Green Room

Hallmark Doesn’t Support The Troops

posted at 10:53 am on June 1, 2011 by

I usually like Maxine. The sarcastic, crabby comic is usually pretty funny. She’s a product of the card company Hallmark, a company I’ve never had a problem with. And I’ve never noticed any anti-American, anti-military statements or actions from her or from Hallmark — until now.

I shopped at Hallmark quite a bit while Matt was deployed. When I found out we were having a boy, I wanted to send him a themed care package with a ton of “Its A Boy!” stuff to surprise him. Hallmark was where I got a lot of those things.

Had I known they would be so willing to disrespect the troops and their families, I would never have spent a cent there.

Monday was Memorial Day. Maxine — and thus Hallmark — chose to commemorate the holiday by running the following comic on Maxine’s official Facebook page:

This insulted and offended multiple military family members, including a Gold Star wife. They decided to express their feelings about the cartoon, and were summarily attacked, insulted, and degraded by the commenters there. After a good amount of time, Hallmark finally issued a weak apology. But it was far from over. Maxine’s fans continued to berate the family members, myself included, who had the gall to express our opinion: that we found the cartoon offensive. Yes, I know, most of America does indeed see Memorial Day as just another day off of work. That doesn’t mean any of us like it, or that we want a cartoon character furthering that sentiment. And this is where it got interesting.

The moderator for the Maxine page got to work. No, whoever it was did not delete the rude, insulting, vile comments directed towards military families. Instead, they were deleting our comments. Comments calling us “inbred hicks” and “retards” were allowed to stand. We were told that we didn’t support the military, that we were complainers and whiners just pretending to be offended, we were told to shut up and go away. We were insulted and attacked for merely expressing an opinion. And Hallmark didn’t delete a single of their comments. (Susan Katz Keating has just a few examples.) This action made it clear: their words said one thing but their actions said another, and that was that Hallmark does NOT support our troops and the military.

Now, this wouldn’t have been as big of a controversy as it has turned into if it wasn’t for this. Imagine being a Gold Star wife and having people insult you for merely saying that you were offended — and that Hallmark decided to side with them. Hallmark could have chosen to delete the comments attacking her and other military family members, but instead, they sided with them and allowed the abuse to continue. Here’s an example of the type of comment that Hallmark endorses:

“Yet I find it very disturbing that closed minded Inbred Hicks have nothing better to do than to trash a Cartoon Figure its a waste of Energy, really people get a grip on reality . Maybe the Bible Belt Inbred’s need to do something for their country than sit behind a computer & complain get a life seriously.”

That is simply inexcusable in my book. They censored dissenting comments while allowing insulting personal attacks on military families to continue. I can’t see how a company that supports the military would ever let that happen. Susan points out how the situation got worse and worse, and how Hallmark has even visited her website — but still has done nothing.

Stalwart troop supporter Carrie Costantini jumped into the discussion and tried to educate the Maxine fans on why the cartoon was offensive. Carrie even gave a tutorial on what Memorial Day actually is, and what it means to people who have lost a loved one in combat. The Maxine fans hooted ever louder. Their responses showed them to be people who care very deeply about when their new Keepsake Ornament catalogs will arrive, but not at all about telling a Gold Star mother to “get a life.”

Despite the fact that “Maxine” frequently responds to people who leave comments on the page, Hallmark allowed the dialog to continue unmonitored. The Maxine Brigade grew increasingly snide, belittling, and hostile. Anyone who objected to the cartoon was cast as a whiner, or stupid, and worthy of extreme mockery.

This extended “Hallmark Moment” continued much of the day.

I posted a couple neutral questions, myself, asking Hallmark to respond to the complaints. “Maxine” remained silent. I posted again. Still nothing. Finally, I questioned whether Hallmark would have been willing to use a different holiday in place of Memorial Day in the cartoon. What if, for example, the Maxine character joked about Martin Luther King Day. Within minutes, Hallmark removed my questions. Then they surfed into the blog and read a couple posts.

Are we all overreacting? I’d imagine that people without skin in the game might say yes. But as a Marine wife, this is insulting to me. I refuse to shop at Hallmark from now on and hope that everyone who reads this does the same. I sent Hallmark the following message expressing my displeasure — I have yet to receive a response. I encourage everyone reading this to also send a message of their own. I sincerely hope that word gets out about this and that Hallmark comes around.

