Hulu reverses course, allows church's worship ad that it called ‘religious indoctrination'

Unsplash/Tech Daily
Unsplash/Tech Daily

UPDATE: 10:45 a.m. EST Feb. 28, 2024: After the original version of this article was published, The Christian Post was informed via email that Hulu has reversed course and will allow Hulen Street Church's advertisement of its Thursday services to run on the platform.

“We are grateful to Hulu for its quick response to our demand letter and for accepting Hulen Street Church’s ad,” said First Liberty Institute Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys in a statement Wednesday morning. “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.”


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The Disney-owned streaming platform Hulu has been accused of rejecting a church's advertisement for allegedly violating a prohibition on "religious indoctrination."

The First Liberty Institute, a Texas-based law firm with a history of arguing First Amendment cases, sent a letter of complaint to Hulu on Monday. The letter claims that Hulen Street Church of Fort Worth, Texas, recently tried to advertise its newly created Thursday evening worship service on Hulu, but the request was rejected. 

Jeremy Dys, an attorney with FLI who co-signed the letter, told The Christian Post on Tuesday that they are demanding Hulu "reverse course" and allow the ad to run on their platform.

"I don't know of any definition in the universe that would suggest advertising the who, what, when, where of a church service would amount to religious indoctrination, but here we are with Hulu saying that these ads are disallowed on their platform," said Dys.

Dys stated that "the words 'religious indoctrination' do not even appear in Hulu's announced guidelines," with the attorney believing that "some individual decisionmaker somewhere down the line at Hulu" decided "to reject an advertisement and label it as 'religious indoctrination.'"

"They can make up their policies as they go," he added. "They've reversed course on decisions before. I would hope they would do so again here."

When asked if Hulu has the right as a private company to ban religious ads, Dys agreed but believes the company should clarify such a restriction in its guidelines.

"If they want to make the business decision that religious advertisements are not permitted on their platform, OK. If the market will support that, they've got every right to be able to do that," said Dys.

"What you're doing right now is leaving it up to this haphazard application of a vague policy while at the same time trying to claim the high ground of saying that 'we support the First Amendment, we support all kinds of content.'"

The Christian Post reached out to Hulu for comment on the letter. However, the company did not return comment by press time.

Hulen Street Church's issues with Hulu come as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week about whether states can take action against social media platforms for censoring certain political or religious viewpoints.

The cases of NetChoice v. Moody and NetChoice v. Paxton center around laws enacted in Florida and Texas, with the latter questioning the constitutionality of Texas' House Bill 20. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in September 2021 to prohibit social media platforms with over 50 million monthly users from censoring political content. 

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