Article Title:Gay youth protest suggestion "blackmail"
Category:New Zealand Daily News
Author or News Staff
Published on:16th April 2003 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:1847
Text:Much talking, failure to agree on any significant points of concern, and a refusal to bow to blackmail marked today's protest action outside the Auckland head office of burger chain McDonalds. Seven teenagers gathered for a midday Kiss-In protest to draw attention to McDonalds handling of a controversial issue of teen magazine Tearaway. The current issue examines some of the emotional turmoil facing GLBT youth. Long-term magazine sponsors McDonalds have shown unease about the content which has caused them to undertake a review of their relationship with Tearaway and their content criteria for magazines distributed through their outlets. The protesters claimed that McDonalds had first banned the magazine then backtracked to say it was an issue for individual restaurant owners. In response company spokesperson Kirsten Wylie advised that McDonalds had never banned the issue and that it is available in many outlets. She acknowledged that the homosexuality-themed issue was the first time McDonalds had decided to review its policies relating to such content. Closing the protest two young lesbians kissed for the cameras and protest spokesperson Anna Barge said she felt the group had made its point “but McDonalds is fudging the issues." “We want an apology for the way they have treated GLBT youth and our issues,” she said, recommending to Wylie that the company make a gesture of reparation such as a donation to a gay youth group. Wylie has advised that McDonalds will respond to the group's concerns “soon" however company hea dof corporate communications Liam Jeory had within minutes scotched any thought of a donation, reportedly labeling it a “blackmail" attempt.    
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