Queers — and their community paper — are not family friendly. That’s the message Capital Xtra received in October, this time from the customers and employees of The Broadway Bar & Grill on Stonehaven Dr in Kanata.
Manager Jennifer Slevin says a handful of customers have complained about the paper’s presence and threatened to take their complaints to the media.
Located in the Bridlewood neighbourhood of one of Ottawa’s most affluent suburbs, managers tout the Broadway as a “family restaurant.”
“I wouldn’t want my 10 year old reading that,” says Tammy, another manager who would not give her last name.
Slevin contacted Capital Xtra’s offices in mid-October and spoke with Kevin Falkingham, who looks after the paper’s distribution.
“The presence of our box is a clear message to the queer community that a business supports us and is interested in getting our business,” says Falkingham. “The long and short of it is that the Broadway doesn’t appear to support us. She doesn’t want Capital Xtra to be affiliated with her business; that’s saying she doesn’t care about the gay consumer.”
Falkingham notes that other papers in town, including The Ottawa Sun, also run sexually explicit advertising.
Slevin’s says she will lose business from straight customers if the box remains but won’t lose business from gay or gay-friendly clientele if the box is removed.
Slevin says she contacted city officials who told her they couldn’t do anything about it. That’s because the box is on private property, leaving it up to The Broadway’s landlord, Urbandale, to make the decision. Calls to Urbandale were not returned at press time. Capital Xtra hopes Urbandale will allow the box to be relocated nearby.
Of course, says Falkingham, Capital Xtra recognises that private businesses have a right not to distribute the paper — in contrast with public bodies, which have a legal obligation not to discriminate.
Earlier this year, copies of Capital Xtra were temporarily removed from the Hunt Club-Riverside Community Centre after a parent complained about the paper’s sexual content
Falkingham encourages readers to thank businesses that choose to stock the paper. While most businesses are well aware of the power of the “pink dollar,” some could use a little nudge, he says.