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3 Hallmark Channel controversies that happened this past year

Crown Media Family Network CEO Bill Abbott is leaving after the scandal

FILE - This July 26, 2018 file photo shows Bill Abbott, left, with a dog named Happy at Hallmark’s Evening Gala during the TCA Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills, Calif. The head of Hallmark’s media business is leaving the company after 11 years. No reason was given for Bill Abbott’s departure as CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, and no replacement was immediately named. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
This July 26, 2018, file photo shows Bill Abbott, left, with a dog named Happy at Hallmark’s Evening Gala during the TCA Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Richard Shotwell, Invision via Associated Press

Hallmark announced Wednesday that the Hallmark Channel’s parent company’s CEO is leaving the organization, NBC News reports.

What’s going on: Crown Media Family Networks CEO Bill Abbott will step down “after the network was at the center of backlash over its decision to pull a same-sex marriage advertisement,” according to NBC News.

  • Hallmark Cards, Inc., did not announce a replacement.
  • Mike Perry, the president and CEO of Hallmark Cards, said in a statement: It was “more important than ever that we find relevant new ways to grow our business.”
  • Perry: “I want to thank Bill for his many years of success and contributions to Crown Media and wish him continued success.”

Controversy: Hallmark removed a commercial with a same-sex couple before putting it back on television. The company apologized over the incident, according to The Associated Press.

  • Hallmark faced criticism for the lack of diversity on its channel, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The company tried to change that by adding two Jewish holiday movies — which had their own problems, as the Deseret News explained at the time.
  • “I think that generalization isn’t fair, either, that we just have Christmas with white leads,” Abbott told THR at the time.“In terms of broadening out the demographic, it’s something we’re always thinking about, always considering and we’ll continue to make the movies where the best scripts are delivered to us and what we think have the most potential.”
  • Hallmark also faced a little bit of controversy from the college admissions scandal. Lori Loughlin, who starred in the networks’s show “When Calls the Heart,” was named among dozens of parents in the scandal. Hallmark later fired her over the scandal.