According to news site Stuff.co.nz, McDonald’s says it will allow access to a number of gay-related websites from its free Wi-Fi service, but is sticking by its ban of a leading gay news website, GayNZ.com, which sparked the review when it published an open letter condemning McDonald’s for "censoring" the free Wi-Fi access.
The service was introduced in McDonald’s 132 restaurants in December last year.
In an open letter posted by GayNZ.com on Jan 10, it sought a clarification as to why the fast food chain has an "inconsistent" policy where NZ AIDS Foundation site is not blocked but others including Family Planning, Rainbow Youth, GayNZ.com, Agender and others are blocked.
"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?"
In an update, GayNZ.com reported that McDonald’s will remove blocks from the NZ Family Planning and associated www.theword.org.nz; website, Rainbow Youth, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbian and Gay People (PFLAG) and Agender websites but not GayNZ.com.
Stuff.co.nz quoted communications manager Christine Dennis as saying: "McDonald’s is struggling with some of the content, for example some of third party advertising. Some advertisements are sexually explicit and they do not meet our ‘family or child friendly’ criteria." The company had offered to meet with the website’s editor "to explore whether there is a mutually acceptable way to move forward”.
GayNZ is a news and information site for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. It was a finalist in the "investigative journalism" section of the Qantas Media Awards last year, and was ranked the most popular Lifestyle-Gay and Lesbian site by Hitwise in its most recent survey.