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Photo: Zola

The battle over what counts as "family-friendly" in America is currently raging over at the Christmas movie channel, with important lessons for anyone who runs a major corporation.

Why it matters: Media brands are under pressure to change their standards of what "family-friendly" looks like.

  • The Hallmark Channel has now twice reversed course on an advertiser's wedding spot that features two women kissing.
  • The network initially removed an ad from Zola, a wedding planning company, calling the commercial "divisive," before restoring it and apologizing the very next day.

Hallmark has thrived in recent years with Christmas movies that viewers mainline from late October through the New Year.

  • It's “your place to go to get away from politics, to get away from everything in your life that is problematic and negative," Bill Abbott, the CEO of Hallmark's entertainment company, told the New Yorker.
  • "Countdown to Christmas has made Hallmark the No. 1 cable network among women between the ages of twenty-five and fifty-four, and, in some prime-time slots, No. 1 in households and total viewers," the New Yorker notes.

The big picture: The pressure isn't just coming from activist groups, but also corporate advertising partners, which are under enormous pressure today to take a stand on social issues.

  • Advertisers like Toyota came under fire over the weekend by activist groups who were pressuring them to pull their ads from the Hallmark Channel, unless the network reversed its decision.
  • Advertisers have also proven skeptical about running their ads against LGBTQ content, in fear that it could change the way their brands are perceived.

Between the lines: The industry is changing fast.

  • PBS is planning to increase its LGBTQ programming on broadcast and digital next year, sources tell Axios.
  • NPR was recently applauded for embracing a plurality of diverse voices on its air.
  • Disney hosted its first "Magical Pride" celebration at one of its theme parks in Paris earlier this year.
  • Highlights, a children's magazine, made headlines two years ago when it featured an illustration of a same-sex couple in an issue for the first time.

The bottom line: 61% of Americans support same-sex marriage, up from 31% in 2004, according to Pew.

Go deeper

34 mins ago - World

"I assume full responsibility," Duterte says of drug war

Rodrigo Duterte in 2017. Photo: Linus Escandor II/AFP via Getty Images

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday that he assumes full responsibility for a violent war on drugs that has killed thousands of people, Reuters reported.

Why it matters: Last month the International Criminal Court (ICC) formally authorized an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity during Duterte's war on drugs.

CDC approves boosters for Moderna and J&J and mix-and-match

Boxes containing vials of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's independent advisory panel voted unanimously to recommend booster doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine and allow people to mix-and-match doses.

The big picture: The agency aligns with the Food and Drug Administration authorization Wednesday night which said people could switch to whichever vaccine they wanted for their booster shot.

2 hours ago - World

Israel to approve new construction in West Bank settlements

Bennett (L) and Biden discussed the settlements issue. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Israel will approve the construction of 4,400 new homes in the West Bank next week: 3,10o in the Jewish settlements and 1,300 in Palestinian villages.

Why it matters: This will be the first time Israel has approved new settlement building since President Biden assumed office, and it's the first time since 2007 that it approves a significant number of new homes for Palestinians in "Area C" of the West Bank, which is controlled by Israel.