McDonald’s in New Zealand has been slammed for barring gay and lesbian websites from its new restaurant WiFi service.
The service offers free internet access in McDonald’s restaurants across the country but bars access to sites that are not considered “family-friendly”.
These include gay and lesbian news and information sites such as Rainbow Youth and GayNZ.com that contain no explicit adult material.
GayNZ.com wrote an open letter to the company calling for it to “review… [its] WiFi censorship policy, with particular reference to GayNZ.com, but for all websites containing sexuality-based information and content, much of which is extremely valuable, even life saving, for young people.”
It notes that some sites that are allowed offer more explicit user-generated content than GayNZ.com.
“It begins to look as though your policy is: ‘any site that is open and honest about dealing with sexuality matters and lifestyles is actually about sex and is therefore undesirable.’ However, there is a difference between sexuality and sex.. Perhaps your censors do not understand this?”
McDonald’s has responded that it is willing to review the censorship of any site on a case-by-case basis on request.
“You will also appreciate that there are inevitably teething problems with the introduction of a new service and getting our filtering process right is one such issue,” said the fast food giant.
It added: “We’d be very happy therefore to review GayNZ.com and other sites … should you or other customers ask us to reconsider the current access arrangement.”