McDonald’s Blocking WiFi Access To Gay Websites To Ensure Restaurants Are ‘Family Friendly’

Remember that time McDonald's tried reaching to gay fans of heart disease and cholesterol spikes with that France-only ad featuring a son coming out to his father? It got the U.S. National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce so furious with the restaurant chain it dropped all ties with McDonald's, claiming the ad — which the burger giant went on to say would never air in the U.S. — amounted to "blatant geographic pandering to the LGBT community … while McDonald’s has continued to distance itself from the LGBT segment in the United States. To allow people to believe that McDonald’s is the kind of partner portrayed in this ad would be a complete failure on our part to serve as an honest and trusted resource for LGBT people and our families to help make informed decisions in the marketplace." Well at least McDonald's isn't blatantly pandering to the LGBT community in New Zealand: The chain's restaurants there are blocking gay and gay-friendly websites from being accessed on its free WiFi connection. The Internet access, now available in 132 New Zealand locations, won't let visitors check out sites like GayNZ.com, NZDating.com, and the support service group Rainbow Youth's site. Don't worry: AaronAndAndy.com and the New Zealand AIDS Foundation's page were still accessible. Why the blockade? Because, of course, McDonald's wants to make sure any computer screens in its shops are family friendly. Says McDonald's managing director Mark Hawthorn: "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." Five hundred seventy-six calories in a Big Mac, then, is child friendly?


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As Goes Nancy Pelosi, So Goes McDonald’s Toys: Gone

With San Francisco's House Rep. Nancy Pelosi losing her speaker gig now that Republicans are claiming the chamber, her district is seeing another loss: McDonald's toys. Threatening a ban last month, the city's Board of Supervisors yesterday passed a law barring toys from being distributed with meals that don't meet certain health specs. Great. Now what the hell are we going to throw at awful McDonald's employees?


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How that gay McDonald's ad got the company kicked out of the national LGBT chamber

It’s difficult to understand how a gay-affirming McDonald’s ad from France that recently went viral could lead an LGBT group to sever ties with the company, but that is apparently what has happened. The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce wrote a June 3 letter to James Skinner, vice chairman and CEO of McDonald’s, informing the company of NGLCC’s decision:

“It is the intention of this letter to inform you of the souring state of relations between our two organizations and express our utter dismay at the blatant geographic pandering to the LGBT community in the recently released TV ad in France, while McDonald’s has continued to distance itself from the LGBT segment in the United States,” the letter begins.

The letter goes on to say, “Barring a significant change in policy on the part of McDonald’s, please consider this letter as official notice that the NGLCC will not accept future support or membership by McDonald’s or any of its subsidiaries.”

Remember, it was McDonald’s involvement with the NGLCC that led the anti-gay American Family Association to launch a boycott of the company in 2008. Timothy Kincaid at Box Turtle Bulletin posted an analysis earlier today that helps explain how we got from the AFA boycott to this point.

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WATCH: Gay-themed French ad for McDonald's invites customers to 'come as you are'

Terry Thompson here in our office told me about this ad and then I found it online and wanted to share it.

It’s an ad from France for McDonald’s, and it features a teenage boy sitting at a table in a McDonald’s, talking to someone on the phone. He says “I miss you, too,” and “I was just looking at us together in our class photo” (or something like that).

Then he sees his dad coming with the food and hangs up. Dad sees the class photo and comments about how the son looks just like he did at that age, and that he was a real ladies’ man in his day. Then, he says, “Too bad you go to an all-boys school.”

It ends with the teen smiling at his dad and the tag line, “Come as you are.”

Too bad that American advertisements can’t be so open and accepting, and too bad that Steve Hall at AdRants.com uses the term “sexual preference” instead of “sexual orientation.”

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Wildmon resigns as head of American Family Association

Donald Wildmon

Donald Wildmon

The American Family Association has announced today that the organization’s founder and longtime leader, Donald Wildmon, has resigned after more than 30 years as chairman of what has long been one of the leading anti-gay organizations in the country.

According to a press release, Wildmon has resigned due to ongoing health concerns caused after he was bitten last summer by a mosquito carrying the St. Louis encephalitis virus. Wildmon said that he will continue to work with AFA, and that his son, Tim, who has been with the organization for 24 years, is expected to succeed him as chair.

According to the press release: “The retired United Methodist minister [Donald Wildmon] began AFA in 1977 in his dining room with a typewriter and a used offset press. Today the ministry operates on a $20 million annual budget with 175 employees.  The ministry owns and operates 180 radio stations, a monthly magazine with a circulation of 170,000 and an internet presence of 2.5 million supporters.”

Here are just a few examples of how Wildmon has used his budget and his influence to try and stall LGBT rights:

• Wildmon is first national religious leader to call on GOP officeholders to purge their staffs of LGBT people after the Congressman Mark Foley scandal in 2006.

• Wildmon calls on his supporters to take action against McDonald’s after the fast food chain joins the National GLBT Chamber of Commerce in 2008.

•Wildmon and his AFA troops worked to pass Proposition 8 in California in 2008.

• Wildmon called for a boycott of PepsiCo because the company supported gay rights.

The list goes on and on. Just do an Internet search for “Wildmon” and “gay” and see what pops up. I did, and got hundreds of results.

So, is Donald Wildmon’s resignation from AFA cause for celebration in the LGBT community? Probably not. I am sure his son will follow in the father’s footsteps. But I guess we can always hope that Tim Wildmon isn’t as charismatic (or whatever) as his father, and AFA’s influence and network of followers might diminish. It’s a slim chance, probably, but even slim hope is better than none.

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Florida McDonald's fires anti-trans manager

As reported in this earlier post on Instant Tea, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund on Monday filed a complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Rights on behalf of 17-year-old trans woman Zikerria Bellamy after she was denied a job at a McDonald’s restaurant in Orlando because she is transgender.

One of the restaurant’s managers even called and left a message on Bellamy’s voice mail, telling her she would never get a job there because “We do not hire faggots.”

Well, apparently the restaurant doesn’t hire bigots, either. 365 Gay today reported that the manager who left the message has been fired.

A spokeswoman for the restaurant told the Orlando Sentinel that the employee had “acted outside the scope of his authority and was not responsible,” adding “[McDonald’s] has a zero tolerance policy prohibiting discrimination or harassment in the restaurant.”

There was no word on what action if any had been taken against a second manager who had also refused to hire Bellamy because of her trans status.

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TLDEF files complaint against McDonald's for refusing to hire trans woman

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund filed a complaint today with the Florida Commission on Human Relations against a McDonald’s restaurant in Orlando, Fla., after the restaurant’s manager reportedly refused to hire Zikerria Bellamy because she is transgender.

TLDEF says Bellamy, who is 17, applied online for a job with the restaurant on July 10. Then on July 28, after the restaurant managers found out she is transgendered, she got a voice mail message in which one of the managers declared she would never be hired there because “We do not hire faggots.”

Bellamy said: “I just wanted to earn to some money and was willing to work hard at this job.  In the current economy, jobs are really hard to find.  I never expected to be judged on who I am, instead of being judged on whether I can do the job.”

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