A council was accused of “institutionalised homophobia” today after it blocked gay films on its wi-fi network – during a ‘pride’ event.
Film maker Christian Martin, a councillor on Bristol City Council, tried to use his employer’s free internet to show a friend a review of his latest film, Cal.
But he was stunned when a warning page appeared telling him the site was blocked because it had been categorised as “adult and pornography”.
The film had been due to be shown as part of Bristol Pride, an event supported by the council, from July 5-14.
Mr Martin believes the website was blocked because the address contained the word “gay”, claiming it was “yet another example of institutionalised homophobia”.
The deputy leader of Bristol’s Liberal Democrats, said the website – www.gaycelluoid.com – is a well followed review site with no adult or pornographic content.
“I was somewhat dismayed when the screen came up with the warning that the page was blocked – instantly making it appear that I was attempting to access an illicit site,” he said.
“I consider the categorisation of this site by the web monitoring program to be a slur and a prejudice too often and easily rolled out when it comes to films with a gay subject or character or narrative.
“I find it demeaning and it denigrates the creativity of the work to be labelled and reduced to being pornography.”
A council spokesman said it used industry standard web filtering software and had no reason to believe the site was blocked because of the word ‘gay’.
“On looking into the website which Cllr Martin found automatically blocked when using the free Wi-Fi, we have now arranged for it to be unblocked,” he added.