A French company has urged parents to use its spy programme on their children’s computers “to find out if your son is gay”.
The company, called Fireworld, says its spyware allows a person to “monitor the activities on a computer remotely and check how a PC is being used”.
While this can be used to spy on anyone using a device, such as an unfaithful partner, one of its selling points is checking if a child is gay.
According to a deeply homophobic article on the company’s website, “family is fundamental. That’s why the sexual orientation of your children, directly responsible for the continuation of your family, is very important to you”.
It states: “If your son is gay you may never be grandparents and you will not have the happiness of knowing your grandchildren.”
The information specifically refers to boys. Fireworld recommends that parents use the software to monitor their son’s Facebook use, check “if he has visited gay forums” and consider “spying on his private messages”.
The company claims that other “signs” that a boy could be gay include: being shy; being concerned about his appearance; being more interested in reading and theatre than in sport; being a fan of diva singers; and having a piecing in his right ear, eyebrow or lip.
The article states that parents should “accept” their gay sons, and that this is normal, “as long as he does not put on dresses and lipstick”.
Marlène Schiappa, the French Secretary of State in charge of Equality between Women and Men, slammed the company and the article in a Twitter post. “This demonstrates that homophobia & sexism take root in the same gender stereotypes. We fight them together…”
Following a media furore, Fireworld has now removed the article and apologised “to all those who may have felt hurt by this content.”
The company told Liberation that the post was only intended “to improve internet search engine rankings” and was not meant “to be read by humans”.