Opinionated Internet users left, right and center are heating up like chestnuts roasting on an open fire over Hallmark’s decision to replace the word “gay” with “fun” in the Christmas carol "Deck the Halls."
A new Hallmark holiday ornament shaped like a sweater features the phrase "Don we now our FUN apparel" instead of the traditional "gay apparel."
Social conservatives and liberals alike took issue with the move and accused Hallmark of everything from rampant political correctness to homophobia to plain stupidity.
Here's a pretty representative sample of the comments Hallmark's received:
@Hallmark Your choice of lyrics on your ugly sweater ornaments stink! Will never buy a thing from Hallmark again.. So wrong!
— BobRadmore #CherCrew (@bobradmore) November 1, 2013
You can’t buy that kind of publicity. (But you sure wind up paying for it.)
The company initially offered this defense: "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. Today it has multiple meanings, which we thought could leave our intent open to misinterpretation. … So the planning team decided to say what we meant: 'fun.' That's the spirit we intended and the spirit in which we hope ornament buyers will take it."
That response didn’t help matters, and it actually drew fresh cries of outrage along the lines this user comment on Hallmark’s Facebook page: "Stop Lying Hallmark! The only people thinking of the word gay as negative is Hallmark."
Yesterday, as the issue continued to build steam, Hallmark issued this apology: "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. 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."
Predictably, the item is no longer available at Hallmark's site. Via Consumerist.
UPDATE: On Friday, Hallmark's site indicated that the item was no longer available. Now, such language is gone. A company rep said she had no information about that, but told AdFreak: "The Holiday Sweater ornament remains available for sale in Hallmark Gold Crown stores. It is shown online at Hallmark.com with a link to the store locator. We give the stores time to have our ornaments exclusively before they are available for sale online."