Hallmarks' Home & Family Was Filled With Behind-The-Scenes Scandals

Hallmark's "Home & Family" might have seemed wholesome to viewers, but in reality, it had a long history of serious scandals. The show premiered in 1996 and became a beloved talk show with interviews, how-to segments, and so much more. "Home & Family" had its fair share of ups and downs, from ending in 1998 to getting a reboot in 2012. With the reboot, Hallmark fans were eager to grab their remotes and tune into the new and improved "Home & Family."

However, in 2021, "Home & Family" officially ended just shy of a decade on the network. The show wrapped on its ninth season with co-hosts Debbie Matenopoulos and Cameron Mathison. For Matenopoulous, "Home & Family" was a highlight of her career. In 2022, she told Miami Living, "What a great show. I had the most amazing nine years of my career. People would ask me, 'But what about The View? What about E!? What about Entertainment Tonight?' And I would say, no. With Home & Family, our job was to spread joy."

Based on Matenopoulous' time on the show, you would think that everyone who worked on "Home & Family" had a similar experience, but that's not the case. Instead of having a happy work environment, it was a miserable time filled with scandals for many who worked on the show.

Many accused Home & Family of wrongful termination

Hallmark prides itself on treating the people it works with like family, but it was the exact opposite when it came to the talk show "Home & Family." Instead of treating their employees like family, they reportedly dropped them like flies.

In 2015, Robert Levy, a former executive producer on "Home & Family," claimed the show's creator and producer, Woody Fraser, wrongfully terminated Levy and exhibited age discrimination against him, per Patch. The executive producer claimed Fraser would say inappropriate jokes about Levy's age in a way that made it seem like his "age was unwelcome." Levy, who was 64 at the time, was fired in July 2015 and believes it was because he was older as his replacement didn't have the qualifications that he had.

Levy wasn't the only one who accused "Home & Family" of wrongful termination. In 2018, former co-host of "Home & Family" Cristina Ferrare shared a lengthy post on Facebook claiming she too was fired in 2016 because of her age. She shared, "Two years this week I was fired from Home and Family...Just like that, poof I was replaced with no other explanation other than I was too old and the powers at be at Hallmark wanted to take the show in another direction." In 2018, Ferrare's former co-host, Mark Steines, was also fired, which was the reason for Ferrare's rant. However, Steines also had his own allegations against "Home & Family."

Home & Family was at the center of sexual assault allegations

Former co-host of Hallmark's "Home & Family," Mark Steines, was fired in 2018, and although he didn't claim he faced ageism like his previous peers, Steines did accuse the show of another serious allegation. In 2018, the former co-host filed a lawsuit against "Home & Family" claiming he was fired because he spoke out on sexual assault situations on-set, per Deadline. The document read, "Plaintiffs allege that Defendants unfairly interfered with their rights under the contract by terminating Steines, without notice, in retaliation for reporting and opposing sexual harassment on the Home & Family set."

Steines' allegations weren't baseless, in October 2018, a former chef on the show, Shanti Hinojos, also filed a wrongful termination and sexual assault suit against "Home & Family" and the show's creator, Woody Fraser, per Deadline. Documents stated, "The years of sexual harassment by Defendants Fraser and Fraser Productions created a hostile, intimidating, and oppressive work environment for Plaintiff." Hinojos wasn't the only one with these claims, as many women came forward against the executive producer. 

After the accusations were revealed, Fraser was removed by Crown Media. However, Hinojos claimed Fraser's removal only caused more problems. Documents claimed, "Ms. Hinojos was viewed by Defendants as a 'problem' waiting to happen and consistent with their strategized 'damage control' Defendants took steps to sideline Ms. Hinojo permanently." Since Hinojos and Steines filed lawsuits back in 2018, there have not been any further updates on their cases.