WELLINGTON - McDonald's New Zealand said it was reviewing its Internet access policies Tuesday after gay groups complained the fast-food giant was blocking their websites from its Wi-Fi network.
Gay lifestyle website GayNZ.com sparked the review when it published an open letter condemning McDonald's for "censoring" the free Wi-Fi access it introduced in its 132 restaurants last month.
It said GayNZ and other sites offering advice and resources to the gay community were barred, preventing access to information that could be "extremely valuable, even life saving, for young people".
"There is a difference between sexuality and sex. Perhaps your censors do not understand this?" the website said.
McDonald's said it barred gambling, tobacco and adult websites from its Wi-Fi service because it was a family restaurant chain and all content it allowed must be suitable for children to view.
The company said this extended to sites where clicking on links and third-party advertisements could provide access to sexually explicit material.
"However, we might not always get our filtering process right, and we're absolutely happy to review websites on a case by case basis, if our customers believe that sites have been unjustifiably blocked," it said in a statement.
Rainbow Youth executive director Tom Hamilton said there was no inappropriate content on the organisation's website, which offers support services to gay and lesbian youths.
"Obviously there is a flaw in (McDonald's) approach. Websites like Rainbow Youth are not of any danger to young people," he told Radio NZ.