I'll start off by saying that I can't stand Hallmark movies.
Sure, as a greeting card company, they're doing a great job and have been for over 100 years. But as a television network known for their intentionally "cheesy, ooey, gooey" feel-good romantic movies, especially for the holidays — they've completely missed the mark.
Let me backtrack a bit. A recent commercial for online wedding registry, Zola, sparked controversy all because it showed a same-sex couple kissing for just a brief moment in the entire 30-second ad. Despite the growing acceptance of LGBTQ rights and the community, there's clearly still backlash of showing positive representation in the media.
Just ask conservative group One Million Moms.
You may have heard about their Toy Story 4 ban, which was over a subtle depiction of a lesbian couple picking up their child from school. I barely noticed this — and I'm sure many other families paid it no mind either since it didn't even distract from the main plot of the movie, but I digress. These are the kinds of "controversies" the group is mainly concerned about and they usually attack in a very public manner. So it was no surprise that they felt the need to respond to this Zola commercial as well.
This time OMM not only went after Zola, but mainly Hallmark for airing the ad during the broadcast of their wholesome family Christmas movies, claiming that since Hallmark is a family channel, same-sex couples have no place there and should never be shown on the station.
Besides the fact that this completely invalidates LGBTQ couples as being seen as families who have the same amount of love as straight couples, it also basically demonizes LGBTQ representation. As I mentioned, I don't really watch Hallmark movies but I don't think they're known for diversity of its cast and targeted demographic. I was hoping that would change in time at least, but with the decision to pull the ad from its channel after the backlash from OMM, I realized that's highly unlikely.
It angered me for sure but I wasn't too shocked.
Hallmark has been aligned with its conservative Christian values and added a separate Christian channel at one point to its network. Zola came out and said that they will no longer be airing anything on the Hallmark channel. Many tweets of protest and boycott followed. And I still, more than ever, vowed to never watch a hallmark movie, no matter how wholesome.
However, the plot thickened... most recently, Hallmark decided to reinstate the ad, after hearing the backlash from the LGBTQ community and its supporters. And it should feel like a triumph, right? Civil rights: one. Bigotry: zero? But to me at least, it just feels that Hallmark just made things worse for themselves.
Just because Hallmark went back on their initial decision to pull the ad, doesn't mean they've had a sudden change of heart and now care about the LGBTQ community.
If they really cared they wouldn't have pulled the ad in the first place. Although I didn't agree with their choice to ban the ad, they can technically do whatever they want and whatever aligns with their beliefs and values for the channel. Again, regardless of the fact that I hate their movies anyways but it would've been awesome if they featured an LGBTQ couple.
It just seems like Hallmark's goal is to please a general public, whether it's a bunch of angry conservative Christian moms or Ellen, the LGBTQ community and its allies, they aim to please whoever will give them more ratings. And that is just as scummy as banning the commercial in the first place.
So my message to Hallmark: either ban the ad or not.
Their chance for that is over pretty much, but if they expect his whole thing to blow over or for praise for showing their "inclusivity" by reinstating the ad, well they got another thing coming.
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