After first attempting to explain its reasoning for removing the word "gay" from one of its Christmas ornaments, Hallmark, a popular greeting card company, has now relented. In a statement on Thursday, Hallmark said, "We realize we shouldn't have changed the lyrics on the ornament."
Controversy erupted after the word "gay" was replaced with "fun" on the ornament. A line of text was amended to read, "Don we now our FUN apparel," a line from the traditional tune "Deck the Halls."
Hallmark's latest response comes after those angry with the amendment flocked to the company's Facebook page to voice their frustration. Some critics viewed the intentional change as a slight against gays and lesbians.
"We've been surprised at the wide range of reactions expressed about the change of lyrics on this ornament, and we're sorry to have caused so much concern," Hallmark wrote in its most recent release. "We never intend to offend or make political statements with our products and in hindsight, we realize we shouldn't have changed the lyrics on the ornament."
While the product is still viewable on the Hallmark website, text informs customers that the "item is no longer available" for purchase. Previously, it was on sale for $12.95.
A screen shot from Hallmark's website
After the controversy first emerged, Hallmark issued a statement on Wednesday addressing the issue, but falling short of apologizing or admitting fault.
“Hallmark created this year’s Holiday Sweater ornament in the spirit of fun. When the lyrics to ‘Deck the Halls’ were translated from Gaelic and published in English back in the 1800s, the word ‘gay’ meant festive or merry,” the company previously said. “Today it has multiple meanings, which we thought could leave our intent open to misinterpretation.”
The company went on to explain that its planning team felt “fun” would get more at the spirit of wearing festive sweaters and that it would more appropriately resonate with customers.
Critics, of course, didn't agree. Many of their frustrations were vented on Hallmark’s Facebook page. Others, though, have supported Hallmark's change and encouraged people to stop voicing outrage over it. As of this morning, numerous comments were still being posted about the "Deck the Halls" ornament.
Here's a sample of what both sides are saying:
It will be interesting to see how much longer the two sides debate now that the product has been pulled from shelves.