Hallmark Channel Parent Company CEO to Exit After Same-Sex Ad Controversy

Anne Chou
Hallmark Channel

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Bill Abbott, the president and CEO of the Hallmark Channel’s parent company, is leaving weeks after the network apologized for removing commercials on the Hallmark Channel that featured same-sex couples at their weddings.

“I want to thank Bill for his many years of success and contributions to Crown Media and wish him continued success,” said Mike Perry, president and CEO of Hallmark Cards Inc., in a statement. The statement didn’t give a reason for Abbott’s departure. Perry said that he plans to search for a replacement for Abbott, who has been with Crown Media Family Networks for 11 years.

The Hallmark Channel came under criticism last month when, after pressure from the conservative group One Million Moms, it pulled commercials from the online wedding planning company Zola that featured same-sex couples celebrating their marriages, including two brides kissing. After significant backlash, the company reversed its decision and apologized. Perry said in a statement that “it was the wrong decision” to pull the ad.

Hallmark Cards Inc. owns Crown Media Family Networks and several other brands. Crown Media includes the Hallmark Channel, known for its family-friendly programming, and several other entertainment properties.

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