Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Facing backlash, Tim Hortons apologizes for blocking gay and lesbian news website on WiFi

Tim Hortons shareholders line up at a Tim Hortons stand during the 2013 AGM of the company in Toronto May 10 2013.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

Tim Hortons Inc. has apologized for blocking a gay and lesbian news website from its free in-store Wifi networks.

The popular Canadian coffee chain was facing an online backlash Friday after it was revealed that it restricted customers from accessing Dailyxtra.com, the online home for the free newspaper Xtra that's distributed in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.

When the publication asked that the site be unblocked, assuming it might have been blacklisted in error, it received an e-mail stating the site was "not appropriate for all ages viewing in a public environment."

Story continues below advertisement

"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," reads an e-mail from the address timhortonswifi(at)timhortons.com, which Daily Xtra forwarded to The Canadian Press.

"While there is no way to change this decision, we can assure you that it was not an easy decision to make."

On Friday afternoon, a few hours after Twitter users began promising to boycott Timmies, spokeswoman Michelle Robichaud apologized on behalf of the company and blamed a third-party service provider for the error and the resulting miscommunication.

Dailyxtra.com "shouldn't have been blocked, in fact we're working on unblocking it; it may already be unblocked, it should've never been blocked in the first place," Robichaud said in an interview.

"We certainly appreciate when people bring this kind of stuff to our attention and the statement made by our WiFi vendor was made in error."

Daily Xtra publisher and editor-in-chief Brandon Matheson accepted the apology and said Tim Hortons made the right decision.

"I think they've resolved the situation in a proper way. We had customers at Tim Hortons complaining to us that they could not access our site," he said.

Story continues below advertisement

"I know the issues around third-party filtering are problematic at times, so if that is what was responsible, and after Tim Hortons actually learned of the situation they stepped in and corrected the matter, then certainly they took the appropriate steps."

Report an error
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

If your comment doesn't appear immediately it has been sent to a member of our moderation team for review

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading…

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.