Hallmark’s television CEO Bill Abbott is leaving the company weeks after the Hallmark Channel suffered a withering backlash when it pulled commercials that featured a same-sex wedding. Abbott had been chief of Crown Media for 11 years.
In December, after pressure from a conservative group, the Hallmark Channel removed four commercials that showed brides kissing at the altar. Most of the ads in the series, for the wedding planning website Zola, featured a female couple along with heterosexual couples. One of the others focused on only the lesbian couple.
Hallmark eventually apologised for its decision, but only after days of negative coverage during the holiday season, the card company’s most important time of the year.
The Zola ads started appearing on Hallmark’s airwaves in early December and One Million Moms, a conservative organisation published a petition urging the network to “please reconsider airing commercials with same-sex couples and please do not add L.G.B.T. movies to the Hallmark Channel.”