D.C. coffeeshop Emissary (2032 P St., N.W.) faced an onslaught of harassment for enabling its WiFi filter, which blocked Milo Yiannopoulos’ website.
Yiannopoulos posted a screenshot of his website being categorized as “Hate” and blocked at the coffee shop. He also included a photo of Emissary’s Google listing with its address and phone number.
In a caption that has since been deleted Yiannopoulos writes, “Thank you for the free advertising! Americans expect coffee shops to serve beverages, not tell them what they are allowed to read. By the way ‘Barista’ means fast food worker.”
DCist reports that Emissary uses Comcast Business, which filters content with Norton ConnectSafe, as its WiFi service provider. The owners say they were not specifically blocking Yiannopoulos’ website but had enabled the filter to block offensive content such as pornography, white supremacist hate sites and other adult content.
Yiannopoulos’ Facebook followers thought Emissary was violating free speech and encouraging censorship. They began to submit negative reviews for the coffee shop on Yelp and Google. Both sites were forced to monitor incoming review submissions.
“While we don’t take a stand one way or the other when it comes to these news events, we do work to remove both positive and negative posts that appear to be motivated more by the news coverage itself than the reviewer’s personal consumer experience with the business,” Emissary’s Yelp page reads.