Does Coca-Cola discriminate against gay internet users?

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Over at Gawker, a reporter desperate for a story — any story — has breathlessly concluded that the Coca-Cola Company is diabolically banning the word “gay” from its website.

The multinational beverage conglomerate has been running a “Share a Coke” promotion at its South African site. The concept, which certainly hasn’t set the world on fire, allows web surfers to serve up a virtual Cokes by swapping somebody’s name — or some other word — for the word Coke.

For example:

 Coke Daily Caller

Gawker’s writer goes apoplectic over the fact that she couldn’t input the word “gay” or “gays.” Entering either term generates this error message: “Oops. Let’s pretend you didn’t just type that. Please try another name.”

Someone like, say, Randall Gay would not be able to receive virtual Cokes, Gawker notes.

On the other hand, “‘Hetero’ and ‘Straight’ are cool.”

The Daily Caller decided to leave no stone unturned in following Gawker’s bold, intrepid journalism to answer the burning question: Does Coca-Cola, America’s most iconic company (and its best export), discriminate against gay people?

Well, no, not at all:

 Coke homosexual

There’s also:

 Coke Same Love

 Coke’s website does reject the word “lesbian.” However, other, more colorful terms are just fine. For example:

 Coke Clam Slammer screenshot

Coke Flap queen screenshot

 Similarly, wonderfully colorful terms for gay males are also uncensored and readily available:

 Coke Nancy Boy screenshot

 Coke Rumpwrangler screenshot

The phrase “rump wrangler” with two words and a space is too long. Other phrases for gay males that are too long include “Friend of Dorothy,” “He adores Barbra Streisand” and “He adores movies about Roman gladiators.”

For lesbians, phrases that are too long include “She prefers flannel shirts.”

Coca-Cola doesn’t seem to have any animus toward transgender individuals:

 Coke Chaz Bono screenshot

At the same time, Coca-Cola does prevent users from entering a fairly large number of words and phrases. Some of them, such as “homo,” tranny” and “queer” are not surprising. Other banned terms, like “muff diver,” “taco bumper,” “arse bandit,” fudge packer” and “knob goblin”—well, it’s impressive that some corporate lackey thought of those.

Words and phrases that perhaps oddly aren’t censored include “Lick My Nuts” and “ButtsexMcGee.”

The commentariat at Gawker generally takes the aghast Gawker writer to task for not recognizing the real rationale for the attempts at brand name-protecting censorship.

“Maybe it was done to prevent things like ‘John is gay’, or ‘Pepsi is gay,'” suggests one example commenter. “They may have just overlooked the fact that Gay can be a last name. Calm down.”

Also, the terms and conditions of the promotion that Gawker ignored say: “We will not print a name that is illegal, obscene, derogatory, threatening, violent, scandalous, inflammatory, discriminatory (on any grounds), or would give rise to or encourage conduct which is inappropriate or illegal or which is otherwise unfit to be printed.”


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