The pro-life movie “Unplanned” sparked a great deal of conversation and controversy both before and after its launch. From its R-rating to major movie networks banning ads for the film, the producers at PureFlix have faced an uphill battle from the beginning.
“Unplanned” is based on the true-life story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director who quickly rose through the ranks throughout her eight years with the company, making a name for herself as an activist for women in crisis. But all of that changed in September of 2009 when Abby was asked to assist with an ultrasound-guided abortion. She watched in horror as a 13-week baby fought for, and ultimately lost, its life at the hand of the abortionist. In the years since Abby learned the truth, she’s worked to help save the lives of thousands of unborn children.
While many secular networks like Hallmark, Lifetime, USA, and HGTV refused to promote the movie on the basis of “politics,” nobody expected that a Christian network would have an issue promoting a movie that advocates for the unborn.
However, Christian radio station K-LOVE took everyone aback when their company executives also refused to air commercials for the movie.
While they were attempting to steer clear of controversy by blocking the commercials, their plan backfired as they quickly found themselves in hot water, both with supporters of the station and Abby Johnson herself.
“Ever heard of the Christian radio station K-LOVE? Of course you have,” Johnson wrote on Facebook. “They are huge, in just about every market. And, they are funded by their listeners. Well, here’s some news for you. K-LOVE has decided that they will not run any promos for my movie, Unplanned. So, a Christian radio network won’t advertise for a pro-life movie. They have stated that they don’t want to promote anything ‘political.'”
The former Planned Parenthood director encouraged listeners to reach out to K-LOVE expressing their concerns.
“Time for this ‘listener supported network’ to hear from its listeners,” she urged. “And YES, they have often supported Christian films in the past.”
After complaints started to flood in, the radio station still refused to budge on their decision, citing their mission of spreading “positive and encouraging content” and the film’s R-rating as reasons.
“K-LOVE recently received questions regarding how we decide what movies and books we promote,” they wrote on Facebook. “K-LOVE’s purpose is to encourage people in their relationship with Jesus. We focus on positive and encouraging content that is safe for the whole family. We avoid promoting R-rated movies. We stand for Biblical truth. We have been and continue to be pro-life and believe in the sanctity of life.”
K-LOVE’s choice to double-down on the commercial ban only frustrated fans further, as was clearly displayed in the comments:
Johnson called K-LOVE’s justification “total bull,” as the station promoted the R-rated “Passion of the Christ.”
Update on K-LOVE Radio debacle. They are now saying that they don’t promote R rated films…which is total bull because…
“I happen to know that you promoted The Passion for Christ which is rated R so I think that your reasoning is more about being soft on unashamedly opposing abortion,” added Facebook commenter Chrystal Lewis. “Nobody likes a hypocrite.”
Just a day after Johnson’s first post on the matter, she shared a “wonderful update” that K-LOVE had a change of heart.
“After meeting again today with one of the Unplanned producers, K-LOVE Radio has decided to stand up for the unborn and promote Unplanned!!” shared Johnson. “We knew they were pro-life, so their decision only confirms that they do indeed have a heart for the unborn. We are thrilled! Thank you to everyone who sent emails encouraging them to promote the film. Your voices were heard. We are strong together and I’m honored to have K-LOVE on the team!”
However, it seems the radio station has failed to live up to their promises.
In response to a tweet by Faithwire’s Tre Goins-Phillips, Johnson reported on Friday that K-LOVE is still not airing the ads.
“This kind of flew under the radar, but K-LOVE refused to air ads for @UnplannedMovie until @AbbyJohnson pressed the radio network,” wrote Phillips, to which Johnson responded: “And they still aren’t.”
— Tré Goins-Phillips 💻 (@tregp) April 12, 2019