Hallmark's Crown Media CEO Bill Abbott exits following same-sex ad controversy

Carla Harmon
January 24, 2020

The company made the announcement on Wednesday.

Hallmark subsequently folded under the pressure from homophobes and pulled the ads on December 14, prompting Ellen DeGeneres to write on Twitter, tagging Abbott: "Isn't it nearly 2020?"

"After 11 years, Bill Abbott, president, and CEO of Crown Media is leaving the company", Perry said.

A new boss has yet to be named, but it's understood Perry will personally lead the search for a replacement.

NBC News reports: Mike Perry, president and chief executive of Hallmark Cards, said in a statement that it was "more important than ever that we find relevant new ways to grow our business", but he did not give a reason for Abbott's exit.

Abbott was CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, a company controlled by Hallmark Cards.

Crown Media includes entertainment brands, such as Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Hallmark Drama and Hallmark Publishing.

The controversial commercials were among a series of six ads for Zola, a wedding planning website, which had been airing on the Hallmark Channel since December 2. Zola then canceled the two remaining ads it was planning to run, both of which featured opposite-sex couples and which been approved by Hallmark.

The company cited a desire to avoid controversy, and a conservative advocacy organization, One Million Moms, had already started a petition urging the cable outlet to remove the ad from its schedule.

Response was swift from the LGBTQ community and its advocates.

Days later, amid severe backlash from the LGBTQ community and its allies, Hallmark apologized and reversed its decision. The success of the channel was due in part to the annual fan favorite holiday movie lineup. In an apology, Perry called the choice "wrong" and said that "we are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused".

Other reports by iNewsToday