Following social media outrage over its decision to pull ads featuring same-sex couples, the Hallmark Channel on Sunday reversed its ban on the advertisements and apologized for pulling them in the first place, a spokesperson from the network told CNN.
The original ad, from online wedding planning company Zola, featured same-sex couples celebrating marriages, including two brides kissing at the altar.
Hallmark president and CEO Mike Perry told CNN Sunday that the company made the “wrong decision” in banning the commercials.
“The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused,” he said in a statement. “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 for this purpose is not who we are. As the CEO of Hallmark, I am sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused.”
After pulling the ads, the channel’s parent company, Crown Media Family Networks, was inundated with calls for viewers and advertisers to boycott the channel. On Twitter, the hashtag #BoycottHallmark was trending with celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres and William Shatner chiming in to protest the decision.
Shortly after the ads were pulled, the LGBT advocacy group GLAAD called Hallmark’s decision “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.”
Zola has said that the ads that were pulled were among several similar commercials slated to run on the channel and that the only difference between those that were flagged and those that were approved was the presence of a lesbian couple kissing. The company also said it won’t advertise on the channel in the future. However, CNN reported late Sunday that Zola will contact Hallmark “regarding a potential return to advertising.”
Hallmark removed the ads after conservative group One Million Moms launched a targeted campaign calling for its removal along with other content portraying same-sex couples.