Article Title:McDonalds denies anti-gay stance
Category:New Zealand Daily News
Author or News Staff
Published on:22nd April 2003 - 12:00 pm
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Story ID:1851
Text:Burger chain McDonalds is denying having an anti-gay stance as it reviews its policy regarding sexuality information in publications distributed through its stores in the wake of the Tearaway controversy. McDonalds Director of Corporate Relations Liam Jeory says the homosexuality-themed content of the latest edition of teen mag Tearaway to be distributed through McDonalds outlets was questioned by “some” franchise operators, causing the company head office to have to address sexuality content for the first time. Jeory says there is no anti-gay agenda behind the move and refutes suggestions that his own involvement with the fundamentalist-Christian based Maxim organisation in any way affected McDonalds policy. He says he is not a Maxim member and merely assisted a friend in that organisation by providing some communications advice. Jeory implied that a company email to Tearaway asking it to remove all copies of the latest edition was premature, having been sent out before most franchise operators around the country had had time to provide feedback. Jeory says early responses from franchise operators were indicating unease with the content because it dealt with teenage sexuality, not specifically because of the homosexuality theme. Following public response to the issue he says McDonalds head office decided to stock the publication in the eight company-owned stores and now nearly all of the franchised stores have followed suit. However, Jeory is clearly annoyed at the way the controversy went public, accusing Tearaway magazine of making public “confidential correspondence” from early discussions between itself and McDonalds. “It is unfortunate that this has ended up being negotiated in public. As McDonalds reviews its policy, “and you must remember our customer base is predominantly young children between 3 and 12yrs old" says Jeory, Tearaway has indicated it is looking to other fast food outlets as an alternative to McDonalds. As for the reported comment that he called “blackmail” a request by gay youth protesters for the company to make a financial contribution to a gay youth group in acknowledgment of any stress the company might have caused gay teens, Jeory says he merely commented that “there is a word for that."    
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