Hallmark movies. They are either heartwarming guilty pleasures of holiday cheer, or they are unwatchable saccharine schlock. Not a lot of middle ground between those views.
Whatever you thought about the CONTENT on the Hallmark channel, the one word you would NOT associate with it was ‘controversial’.
If anything, it leans more to the banal cliche end of the scale.
Or at least, it DID, until the commercial came along.
Have you seen the commercial? Don’t worry, neither had we until it became the lightning rod of another Cancel Culture story.
One of the commercials in their formulaic movies featured (apparently) a lesbian wedding, and a kiss. The kiss featured in that commercial has the whole network wishing it had never been aired in the first place.
A petition by ‘One Million Moms’ complained about the commercial.
The conservative advocacy group One Million Moms launched a petition to keep the Hallmark Channel from airing commercials and movies featuring LGBTQ characters and themes. The group launched the petition after hearing from viewers that the network aired a commercial for Zola.com, which shows two women kissing after being married. In the petition, One Million Moms asked the network to “stay true to its family friendly roots” and ignore pressures to include same-sex couples in their content.
“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,” the One Million Moms petition reads. “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. Similar concerns from regular viewers are posted on an online complaint board for the Hallmark Channel.” — Source: Popculture
So Hallmark pulled the ad.
Is that were the story ends? Of course not. LGBTQ activists heard about it and pushed back. Then this happened:
Isn’t it almost 2020? @hallmarkchannel, @billabbottHC… what are you thinking? Please explain. We’re all ears.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) December 15, 2019
What do you suppose they did next?
You guessed it. Hallmark recanted and apologized for pulling it in the first place.
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. 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.
In addition to the apology and the reinstatement of the commercial, Mike Perry also confirmed that Hallmark will be partnering with GLAAD to “better represent the LGBTQ community across our portfolio of brands.” — CinemaBlend
And so, another Corporation comes along to dutifully ‘pay the Danegeld’, thinking to ‘get rid of the Dane’. (See: Kipling)
Will it work? Going woke is a tricky thing. Doing it depends on who your customer base is. For Nike, lining up behind Colin Kaepernick cost them almost nothing, because they knew their market. Any losses they might see from patriots woud be counterbalanced by those who embraced Colins’ message.
Dicks’ Sporting Goods, on the other hand, crapped the bed with their decision to throw in with the gun-grabbers.
So, who do they really suppose will be watching the bulk of their intentionally wholesome to the point of being banal Hallmark specials?
Pride parade marchers sporting a ‘free the nipple’ shirt? Or moms in ‘flyover country’?
If the traditionalist crowd blows off Hallmark, will enough fans of shows that play fast and loose with innuendo and nudity REALLY tune in for a taste of semi-Rockwellian nostalgia?
Kipling’s poem ended with a warning, one we all would do well to remember:
It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say: —
“We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that plays it is lost!”