When blogger Mark S. King tried to post a review of the new book “It Gets Better” by Dan Savage and Terry Miller on Walmart’s website, he was shocked to find the company’s system wouldn’t accept it until he deleted the word “gay,” which the retail giant considered to be “profanity.”
The book, whose subtitle is “Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living,” offers advice to young people coming out as gay. It’s a companion piece to Savage’s “It Gets Better” project.
So King blogged about Walmart’s anti-gay censorship, stirring up a controversy in Cyberspace. On March 22, he got a call and an apology from Walmart’s public relations manager, who said “gay” had been removed from a list of flagged words.
“I apologize that this situation has been created,” the PR man sad. “It was a systemic oversight, in which ‘gay’ was on a list of filtered words. Certainly it makes absolute sense for you to include this word in your review. … This is a no-brainer for us.”
King gave Walmart credit for responding to him and correcting the policy.
“I’m pleased to report that ‘gay’ is now a perfectly acceptable word to include in posted comments on Walmart’s site,” King blogged March 23 on The Bilerico Project. “Other words have also been cleared, including lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and transgendered. And my review of the book, as I originally wrote it, has been posted on the Walmart site.”