Mark Steines was once the host of Hallmark’s Home & Family before Cameron Mathison took over in his place. But why did Steines leave? Steines filed a lawsuit saying he left due to sexual harassment issues. Crown Media denied the allegations and the lawsuit was later dismissed in January 2020. Another person involved with the series also filed a lawsuit shortly after Steines.
Hallmark Said Steines Did ‘Incredible Work’ When He Left the Show in 2018
When Steines left Home & Family in 2018, The Hallmark Channel released a statement about his departure, USA Today reported.
The statement didn’t explain why he was leaving, but simply said: “Today Hallmark Channel has parted ways with Mark Steines as the co-host of the network’s lifestyle series Home & Family. We are extremely grateful to Mark for his incredible work and wish him all the best success in his future endeavors.”
Steines had worked as an anchor and correspondent for Entertainment Tonight before joining Home & Family.
Steines Sued for Wrongful Termination & Harassment; Crown Media Said There Was ‘No Legal Merit’ to His Claims
After he was let go, Steines sued Crown Media for wrongful termination. In Steines’ lawsuit, he accused an executive at Home & Family of bullying and harassing cast and crew, Law 360 reported. The lawsuit’s allegations included claims that Steines heard inappropriate statements about female guests in his earpiece, and that he saw inappropriate physical contact with female employees. Steines’ lawsuit said that he passed along complaints from cast and crew to executives, including a photo showing an instance of harassment.
In his lawsuit, Steine’s attorneys said that after he was a witness for one woman’s complaints, he was not invited to introduce a Television Critics Association event, like he had five previous times. He said his voiceover work was then terminated, he was given a pay cut, and his contract was ultimately ended.
Crown Media denied the allegations, telling Deadline in September 2018: “There is no merit to the legal claims Mr. Steines is asserting against Crown Media.”
One of Steines’ attorneys was removed from the case for conflict of interest in January 2019, Law360 reported. The Bloom Firm was disqualified by the judge from representing Steines because the firm had a previous legal consulting agreement with Crown Media.
“[This] prevents Bloom from soliciting anyone looking to sue Crown Media or referring them to other legal counsel,” the court noted.
Shanti Hinojos, a former chef on Home & Family, also alleged that she was fired for reporting sexual harassment, Variety reported in 2018. Her claim came after Steines’. Variety reported that some of the claims were settled out of court. Deadline reported in 2018 that executive Woody Fraser was removed by Crown Media after receiving a number of complaints.
Both Parties Requested that the Case be Dismissed in January 2020
The case was dismissed with prejudice on January 9, 2020, and both sides agreed to pay their own legal fees. The court noted that the decision was made “based on the joint stipulation to dismiss action… of the parties.” A joint stipulation means that all parties involved agreed to dismiss the case. “With prejudice” means that the case can’t be refiled. You can see a portion of the parties’ request to dismiss the case in the screenshot above. Neither the plaintiff nor the defendant made a public statement explaining why they requested the case be dismissed.