Kimberly P. Yow

Kimberly P. Yow

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Hulu rejects Texas church’s ad citing violation of ‘religious indoctrination’ policies: ‘Fundamentally unfair’

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Hulu reportedly rejected a Texas church’s local ad, claiming that it violated their policies on “Religious Indoctrination.”

First Liberty Institute issued a press release on Monday which accused the streaming service of unfairly rejecting a 22-second ad by the Hulen Street Church in Fort Worth. The ad promoted the church’s weekly Thursday services and was previously shared on Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads.

However, according to the firm, Hulu rejected the ad twice.

“[I]t was determined that your ad was rejected for failing to adhere to our advertising polices regarding religious advertising, specifically citing Religious Indoctrination due to asking viewers to attend Thursday services,” the rejection read. 

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First Liberty Institute Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys wrote to Hulu, “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. 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.”

While Hulu’s ad restriction policy states that it reviews religious-themed ads on “a case-by-case basis,” it does not specifically reference “religious indoctrination,” or any clear concern, as an issue.

Dys told Fox News Digital Hulu not giving more specific guidance for the eligibility of religious ads 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.” 

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Dys emphasized that while Hulu is free to reject ads as a private company, it is incumbent on them to clarify its policies regarding religious content.

“That’s really up to them, but tell us what it is. Tell us what the policy actually is, not this nebulous case by case basis,” Dys said.

He remarked, “Do they want to censor religious speech? Then just tell everybody we don’t want religious advertisements on our platform. At least they’ll know, and they’ll stop allowing them to apply. But if you’re going to say, ‘Well, some religious speech, we’re going to allow, but not others,’ you’ve just created a big problem for yourself. You’ve announced to the world that there is some level of religious beliefs that we will welcome, but we get to decide which ones we like and which ones we don’t like. That’s fundamentally unfair.” 

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Fox News Digital reached out to Hulu for comment but has yet to receive a response.

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