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MP calls for McDonald’s to get real

MP calls for McDonald’s to get real

Tim Barnett, Member of Parliament for Christchurch Central, today demanded that McDonald’s drop a de facto ban on “Tearaway” youth magazine, imposed after the magazine featured an article on lesbian and gay youth.

Following the production this week of the April issue of the magazine (see article attached), the Head of Corporate Relations for McDonald’s in New Zealand wrote to its editors (see letter attached) indicating that articles about sexuality and a competition about condoms and lubricant in that edition were likely to prove unacceptable to McDonald’s franchisees. He labelled the material, containing advice to young people on advice and support services available if they thought that they might be gay or lesbian, “unsuitable” and “inappropriate”. He inferred that many franchisees would choose to stop distributing the magazine.

Tim Barnett said today:

“I find it amazing that a company engaged in an intense battle for customers have decided to insult a large proportion of them. Young New Zealanders, the core of McDonald’s customer base, believe that people should be able to live life as they choose so long as others are not damaged in the process. Like them, I find it intolerable that McDonald’s should feed the prejudice still faced by young lesbian and gay people, and also regard condoms as embarrassments rather than lifesavers. I call on the company to see sense, to withdraw their letter, to restore support for the magazine and to make some gesture of reconciliation to the communities which they have damaged.”

Letter From McDonald’s Liam Jeory

Tearaway Via email

8 April 2003

Dear Sue

As discussed, we have had a number of calls from franchisees who have expressed concern about the latest issue of Tearaway (April 2003) being distributed through McDonald’s Restaurants. The concern relates to the feature on sexuality linked to a competition giving away condoms and lubricant.

We appreciate that this is an important discussion topic for New Zealand youth and therefore understand your decision to include it, however we hope you will appreciate we have concerns about the suitability and appropriateness of material we are asked to distribute in our restaurants.

As a family restaurant, we are frequented by people of all ages, particularly families and children, consequently we have no control over who picks up this issue.

The decision to distribute this issue of Tearaway now rests with the franchisees. We will advise in due course of any pick ups of Tearaway required from our restaurants.

We hope you understand our position on this matter.


Liam Jeory Director of Corporate Relations

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