McDonald's defends gay filters on Wi-Fi
Mon, 10 Jan 2011 6:01p.m.
By Samantha Hayes
McDonald’s has been labelled homophobic, for blocking gay websites from its new free Wi-Fi service.
Members of GayNZ.com noticed they were being denied access to the gay news site a few days ago, and have since found others – like Family Planning – are also being filtered out.
McDonald’s says it’s just trying to ensure its restaurants remain family friendly, but in other parts of the world they’re using gay themes themselves in advertising.
The fast food restaurant launched free Wi-Fi in December in 132 restaurants, claiming to offer the largest free internet service in the country.
But that service is censored and Wellington lesbian Julz Darroch was surprised the new site GayNZ.com was blocked. She is disappointed in what she called McDonald’s “homophobic” actions.
The site’s content editor Jay Bennie was also surprised it had been blocked.
“If someone is jumping to knee-jerk reaction that gay is just about sex, lesbian is just about sex, transgender is just about sex, then they’re showing their ignorance and foisting their ignorance on the general public,” he says.
3 News checked restaurants in Auckland and Wellington and found that as well as GayNZ.co.nz, McDonald’s had blocked rainbowyouth.org.nz – which supports young people questioning their sexual and gender identity – dating site nzdating.com and Family Planning’s website familyplanning.org.nz.
Similar sites with gay themes, however, were still accessible such as gay dating site broonline.com, news website aaronandandy.com and Big Gay Out festival sponsors getiton.co.nz.
The New Zealand Aids Foundation website was also still accessible.
Other large free Wi-Fi providers like the Auckland Public Library and Wellington Airport allow access to all those sites, but McDonald’s says it’s a family chain and is using the software filter Bluecoat to decide which sites to block.
“We do have a responsibility to make sure any information available on our system is child friendly and we will go a long way to protect that,” says managing director Mark Hawthorn.
McDonald’s admits there are a few teething problems and has agreed to review websites on a case by case basis.
“Filters work by blocking a website that the administrator chooses, so essentially all companies and service providers can choose which go on the blocked list and which don’t,” says NetSafe research manager John Fenaughty.
In an apparent about-face, last year McDonald’s used a gay-themed ad in France.
The differing attitude in New Zealand is somewhat surprising and websites say they’ll fight it.
Rainbow Youth says in no way would it be inappropriate for a young person to access its website in a McDonald’s restaurant. It will be approaching the company to be unblocked, as will GayNZ.com
McDonald’s says it will review the sites on a case-by-case basis, but all links and advertisements must also be acceptable.
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
5/03/2011 7:36:10 p.m.
Ben Doon wrote:
Hey Phil, I think I know you.I guarantee this does not occur in Berlin as there is a predominat gay population there and you are deemed a gay basher if you mention anything dergatory,even jokingly.The silly Aussies must think all Kiwis are straight, wrong we love sheep as well.
15/01/2011 9:21:45 a.m.
I am gay myself and am civil-unionised to my husband whoI MARRIED 2yrs ago.As for McDs. I think they are the worseform of fast foods around.I only have a McDs once every fewyears,and thats because there is no other option at the timeand then I cant even finish it.
13/01/2011 8:51:15 p.m.
me and my girlfriend went there today and had a lot of PDA. you try block us out we'll fight to the finish to be seen. us gays arent going anywhere, we are everywhere and we're growing in size. ignorance will onl destroy such corporations in this day and age. to offend our nature is to provoke war.
13/01/2011 7:13:53 p.m.
Phil McCracken wrote:
McD's can call themselves whatever they choose, but can really call yourself "family friendly" when you cut down rainforests so you can turn into grazing land for cows, or if you waste more paper than any other company in the world? McDonald's has "probably", single-handedly contributed to more to the obesity problem in the US than any other single entity, save Coca-Cola. But hey... I'm hungry. What do you want off the $1 menu, I'll buy ! :)
11/01/2011 10:41:54 p.m.
I don't understand what McDonald's has done overseas, has to do with what McDonald's can and cannot do in New Zealand. Example, New Zealand McDonalds sells burgers with labels saying 100% NZ beef, however in the USA they use Battery (pretty much, watch FoodInc documentary for details) farmed beef. Do people say that that is hypocritical that they make the McDonalds brand seem clean and "healthy" by using farmed beed? No, because NZ McDonalds does pretty much independently what it wants to do. And now that that is out of the way, McDonald's is a "family" restaurant, aimed at... Families. They do not discriminate against homosexuals, everyone is welcome at McDonalds. Notice they did not ban ONLY gay websites, they blocked many "non family" sites. If homosexuals genuinely feel upset by this they can vote by not going to the McDonald's restaurants. And yes EH you sound very arrogant and small minded, perhaps shock theory for homosexuals is what you had in mind? How is gay people having children a problem when rapists and murderes are allowed children? "other such as euthanasia is treated as mental illness" This makes absolutely no sense at all.
11/01/2011 5:31:19 p.m.
Good for you, I'd continual to support McDonalds as a family along with friends with thousands of others who don't voice there say.
11/01/2011 1:43:19 p.m.
Your backward way of thinking is completely ignorant and frankly very embarrassing as a New Zealander. Perhaps you should keep your uneducated opinion to yourself. It is people like you that truely demonstrate how closely related people are to animals.
11/01/2011 12:36:44 p.m.
Good on you McDonalds!!! Hope you don't change your decision. Finally someone with some sense. The fact Gay is being accepted by law and not treated as mental illness when other such as euthanasia is treated as mental illness is just mad. It's bad enough Gay people can adopt children.This world needs refresh button to be clicked and get priorities straightened.
11/01/2011 10:53:46 a.m.
Without exception adult content should be blocked on public wi-fi. If you absolutely must take your lap-top into a restaurant the most you ever need to access is email and other essential information updates. McDonalds’ actions were correct.
11/01/2011 9:08:21 a.m.
Sorry First Chris, I see now you didn't say these sites were pornographic in nature however, others commenting after you have stated, incorrectly, that these sites are.To address fears:There are no images on rainbowyouth.org besides the logo and background (both winding rainbows).The most explicit image on GayNZ.com id less explicit than the average male underwear packaging.As to the text, it is also non-explicit.For a Child to learn about 'the homosexual lifestyle' by reading over the shoulder of an adult patron, they would have to foicus on the screen for extended periods of time, any parent could notice and stop this.In Adition the child would presumebly read more slowly than the adult and so the article would be switched away from before the child finishes reading it.Finally a child would not read such an article if they had no interest after the opening sentances, and if aq child wished to find out about 'the homosexual lifestyle' they could do so with relative ease without obsering someone else at a restaurant.
A stranded orca has been rescued from the Kaipara Harbour af...
Viewers overwhelming voted yes to decriminalising soft drugs...
Anna Burns-Francis visited the suburb of Woolston where a ma...
Campbell Live looks at an initiative to get people walking a...
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.