Our troops and their families have sacrificed too much to be disrespected this way.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to inform you that you have lost a Hallmark customer. On Memorial Day, you published an offensive cartoon from your character, Maxine. The text was as follows:

“Lots of people don’t have to work today. Which is why my motto is “Live every day like it’s Memorial Day!”

This was offensive to many people, including myself and some Gold Star families. I know many of the people who commented on Maxine’s Facebook page to express their disappointment. All of them are supportive of the military beyond just complaining on a Facebook page, as your fans would have you believe. It’s bad enough that most Americans view Memorial Day as a day only for a three-day weekend and barbecues. It’s even worse that Hallmark would further this idea.
After many of us posted that the cartoon offended us, Maxine fans responded extremely crudely. They attacked us, including a Gold Star mother. The page moderator did nothing. We were insulted, told to shut up and go away, and still the moderator did nothing. After a while, Hallmark issued a rather weak apology. However, they still took a stand against the military. Comments from military families who were offended were deleted. Comments from fans attacking military families, though, were let stand. Some of these included being called “inbred hicks”, “retards”, and much more. Why were comments from military families — respectful comments — deleted while vile, crude insulting comments directed at said military comments let stand? Clearly, the company apology was not sincere. Actions speak louder than words, and your actions clearly show that not only does Hallmark NOT support our troops and respect the sacrifices of the fallen, they actively side with those who disrespect and insult our troops and their families. This situation could have been handled differently, but Hallmark made a choice and took a stand. You chose which comments to delete and which comments to keep, and the comments you chose were vile, rabid, insulting, and disrespectful. Apparently those are the customers you value — not our troops and their families who are sacrificing for your fans to have the right to insult us.

My husband is a United States Marine. He recently returned home from his third combat deployment, this time to Afghanistan. We learned that I was pregnant shortly before he left. Throughout the deployment, I sent him several items from our local Hallmark store, including multiple “Its A Boy!” items that I put in his care package to let him know we were having a boy. If I had known that Hallmark had such little respect for our military and those who made the ultimate sacrifice, I never would have spent my money there. And now, I will never spend my money there again. We lost five Marines and a corpsman on this deployment. Memorial Day is not just a day off of work for me. Their sacrifice should be honored, and if Hallmark cannot do that, then they do not deserve the patronage of military families.

Sincerely,
Casandra Chesser

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Cassy, the Copperheads of the left have been running down those who served for a long time. This Kipling poem needs to be read every Memorial Day as a reminder of what the Left has always been.

Memories
1930

“The eradication of memories of the Great War. -SOCIALIST GOVERNMENT ORGAN

The Socialist Government speaks:

THOUGH all the Dead were all forgot
And razed were every tomb,
The Worm-the Worm that dieth not
Compels Us to our doom.
Though all which once was England stands
Subservient to Our will,
The Dead of whom we washed Our hands,
They have observance still.

We laid no finger to Their load.
We multiplied Their woes.
We used Their dearly-opened road
To traffic with Their foes:
And yet to Them men turn their eyes,
To Them are vows renewed
Of Faith, Obedience, Sacrifice,
Honour and Fortitude!

Which things must perish. But Our hour
Comes not by staves or swords
So much as, subtly, through the power
Of small corroding words.
No need to make the plot more plain
By any open thrust;
But-see Their memory is slain
Long ere Their bones are dust!

Wisely, but yearly, filch some wreath-
Lay some proud rite aside-
And daily tarnish with Our breath
The ends for which They died.
Distract, deride, decry, confuse-
(Or-if it serves Us-pray!)
So presently We break the use
And meaning of Their day!

SDN on June 1, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Consider them banned from my life. I fully support the military, and if this is how Hallmark wants to treat those customers, then they can kiss my a.

I didn’t shop at Hallmarks often, but I will encourage anyone I know that does, to not do so in the future. Also, consider their channel off my list. I will no longer watch ANY of their programming.

capejasmine on June 1, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Oh, how sad. For a Gold Star mother — as for so many Americans — every day is Memorial Day.

WCW fans have a more respectful and appropriate attitude about the holiday and what it means. That’s pretty informative.

J.E. Dyer on June 1, 2011 at 11:39 AM

Thanks for posting this Cassy. I very seldom shop at hallmark, but now I never will. Our home honors our fallen, serving, and retired men and women military daily.
L

letget on June 1, 2011 at 11:54 AM

Right on Cassy and how profoundly sad for our Gold Star families.

