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Hallmark Apologizes After Pulling Same-Sex Wedding Ad

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  • Hallmark said it would reinstate several ads featuring a same-sex couple kissing at their wedding after pulling the plug on those commercials last week. 
  • A spokesperson also said Hallmark has a policy to “not to air overt public displays of affection” in ads, yet the company whose ads were banned said Hallmark continued to run similar ads featuring straight couples.
  • In a statement on Sunday, Hallmark apologized for removing the ads and said it would affirm its commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Hallmark Brings Back Same-Sex Ad

After facing heavy criticism, the Hallmark Channel reversed a decision to remove several ads featuring same-sex couples at their wedding.

Crown Media Family Networks, which runs the channel known for its campy Christmas movies, pulled four out six ads for the wedding registry company Zola on Thursday.

The ad in question depicts two female brides at the altar while discussing how they could have better organized their wedding using the online wedding planner. The couple then shares a kiss and leave the chapel hand in hand. 

“We are not allowed to accept creatives that are deemed controversial,” a Hallmark representative said in an email to Zola.

“The decision not to air overt public displays of affection in our sponsored advertisement, regardless of the participants, is in line with our current policy, which includes not featuring political advertisements, offensive language, R-rated movie content and many other categories,” the email went on to say. 

As Zola pointed out, however, Hallmark decided to continue to run two of its other commercials which depict straight couples. One of those commercials shows a bride and groom passionately kissing.

In a statement to several news outlets on Friday, a Hallmark spokesperson tried to clarify the decision.

“Crown Media Family Networks made the decision to pull the commercials,” the spokesperson said. “The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value.”

Reactions to the Ad Being Pulled

Even before the same-sex ads were pulled, the conservative group One Million Moms protested the network’s inclusion of lesbian characters, saying they went against the channel’s “family-friendly roots.” 

The group then launched a petition that saw over 30,000 signatures and viewed Hallmark’s decision to remove those ads as a victory.

In an interview with the CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, Bill Abbott, the group said he told them that the ad had reportedly “aired in error.”

Many LGBTQ+ advocacy groups, however, condemned the move and called it a step backward for representation on Hallmark. For those groups and LGBTQ+ individuals in general, some fear Hallmark’s decision to originally remove the ads could affect their chances of eventually being represented on the network.

While Hallmark has never featured LGBTQ+ leads, it is reportedly looking at pitches for LGBTQ movies. The president of Hallmark Cards, Inc. also told The Hollywood Reporter in November that the network is open to potentially casting gay leads in the future. 

On the note inclusion, Saturday evening, the Netflix Twitter account seemingly took a jab at Hallmark by promoting two of its shows with lesbian characters.

The Schitt’s Creek account then replied with a similar tweet about two of its queer characters, David Rose and Patrick Brewer.

Billy Eichner also replied to Netflix’s tweet with a long-memed rallying cry from his show, Billy on the Street.

In her own post, Ellen Degeneres asked Abbott to explain the decision.

LGBTQ+ Groups Cheer Hallmark’s Decision to Reinstate Ads

In a statement apologizing for removing the ads, Mike Perry, the president of Hallmark Cards, Inc., said the company has a track record proving it is an inclusive company. 

“The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused,” he said. “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.”

The statement then goes on to say that Hallmark is and has always been committed to diversity and inclusion, adding that it never intended to be controversial.

Many LGBTQ+ advocacy groups like GLAAD hailed the decision, saying the channel reversed a “discriminatory” and “hypocritical” move.

“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,” Sarah Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, said.

Other stars like Jane Lynch also hailed the decision, with Lynch writing, “Love wins!” on Twitter.

Not unexpectedly, however, some conservative voices criticized Hallmark for going back on its decision, including, Franklin Graham, son of the late televangelist Billy Graham.

“We can change the channel,” Graham said. “That’s what I’ll do if I’m watching @HallmarkChannel & an ad w/gay people kissing comes on. My family—& many, many others—have appreciated their wholesome content. But the LGBTQ agenda bullies everybody—including them.” 

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (CBS News)

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Chris Evans Dismisses Reports of His Possible MCU Return

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  • Deadline published an article Thursday reporting that Chris Evans was in talks to return to his role as Captain American for at least one future Marvel production.
  • The news was unexpected as Evans retired from the role following 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame.”
  • After the rumor became a trending topic, Evans tweeted, “News to me.”

Deadline Reports Evans Is Coming Back to the MCU

According to Deadline, actor Chris Evans is in talks to return to his iconic role as Captain America in at least one upcoming Marvel project.

