The popular streaming platform Hulu is facing backlash for refusing to play an ad from a Fort Worth, Texas church promoting its weeknight services.

Hulen Street Church was told by the Disney-owned company that it would not run a 22-second ad promoting the church’s new Thursday night services because it was “religious indoctrination.” 

Pastor Wes Hamilton said he applied to advertise on the website because of its local advertising capabilities, which he thought would be a useful tool in sharing about the church’s newly slated service, the Daily Mail reports

“Does your work schedule or busy family calendar not allow you to attend Church on a Sunday morning?” the ad opens. “If so, I want to invite you to Thursday nights at Hulen Street Church beginning on February 1st.”

“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,” the ad concludes.

Hamilton followed the platform’s instructions for submitting the video, but was rejected. 

He attempted to submit it a second time, but he reports it was rejected again. 

Hamilton requested an explanation as to why the ad was rejected and was told by customer service that it violated policies against “religious indoctrination due to asking viewers to attend Thursday services.” 

Hamilton was then told to review the company’s guidelines and submit another ad. 

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However, the words “religious indoctrination” appear nowhere in Hulu’s published ad policy.

First Liberty Institute is representing Hulen Street Church and they sent a demand letter to Hulu Monday urging the platform to change its policy toward religious advertising.

“Treating a simple advertisement about church service times as indoctrination is absurd,” Jeremy Dys, Senior Counsel at First Liberty Institute, told CBN News in an emailed statement. “Hulu’s rejection of this simple, 22-second ad demonstrates exactly why clear, fair standards are needed throughout Big Tech. If a church cannot even advertise where and when it will meet, what else is Big Tech willing to censor?”

The letter comes on the heels of U.S. Supreme Court arguments Monday involving state laws in Texas and Florida that would increase transparency and accountability for Big Tech companies after allegations that the social media platforms are censoring conservative content.

“The logic that the social media platforms are saying is, ‘If we host speech then it’s our right to decide what’s on our platform and what’s not,’ but that’s not true for any other kind of common carrier,” Daniel Cochrane of the Heritage Foundation explained to CBN News.

Meanwhile, Dys says Hulu’s response to the church is “troubling” and an example of “hypocrisy”.

“The hypocrisy by Disney, the parent company of Hulu, is just sort of remarkable here and it’s illustrated in this little tiny Church that’s trying to do a good thing in Fort Worth, Texas,” he told the Daily Mail. 

Dys sent a letter to Hulu’s Deputy Chief Counsel Angie Kang demanding they clarify their policies.

“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,” he wrote adding the platform should allow the church to run its ad.

The church has successfully placed its ad through Facebook, Instagram, and Google ads.

CBN News has reached out to Hulu for a response.

 



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