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Hulu allegedly rejects church's ad, citing 'religious indoctrination' — then quickly reverses course following pushback
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Hulu allegedly rejects church's ad, citing 'religious indoctrination' — then quickly reverses course following pushback

First Liberty Institute released a press release Monday claiming that video-streaming platform Hulu rejected a church's advertisement for promoting "religious indoctrination."

The nonprofit public interest legal firm sent a demand letter to Hulu this week, requesting that the platform approve an advertisement from Hulen Street Church in Fort Worth, Texas.

The church created a 22-second video ad to encourage viewers to attend its new Thursday service. In the video, Pastor Wes Hamilton with Hulen Street Church asked, "Does your work schedule or busy family calendar not allow you to attend church on a Sunday morning?"

"We created Thursday nights at Hulen Street because we know that even though Sunday may not be an option for you, that doesn't mean your faith isn't important to you," Hamilton added.

According to First Liberty Institute, the video ad was rejected by Hulu twice. When Hamilton requested an explanation, Hulu told him the ad violated the streaming service's policy against "Religious Indoctrination due to asking viewer[s] to attend Thursday services."

The legal firm accused the platform of implementing "arbitrary, inconsistent" policies and failing to be transparent. First Liberty Institute noted that Hulu's policies neither mention nor prohibit so-called "Religious Indoctrination."

Jeremy Dys, senior counsel at First Liberty Institute, told Fox News Digital that implementing arbitrary guidance is "almost worse" than an outright ban.

"It's not, but it's almost worse because that leaves people, especially religious individuals, going 'am I going to be next or I going to be welcome?'" Dys said. "There's no way for someone who is trying to make an advertisement that is religious or otherwise to really know if their speech is up to snuff or not. But the First Amendment has settled this issue for the country. I think Disney and Hulu would do well to adopt it for themselves."

He noted that since Hulu is a private company, it can choose to ban religious content. Dys urged the streaming service to clearly outline its policies for advertisers instead of rejecting and approving ads on a "nebulous case-by-case basis."

"We ask that Hulu clarify its policy concerning 'Religious Indoctrination' to make clear that religious speech, like that contemplated by the advertisement in question, is welcome on its platform," the law firm wrote to the streaming service. "Further, we request that [Hulu] immediately allow Hulen Street Church's Thursday night services ad to run on Hulu's local ad platform. Hulu has reversed course on its advertising decisions before, and it should do so again here."

First Liberty Institute's demand letter to Hulu appeared to work. On Thursday, the legal firm issued another press release announcing that the streaming service had decided to approve the church's advertisement.

Dys stated, "We are grateful to Hulu for its quick response to our demand letter and for accepting Hulen Street Church's ad."

"In the future, Hulu — and others in Big Tech — could avoid these kinds of conflicts by adopting advertising policies that do not discriminate against religious organizations, being transparent about its advertising policy, and applying it fairly," he noted.

Hulu did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →