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Secretary-general apologises for rainbow-flag hack on Synod livestream

23 February 2023

YOUTUBE

A screenshot from the Synod livestream with a rainbow flag visible in one corner

A screenshot from the Synod livestream with a rainbow flag visible in one corner

AN INDIVIDUAL working for the Corporation of Church House was responsible for the appearance of a rainbow flag on the General Synod livestream (News, 17 February), it was revealed on Thursday morning.

In an email to members of the Synod on Thursday morning, the secretary-general of the Synod, William Nye, and the chief executive of the Corporation, Stephanie Maurel, apologised for the incident, in which a rainbow flag — a symbol associated with LGBTQ+ rights — flashed up on screen twice at the end of the Living in Love and Faith debate (News, 17 February).

“We are writing to apologise for the incident that occurred on the Synod livestream on the final day of the recent group of sessions, and to let you know about the actions taken in response. We apologise for the appearance of the rainbow flag on-screen, which was unexpected, and not planned by the Synod team, nor the Corporation of Church House team,” Mr Nye and Ms Maurel wrote.

“Following an investigation by the Corporation of Church House, including interviews with the individuals involved, we have determined that a pre-programmed pre-set for the streaming software, which included the rainbow flag, was not properly cleared from the system as it should have been. This allowed an individual working for the Corporation deliberately to trigger the appearance of the flag on two occasions while alone at the controls during the Synod meeting.”

Mr Nye and Ms Maurel wrote that “due to the inappropriate nature of this incident and breach of trust, suitable HR procedures are being worked through”.

They continued: “We understand the sensitivity of the issue that was being discussed that morning, and we apologise for the understandable concern many will have felt about this interference with the neutral presentation of the Synod’s business. We also regret the negative impact this will have had on the perception of the teams who work on Synod.

“To prevent this from happening in the future, the Corporation will be investing in new hardware, and future Synod meetings will have their own exclusive system, with no pre-programming allowed.”

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