Kate on June 1, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Overreacting? No, not at all Cassy…

My Father passed away in January 30, 2009, just a few days shy of his 87th birthday… He was World War Two veteran and like many of his peers he never talked much about his service or the things he’d seen. That all changed a few years ago when I gave him a copy of Band of Brothers on DVD. After we watched the miniseries he quietly started looking through old photo albums and boxes that hadn’t been touched years. Every so often he’d pull out a handful of pictures and ask me scan them and clean them up bit, I’m not sure how many photo I ended up scanning but there were quite a few. Eventually he started speaking at local schools about the war and some of his experiences with the 709th Military Police Battalion in Paris and later the 351st Engineer Regiment.

Scanning all those photos was strange experience, my Dad and I didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things but he was always a rock… there were times he hand me a picture he wanted scanned and he smile and say with dusty look in his eye “he was a good guy”…

Those moments with my Father have left me with a deep understanding of what Memorial Day is all about. I can’t begin to tell you how deeply offensive I find Hallmark’s actions.

jasetaro on June 1, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Thanks for posting this. I am — or, as of now, used to be — a faithful collector of Hallmark’s Star Trek Christmas ornaments. Apparently my collection is now as complete as it ever will be (unless I buy them used, I suppose?), as I’m done with Hallmark from now on.

Mary in LA on June 1, 2011 at 1:20 PM

I’m a military wife (my husband was in basic training on our first anniversary and he retired about seven years ago).
I’m a military mom-in-law as our son-in-law served in Iraq and lost a large part of his hearing there, as well as some dear, dear friends of his.

And, to be honest, at first I thought this was over-reacting. I didn’t think the carton was that offensive. Stupid, yes, but it didn’t offend me.

However, Hallmark’s reaction? Deleting comments from military families while leaving personally rude, demeaning, crude insults standing? That is outrageously offensive and despicable.

I will never buy a thing from Hallmark again.

DeputyHeadmistress on June 1, 2011 at 2:13 PM

As I was named after my great uncle, killed October 2, 1918, I do find this offensive, both Maxine & Hallmark. I don’t go shopping that day (except for some groceries) and while I may go to a picnic, I always toast him in the evening, with good Scotch (he was Scottish.)

On the other hand, in some ways I do live each day like Memorial Day in that I have his picture up in my bedroom, so I see him every day.

rbj on June 1, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Are we all overreacting?

Yes. Merely pointing out that Memorial Day is sacred to some Americans would probably suffice. Encouraging a campaign to punish Hallmark for a Memorial Day Card which reflects how most Americans view the day (rightly or wrongly) seems over the top to me.

I’d imagine that people without skin in the game might say yes.

I’m from a military family myself and know too many servicemen who made the ultimate sacrifice either in combat and all too often, training. For myself I like to set aside some quiet time for reflection or make a trip to one of sites where someone I know rests. I cringe when I hear people say Happy Memorial Day and I even go as far not attending parades. For myself and many others it is sombre and personal. For the great majority of Americans (and even some military families), it’s the first day of summer and a nice day off to be busy with life & leisure.

But as a Marine wife, this is insulting to me.

Why? A cartoon about a crabby old bat and a national holiday is not an insult to the US servicemen killed in war, servicemen generally, or our country. It certainly does not warrant a boycott of Hallmark. I can’t see that Hallmark or the cartoonist have done anything to insult you the troops. You are upset about some of the comments… big deal. You aren’t going to change anyone’s mind with a boycott to clean up cartoons and make sure they are all military friendly. Your headline is that Hallmark Doesn’t Support Our Troops… that’s over the top. I would wager that a company like Hallmark does support our troops and is probably active in doing so despite your experience with comments on the cartoon’s website. The best way to respond to Memorial Day not being a universally accepted day of reverence for military dead is your earlier post about some Marines and what Memorial Day means to you.

I’m sure the paragraph above would deeply insult some people because I used the term servicemen rather going long with describing men, women, and assorted service animals. I think people will understand that it wasn’t because I don’t respect service women or even service dogs… etc. Same goes for the cartoon.

lexhamfox on June 1, 2011 at 2:21 PM

SDN on June 1, 2011 at 11:16 AM

I had just searched out and reread Kipling’s poem “If” this morning and I came upon your posting of another Kipling gem. Weird.

Maxine is supposed to be rude, crude and funny and this card, like most of her cards, fit the bill for Hallmark.

However, they should not have deleted the pro-military posts unless they were just going to delete all of the posts. There are other greeting card companies who should benefit from Hallmark’s callousness.

Fallon on June 2, 2011 at 8:31 AM