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Hallmark CEO Apologizes After Cable Network Pulled Zola’s Same-Sex Wedding Ad Sparking Controversy

Courtesy/Zola

On Sunday night, Hallmark Card president and CEO Mike Perry offered up an apology to wedding planner website Zola after the Hallmark Channel removed four commercials that featured a same-sex wedding.  See previous story here, and as many soap fans  several former favorites from daytime are hired as actors consistently by the network for their movies,

In a statement, Perry shared: “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. … Across our brand, we will continue to look for ways to be more inclusive and celebrate our differences.”

Then, on the companies corporate website another statement was served up expressing:  “That is is, and always has been, committed to diversity and inclusion — both in our workplace as well as the products and experiences we create. It is never Hallmark’s intention to be divisive or generate controversy. We are an inclusive company and have a track record to prove it.”

That post talked about how the company has LGBTQ greeting cards, and goes on to say how the company has been recognized as one of the Human Rights Campaigns Best Places to Work, and as one of Forbes America’s Best Employers for Diversity.   You can read that statement in full here.

GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis said on the the reinstatement of the ads: “The Hallmark Channel’s decision to correct its mistake sends an important message to LGBTQ people and represents a major loss for fringe organizations, like One Million Moms, whose sole purpose is to hurt families like mine. LGBTQ people are, and will continue to be a part of advertisements and family programming and that will never change. GLAAD exists to hold brands like The Hallmark Channel accountable when they make discriminatory decisions and to proactively ensure families of all kinds are represented in fair and accurate ways.”

So, what do you think about Hallmark’s apology? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Hallmark knew they would lose viewers, so finally they made the right decisions. I still find there shows cheesy and terrible acting. Lol

Recognizing a grave error, apologizing for it and overturning the decision is the perfect response. Hallmark.

So Disappointed in there decision.If the ads come back no more Hallmark channel in our home and guess will get lower cable bill.Disconnecting from all channels with no family morals.

My husband, son and I have family values, just like all LGBTQ people.

So I guess that means FAUX Noize will also be off your TV? How many perverts have been fired from that channel? Including the former boss, Roger Ailes.

I’ll give you three guesses where he is right now.

Yeah, gimme soaps with REAL “family morals”! I wanna see upstanding folks like Baby-snatching Thomas plotting to bring down those he thinks wronged him! Show me pics of Rey’s niece from his ex-wife Mia’s affair with his brother Arturo! And I just gotta find out if little Violet (conceived out of wedlock with Papa Finn) will ever notice her mother abandoned her. You mean THOSE “family morals?”….

I suggest you stay with the old 60’s tv series where divorce, LGBTQ, children before marriage, women working outside the home etc were never discussed. In other words, a sanitized version of real life.

you mean you actually watch all the commercials? Most people skip thru them or leave the room.

Hallmark should have discussed this more thoroughly before acting on it.

I dont mind the commercials – Im guessing dont have drug co ads or erectile dysfunction ads – both of those kinds of ads I could do without. ha

So the heterosexual family with an abusive alcoholic father is okay to see, but not the loving, non-violent lesbians? Love that morality.

The Hallmark Channel caters the seniors..
”Hallmark has an older audience — its median age is 58.6”
And seniors are not as open to same-sex as the younger are.
Seems Hallmark was catering to what they perceived the seniors would freak at, dunno.
It looks like the younger heard the news, read of it in social media
and acted on it..
Anyways- Hallmark isn’t going anywhere..
Its apology wasn’t necessary; they scare too easily.
then again most all do..
political correctness has become to be used as a weapon.

Su000…According to the ratings I’ve read Hallmarks fastest growing demos start at women 18 to 49+, even including men. Right now their ratings are very, very good compared to other major networks. And have been acknowledged as feel good, “traditional,” go-to tv compared to the real life and divisive politics, especially since 2016. Not that they don’t need some updating in their formula. Just wish Facebook would axe the “fake news” political ads from unfriendly counties/groups that they accept. But it seems the money is just too good.

Hallmark needed to be updated years ago!

I really thought that Hallmark was a better company than this.I for one do not want to see same sex anything forced in my face just because I love to watch TV. Whatever people do behind closed doors is between them and God, we should never have it forced on us to watch. Yes, I am of the older generation and I do not agree that the almighty dollar should take precedence over what is morally right. I will be looking for another channel to watch my movies on and will never Grace the hallmark cards section. This company knows right from wrong but they’ve chosen the latter.If your cards promote the same of children and women for millions of dollars,how would you handle that? I am very disappointed, goodbye Hallmark!

Earlene…I guess that means you don’t watch General Hospital because of the Brad and Lucas storyline?

Yet you are willing to force your religious beliefs on the rest of us

Anne…this has nothing to do with forcing my religious beliefs on anyone. And you don’t even know what they are. But when there are things on tv I don’t want to watch, and there are some, I mute, or switch channels until they pass. Just wish I could do the same in some of our national political discourse. With all of that said I truly hope you have a nice holiday season.

