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Google removes gaybashing website

Refuses to say why

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After facing criticism for hosting a blog that advocated the killing of gays and lesbians, Google first defended the importance of free speech, then offered a banner warning the site may be offensive to the faint of heart, and then settled on removing the site altogether.

And even then, representatives refused to say what exactly what prompted the take-down.

According to an article by pinknews, the Jamaica-based killbattyman blog has been hosted by Google's popular blogger.com service since last March. It has regularly featured content advocating violence towards gays and lesbians, including images of a recent incident in Kingston, Jamaica, when a mob surrounded a shop where three men believed to be gay had taken refuge. The headline: "Bring Out The Gays."

An entry on Peter Tatchell, the Australian-born British gay rights advocate, showed a doctored image of the man holding a placard with a sexually explicit picture of a child on it. "In some countries, when parents want their children to behave, they tell them "THE TATCHELL MAN IS GOING TO COME FOR YOU!" the site joked. The site also accused rappers of being gay and calls on Jamaicans to murder all gay people.

Google removed the site because it violated blogger.com's terms of service, pinknews reported Monday. The publication quoted a Google spokeswoman who said the company removed the site as quickly as possible, but wouldn't say exactly what terms were breached. pinknews also said she defended a decision last week not to remove the site.

"There are many things on the Web which certain groups find upsetting or distasteful," the spokeswoman said. "It is up to governments to decide at the end of the day where freedom of speech begins and ends." ®

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