Starbucks Bans The Stirrer: Does Your Local Branch?


Seems like the only stirrers allowed at Starbucks UK are those silly little stick thingies for agitating your frappa mocha latino soy lite coffee-analogue beverage-style liquid.

But the stirrer website is blocked: see what popped up when a colleague tried to access this site at a UK branch yesterday.

Apparently Starbucks considers our content “unsuitable to view in a public family environment”.

Yeah, like we’re awash with rampant willies, lustful cockmonsters, gaping vaggies and all manner of lewd,crude, un-family content.

Like advice on how LGBTIQ should vote at the upcoming election if they want to soften the worst of the onrushing Abbottaclypse. Heaving with sweaty lycra and speedos.

Like attacking sexism, racism and homophobia in Aussie football: can’t have the kiddies catching a glimpse of AFL boss Andrew Demetriou with his metaphorical pants down, can we?

Like promoting the recognition of overseas same sex marriages. You know, marriage? That monogamous, fidelity-based, family-creating institution that’s been around since Adam regretfully told the serpent it was over, thanks, and he’d be sticking with his rib-clone, going forwards.

The decision might have been made by some officious little software prudebot tasked with blocking websites with the word ‘gay’ on them – but then that would be pretty well any mainstream media outlet in the western world nowadays. So it must be more sophisticated than that. Surely not a human decision?

Oh, don’t you just love automated corporate censorship? No need to go all the way to China – just visit your local Starbucks.

So, my fellow stirrers, a little task for you. I know it’s a big ask, but would you pop into your local Starbucks with free wifi, and try logging into the stirrer? Or if you’re really brave, Gloria [nothing to do with that holy roller mob, honest!] Jeans? Maccas? I’m not asking you to actually buy anything – just sneak in and use their free wifi.

Tell us how you go. Have you had problems accessing other gay, but non-porn, sites? Where?

Meanwhile I have put on my best Pauline Hanson voice and asked Starbucks UK to ‘Please Explain’. You can do the same and write to them here.


We are being trapped by a porn filter, as I suspected. A crude, inefficient one.

“Following protests by UK children’s organizations and a speech by Baroness Massey in the House of Lords in November, 2012, Starbucks and BT announced controls to block access to online porn via the free Wifi service in Starbucks shops. But, while Starbucks UK is now a porn-free zone, an investigation, by Internet safety and security consultant, John Carr, has revealed that this is not the case with their businesses in the rest of the world.

Mr Carr’s research was carried out in Starbucks premises in 25 different countries. Of these, hard core porn sites were accessible in all 14 European nations surveyed, as well as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, India, Japan, New Zealand and the USA. Only outlets in Oman, South Korea and Thailand had installed filtering measures, and this seems to be because of a wider legal ban which applies in those countries.

MacDonalds and other establishments offering free Wifi have imposed filters, not just in the UK, but around the world.”

But we are NOT a porn site! How many other innocuous, but possible vital gay-related sites are being censored in this way? How many young LGBTI people searching for support and help – perhaps coming from backgrounds where they dare not seek help on their home or school computers – are being cut off from potential help?

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)