Earline…you are not being forced to watch anything that goes on behind closed doors. There was absolutely NOTHING wrong with these commercials. Would you feel the same if it portrayed an inter-racial heterosexual couple? There is nothing wrong with love.

God bless you Earlene.

Including individuals like me and families like mine is not political correctness. WE are not going anywhere and companies that are looking to the future know that equality for all – and equal treatment/representation – is the future. Get over it.

Hallmark deciding not to bow to white supremacist, homophobic hate groups like One Million Moms is not political correctness. They were cowards to appeasing them in the first place. Get a clue.

Hi soapfan..
it wasn’t about bowing to white supremacist
it’s about caving in.. every time some group says; boycott
people jump to appease.
anyways.. the white supremacists should be happy,,
the Hallmark movies are nearly all-white actors
ever notice that??
((i don’t watch Hallmark but work people had mentioned
the movies are white peoples ..
one said;
it’s going to be a ”white” Christmas movie, again.

Im a very young 60 – dont consider senior until 70. But most older people that are uncomfortable with non hetros are much older than me, like my mom’s group which would be WWII crowd. Or they haven’t lived in larger population areas.

100 percent agree!

These are the worst movies, but this is good news.

These ads don’t bother me. I’m more for love than hate anyway. Haven’t seen these ads before. I wonder if Zola runs them on other networks?

I personally do not have a problem with gays or lesbians but I believe since Hallmark is family oriented that it should be more selective with what they show on television. Not everyone is on board with watching woman kissing each other or men kissing each other. We have children watching some of these movies and it is very confusing to them. To them this is not natural. So I have to elect not to watch these movies. It was a good move to do what they did.

On what basis do you say what is or what is not “natural”?

Believe me, as a long term observer of mortal humanity, I can promise you that there have been people of different orientations for a really long time. If you want to get biblical about it, don’t go with the Sodom & Gomorrah thing, because that story has been seriously misinterpreted. Not to mention that chapter ends with Lot getting drunk and doing really weird things with his own daughters. Now THAT is not natural!!

Try the story of young future king David & his relationship with Saul’s son, Jonathan, for example. Scripture says that their love for each other was greater than their love for women. And when old Saul found out about it, he accused poor Jon of being a “whore” just like his mama, and tried to gut his own son with a spear. Guess Saul was the founder of “One Million Moms” (yeah the current organization ain’t run by women either, nor do they have anything remotely close to a million members. But since when do FundaMENTALists tell the truth about anything??)

Children are taught hate, they are taught what is “unnatural.” They do not innately think that some people should kiss and others shouldn’t. They are not confused unless people like you confuse them. Also, not to make your brain explode or whatever, but lots of kids are LGBTQ. Shouldn’t they be able to see reflections of themselves on TV? For crying out loud, read a book. Read a pamphlet. Get a clue.

There ARE children being raised by same sex couples.

There is nothing wrong with any child witnessing LOVE. It should not be confusing. It is not natural TO YOU, you are teaching your children the same. Sad.

They realized the amount of money they were, and will continue to lose… They offer 2 – 3 Same sex cards, for any occasion/holiday. Plus, there was here an apology, they just agonized over the decision.

I was not happy when they pulled the ads. I had been seeing them already on other platforms and thought they were cute. I am glad they have seen the error of removing them and hope Zola will put them back on.

General Hospital

John J. York Shares His Emotional Journey from Cancer Back to ‘General Hospital’ with ‘Good Morning America’

General Hospital fans are counting the hours till tomorrow, and the June 19th episode of the ABC daytime drama series, where they will see the highly-anticipated return of longtime veteran, John J. York (Mac Scorpio).

York has been through a physical and emotional rollercoaster fighting two blood cancers, myelodysplastic syndromes and multiple smoldering myeloma, and receiving a lifesaving blood stem cell transplant after months of trying to locate a match donor.

Now, on the other side of it, York sat down with Good Morning America this week ahead of his first episode back on GH, where not only do we see the moment he steps through the door at Maxie’s (Kirsten Storms) and is welcomed by her, Georgie, Spinelli (Bradford Anderson) and he will also meet the new young children playing the role of Bailey James, twins Riley and Miley Polonki.

Courtesy/GMA

Speaking with tears in his eye on coming back to work at the set of GH, York expressed, “Everybody has been very welcoming. Very welcoming, and here I go right off the bat (begins to tear up). I can’t tell you how nice it’s been to get the support that I have gotten.”

When asked by GMA’s Zohreen Shah, what he missed the most about being away from GH, while undergoing treatment, York shared, “I just felt so attached that I didn’t feel I missed anything. I just took a little break and a little vacation, I guess, and had to go through something, and now we’re here kind of on the other side of it.”

Photo: Disney/ABC

The story for Mac heats up on today’s June 18th episode of GH, when in a preview for the show, Cody (Josh Kelly) talks to Sasha (Sofia Mattsson) and finally admits he is having regrets about the time he wasted with Mac, after seeing how Chase (Josh Swickard) has been grieving the loss of his father, Gregory.  Will he fess up when Mac steps back into action and tell him that he is his biological son? Stay tuned.

