Bristol: Councillor criticises council for banning web access to gay film review site

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A councillor in Bristol has accused his local authority of “institutionalised homophobia” for blocking Wi-Fi access to a website containing reviews of gay films.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Christian Martin tried to access Gay Celluloid at Bristol City Hall but was denied because it was categorised as adult and pornography.

Cllr Martin, a film maker, wanted to show someone a review of his film Cal – which is to be shown tomorrow as part of Bristol Pride at the city’s Watershed venue.

“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 spokesperson for Bristol City Council said: “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. We are very pleased that he brought this situation to our attention, and are glad to have been able to arrange to fix the error within hours of him first drawing it to our attention.”