However, according to Evans himself, that rumor is “news to me.” 

Evans trended online Thursday following Deadline’s report, which stated that the actor could return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in up to two projects. 

Reportedly, the roles would not be for an Evans-led “Captain America” film; rather, they would be more akin to Robert Downey Jr’s role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe post-“Iron Man 3.”

Soon after Deadline reported Evans’ potential return, a number of other outlets jumped on the news.

Evans Said Goodbye To Captain America in 2019

Evans’ subsequent tweet appears to indicate that the actor has no plans to return as Captain America. 

Indeed, the reports of Evans’ return were unexpected as the actor has been vocal about 2019’s “Avengers: Endgamebeing his last outing as the character. 

“Officially wrapped on Avengers 4,” Evans said in 2018. “It was an emotional day to say the least. Playing this role over the last 8 years has been an honor. To everyone in front of the camera, behind the camera, and in the audience, thank you for the memories! Eternally grateful.”

In addition to Evans’ own desire to retire from the role, the character of Captain America (AKA, Steve Rogers) was given a firm conclusion in “Endgame.”

In its original article, Deadline explained that while Evans was initially adamant about not returning to the role, he has been more open to the idea in recent months. 

So far, Marvel has not confirmed or denied the reports, but it might not be unfathomable to think that Evans’ could return to the role at some point, even if Thursday’s rumors are false.

For example, Downey Jr. is set to briefly reprise his role as Iron Man in Scarlett Johansson’s upcoming “Black Widow,” despite Downey Jr also retiring from his role in “Endgame.”

See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (CNET) (Insider)

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Warner Media Defends DC Films President Following Accusations From Ray Fisher

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  • Warner Media said it does not believe DC Films President Walter Hamada interfered with misconduct investigations on the set of reshoots for “Justice League.”
  • Ray Fisher, who plays Cyborg in DC films, previously alleged that director Joss Whedon created an abusive and unprofessional work environment on set, adding that Whedon was enabled by executives Geoff Johns and Jon Berg.
  • He also claimed Hamada tried to throw Whedon and Berg under the bus to protect Johns, who is his friend, despite knowing about his involvement in the issues.

Issues on the Set of The Justice League

Warner Media is standing by DC Film President Walter Hamada after actor Ray Fisher claimed the executive inferred with investigations into misconduct on the set of reshoots for “Justice League.”

Fisher has played Cyborg in “Justice League” and other DC projects. Back in July, he alleged that director Joss Whedon created a “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” work environment during reshoots for “Justice League.”

Whedon stepped in to replace Zack Snyder, who was originally directing the 2017 film until he had to leave because of a death in his family. 

Fisher says that Whedon’s behavior was enabled by Geoff Johns, who was the DC Entertainment president at the time before transitioning to a new role at Warner Brothers, as well as Jon Berg, who was the co-president of production at Warner Brothers until the end of 2017.

Warner opened an investigation into the claims and announced in December that it had concluded. The studio said remedial action had been taken but did not give details. Though, just weeks earlier, news broke that Whedon was leaving his show at HBO and Warner Media, effectively parting ways with the studio. 

The studio and Fisher sparred online throughout the investigation and after it was over. In September, “Aquaman” actor Jason Momoa showed support for Fisher and also claimed people on set were mistreated. 

“Serious stuff went down,” he wrote on Instagram. “It needs to be investigated and people need to be held accountable.”

“Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot eventually expressed support for Fisher’s choice to speak out in December. 

Fisher Claims Hamada Interfered in Investigation

Despite the investigation ending, Fisher still lodged complaints at the studio alleging that Hamada had interfered with the investigation in an effort to cover for Johns, who was a friend of his. At the end of 2020, Fisher said he did not want to work on any production involving Hamada. 

On Wednesday, he confirmed that Warner Bros. decided to remove Cyborg from the upcoming film “The Flash.” He said that while he disagreed, he was not surprised. 

“While I do mourn the lost opportunity to bring Victor Stone back to the screen, bringing awareness to the actions of Walter Hamada will prove to be a much more important contribution to our world,” he wrote. 

Fisher said that when he tried to escalate his concerns about Whedon, Johns, and Berg on the “Justice League” set to Hamada, Hamda attempted to throw Whedon and Berg under the bus to save Johns. Fisher said that he alerted Hamada that Johns was in fact involved with the issues at hand, but Hamada allegedly responded by asking for names of more witnesses and dismissing the claims. 