Check out John’s emotional appearance on Good Morning America below. Are you looking forward to seeing Mac back in action on GH starting tomorrow? Comment below.

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General Hospital

John J. York Returns as General Hospital’s Mac Scorpio and Shares, “Expect The You-Know-What to Hit the Fan”

General Hospital fans were overjoyed when John J. York (Mac Scorpio) revealed he was back on set and taping all-new episodes of the ABC daytime drama series.

The beloved GH star was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and multiple smoldering myeloma, two blood and bone marrow disorders, back in 2022.  Later, he underwent treatment for the cancer in September of 2023, which took him off the show while he went through a blood stem cell transplant and the recovery.

Now, those who have waited for Mac to finally get to the truth – that Cody Bell (Josh Kelly) is his biological son – may finally get their wish!  Speaking with TV Insider on his imminent return (he is back on-screen this coming Wednesday, June 19th), York shared on what’s about to go down, “Expect the you-know-what to hit the fan and let the dust come down and settle where it will, so get ready.”

Photo: ABC

York also prepped viewers that he will look a little different when he first seen back in Port Charles, due to his cancer treatments, “My hair grew back nice. I was not sure how my hair would look because I was bald. Now it’s short, like a military cut.”

Photo: JYorkIG

Speaking on his own health and life, John shared, “With the MDS, if everything goes well with the bone marrow transplant, that should be handled. With the multiple smoldering myeloma, smoldering being the key word, it just kind of stays there in my system. There is a small chance that it could turn into full-blown leukemia at some point, but the goal is for me to die of old age before I die of any kind of blood cancer. I feel fantastic and all the blood tests that I take once a month have all pointed in the direction that things are all going in the right direction, which is really good.”

Photo: ABC

Are you looking forward to the moment that Mac realizes Cody is his son? What do you think his reaction will be as he has been duped all this time? Happy, as we are, that John is back on-screen on GH? Comment below.

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News

One Life to Live Alum Jonathan Groff Wins First Tony Award For ‘Merrily We Roll Along’

Finally, in his third Tony Award nomination, the multi-talented Jonathan Groff, was named the Tony winner in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for his work in the Broadway revival of Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along at the 77th annual Tony Awards broadcast on CBS.

In one of the hotly contested categories of the night, Groff bested Brody Grant for The Outsiders, Dorian Harewood for The Notebook, Brian d’Arcy James for Days of Wine and Roses, and Oscar and Olivier Award winner Eddie Redmayne for Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club.

Many thought Groff should have won a Tony back in 2007 for his performance in the original Broadway cast of Spring Awakening, but ‘Merrily’ was the ticket to victory.

Photo: CBS

One Life to Live fans may remember Groff played the teenager Henry Mackler back in 2007, in what was to be a long arc of a storyline involving a school shooting, but his role as cut short after 11 episodes, due to the real-life Virginia Tech school shooting in April of 2007.

Delivering the most emotional and heartfelt acceptance speech Tony night, Jonathan began. “I grew up in a house surrounded by cornfields in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I was raised by my parents, Jim and Julie Groff, and my brother David, and the three of them were sitting right there. Thank you for letting me dress up like Mary Poppins when I was three. Thank you for letting me act out scenes from I Love Lucy on my 10th birthday. Thank you for always allowing my freak flag to fly without ever making me feel weird about it.”

He added, “Even if they didn’t always understand me “my family knew the lifesaving power of fanning the flame of a young person’s passions without judgment. I walked through life with an open heart because you let me know that I could. Thank you to all of my teachers back in Pennsylvania, especially Sue Fisher, who told me I could do this for a living.”

Speaking to how Broadway has impacted his life, Groff further teared-up and expressed, “I moved to New York exactly 20 years ago this year and I got a job waiting tables and became a volunteer for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. All I wanted was to be a part of this community. A thank you to everyone involved in Spring Awakening who not only made that dream come true, but also inspired me to come out of the closet when I was 23. I’m now 39 and musical theater is still saving my soul.”

“Maria Friedman, thank you for letting me be your Franklin Shepherd in this production of Merrily and allowing me the chance to accept respect and express both the lightest and darkest parts of myself,” Groff continued. “Daniel Radcliffe and Lindsay Mendez, you are more than old friends, you are soul mates, and I’m looking forward to watching each other change for the rest of our lives. Thank you to every member of the extraordinary cast for lifting this Merrily into the spiritual stratosphere.”

Photo: CBS

Groff concluded with, “And finally, I just want to say that when I was a kid in Pennsylvania, I used to record the Tony Awards on a VHS tape and watch the performances over and over again. And to actually be able to be a part of making theater in this city and just as much to be able to watch the work of this incredible, incredible community, has been the greatest gift and pleasure of my life. I thank you and thank you so much for this honor.”

So were you happy to see Jonathan Groff win the Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical? What did you think of his acceptance speech?  Watch it below, then Let us know in the comment section.

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