the case anymore.” The group’s chief complaint was a kiss shared between the two brides in the ad.
”Recently, One Million Moms received concerns about Hallmark airing a commercial from Zola.com in which two lesbians are shown kissing at the end of their wedding ceremony,” the post reads. “Similar concerns from regular viewers are posted on an online complaint board for the Hallmark Channel.”
The group — whose parent organization, American Family Association, has been named as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its work “combating the homosexual agenda” — quoted remarks from viewers who said that they were “fed up with having the gay agenda crammed down our throats” while watching a movie with their daughters.
“You are one of the few channels we thought we would not have to deal with this issue!” that comment continued. “Please remove this and any other gay, lesbian, bisexual, or anything else it is called from your channels. … We love you but won’t keep watching with this type of ads.”
Zola’s chief marketing officer Mike Chi tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the advertisement, and others that the brand recently released, are just a representation of the company’s work with millions of diverse couples — and that this isn’t the first same-sex couple that the company has featured in TV ads.
“We’ve always represented a diverse set of couples in all of our marketing messages because that’s representative of the couples who are getting married today and the couples who use Zola,” Chi explains. “They come from all types of backgrounds, and the goal of this campaign was to show Zola’s here to help any couple who is choosing to celebrate their love.”
Despite the backlash that this particular commercial is facing from One Million Moms, Chi says that Zola’s mission to support everyone choosing to get married has always been met with overwhelming support, and will not change as result of the criticism.
“The negative feedback is an outlier,” he says. “We want to make sure that Zola is a place where everyone feels welcome and feels like they can be supported.”
Chi explains that Zola hasn’t had any contact with One Million Moms or Hallmark on the basis of this issue. According to the One Million Mom’s petition, however, the organization is taking issue not only with this particular commercial, but also Hallmark’s recently-reported openness to creating Christmas programming with LGBTQ characters.
“Parents need to know they could now come face-to-face with the LGBT agenda when they sit down to watch the Hallmark Channel,” the organization’s campaign page reads. “One Million Moms is asking Hallmark to stay true to its family friendly roots that so many families have grown to love, and to keep sex and sexual content – including the promotion of homosexuality – out of its programming.”
One Million Moms provided the following statement to Yahoo Lifestyle:
One Million Moms urges the Hallmark Channel to return to the family-friendly content it has always been known for. The issue of same-sex relationships should be left for families to talk through together according to their faith and personal beliefs, rather than be forced to address this complex matter during family movies.
Hallmark didn’t immediately responded to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
UPDATE 12/13/19: This story has been updated to include a statement from One Million Moms.
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