“Walter Hamada interfering with the ‘Justice League’ investigation is a completely separate issue than the investigation itself,” Fisher wrote. “And while Walter’s behavior was not a point of focus for the investigation of the ‘Justice League’ reshoots, his dangerous and enabling actions during the investigation process must be called to account.”

“No one, in any profession, should have to argue with their employer for their claims of abuse,” he continued before saying Hamada was “unfit” for a position in leadership. 

He said that if ending his tenure playing Cyborg was the price he had to pay to bring awareness to Hamada’s actions, that he would “pay it gladly.”

Warner Media Stands By Hamada

On Thursday morning Warner Media contradicted Fisher’s remarks and stood by Hamada. 

“I believe in Walter Hamada and that he did not impede or interfere in the investigation,” WarnerMedia chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff said in a statement. “Furthermore, I have full confidence in the investigation’s process and findings. Walter is a well-respected leader, known by his colleagues, peers, and me as a man of great character and integrity.”

Warner Media also said that they remain in business with Johns, who produces a number of projects at the studio. 

See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (The Wrap) (Entertainment Weekly)

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Belle Delphine Responds To Outrage After Tweeting Out Graphic Photos

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  • Adult content creator Belle Delphine sparked outrage after tweeting graphic sexual photos of herself roleplaying a kidnapping situation.
  • Many accused her of glorifying rape and even pedophilia, arguing that she was dressed like a child. Others criticized her for not including a content warning and potentially triggering assault survivors.
  • Delphine issued a statement refusing to apologize, saying, “There is nothing wrong with enjoying powerplay and BDSM where both people are consensual.” She also said those who require trigger warnings before posts should not follow her.

CONTENT WARNING: The photos in this article and the discussion around
them involve explicit sexual content, rape, and kidnapping.

Belle Delphine Sparks Outrage

Adult content creator Belle Delphine received immediate backlash Tuesday after tweeting out graphic sexual photos of herself roleplaying as an apparent kidnapping victim.

“My perfect first date,” she captioned her post. The photos show Delphine in the back of a car with her legs and wrists bound by ropes. Her mouth is also covered by duct tape. In one specific image, a man who appears to be her “kidnapper” is having sex with her against a tree in the woods.

Soon after posting the photos, Twitter users accused her of fetishizing and glorifying rape. Some even argued that she was glorifying pedophilia as well because she appeared to be dressed like a child.

Though Delphine faced intense criticism, others also argued that she was posting pictures of a practice known as consensual non-consent and should not be facing this much backlash for it.

That type of defense was slammed as well, with critics saying there were still other problems with her post. For instance, many noted that her tweet did not include a content or trigger warning. They described that choice as irresponsible given the explicit nature of the photos, which could bring pain to rape and assault survivors. 

Others argued that even though this situation was consensual, without the context, some might see these photos and internally normalize rape. They also noted that people who see the images might not be aware or any safe words or other signals that could have been agreed upon beforehand.

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Delphine Defends Herself

Delphine addressed the backlash Wednesday, saying she is “not sorry.”

“There is nothing wrong with enjoying powerplay and BDSM where both people are consensual. I think saying because I enjoy consensual non-consent is promoting rape, is the same as the argument that violence in video games promotes violence,” she wrote.

“I made it very clear in the caption of my photo, and anything written about it that I was enjoying it and that is was consensual, I never said the word rape, or anything against my will. This is what other people have put onto it.”

She also said it was “insane” to her that people thought she was dressed like a child. She described the outfit as “vintage” and said that other people dress like this all the time.

“If it’s about how I genetically look I can’t change that and I will not apologize for it either nor will I stop being sexual since I am a sexually active adult,” she added.

“No one likes rape, no one wants rape to exist,” she continued. “Saying that I support rape is the same as saying that 50% of the female population does, because if you look at statistics based upon this (from studies done over the last 30 years, including new studies) 31-61% of women have powerplay/rape fantasies in the exact same way. I consented to being tied up and to having rough sex.”

Delphine said that the front page of porn sites has every “fantasy scenario” a person can think of, from incest to teacher to stepmom and that one of the most common sexual fantasies is a schoolgirl. 

“Just because someone likes the fantasy of something, doesn’t mean they want it in real life. Sex is complex and explorative, but should always be consensual,” she wrote. 

When it comes to people upset that she did not include a trigger warning, she said that because her job involves this kind of content, people who would be upset by this should not follow here. 

“My whole Twitter/OnlyFans have constant themes of kink since I do porn as a job and I will not put a trigger warning on all of my posts,” she said. “Do not follow me if you require trigger warnings before posts.”

See what others are saying: (LadBible) (RT) (Distractify)

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