TORONTO – Tim Hortons (TSX:THI) is facing a brewing backlash from Canada’s gay and lesbian community after blocking customers from accessing a news website on its WiFi networks.
Staff at Dailyxtra.com, the online home for the free newspaper Xtra that’s distributed in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver, say they heard complaints from readers that the site was inaccessible at Tim Hortons.
The publication asked that the site be unblocked, assuming it might have been blacklisted in error.
But publisher and editor-in-chief Brandon Matheson says an email from Tim Hortons stated the site was “not appropriate for all ages viewing in a public environment.”
“We are writing to inform you that your request to unblock the requested website has been declined,” reads an email Matheson forwarded to The Canadian Press from the address firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We have reviewed this site’s content and have found that it is not appropriate for all ages viewing in a public environment. We try to ensure that all of our guests can enjoy a safe and pleasant experience when visiting us. We look at all of these types of requests in detail in order to provide the most latitude we can while keeping our restaurants a friendly environment.
“While there is no way to change this decision, we can assure you that it was not an easy decision to make.”
A call to Tim Hortons requesting an interview was not immediately returned.
“It’s really up to Tim Hortons to explain the situation and what review they did of the site, the determination they made and why,” says Matheson.