Yelp is Adding an ‘Open To All’ Feature to Combat Anti-Gay Restaurants
If you’re sick of businesses declaring they won’t cater a same-sex wedding, Yelp is here to help: The popular crowd-rating app is adding a new feature that lets users know if a establishment is “open to all… regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”
The information will be displayed under a restaurant’s “More business info” section, and comes shortly after Yelp announced it would add health inspection scores to eateries profiles, as well. Restaurants are responsible for self-identifying and can always opt out of the feature.
The goal, the company said in a blogpostt, was to “build awareness and understanding of the importance of nondiscrimination laws and defend the bedrock principle that when businesses open their doors to the public, they should be Open to All.”
Luther Lowe, Yelp’s senior vice president of public policy, added that the feature allows “businesses to distinguish themselves as a safe and welcoming place to everyone.”
“Every day, consumers face varied degrees of discrimination. Beyond the LGBTQ+ community, this also unfortunately exists for many minority communities in our country and we are equipping consumers with the information they need to confidently patronize any place of business.”
The Open to All campaign was started by Movement Advancement Project, and is being embraced by more than 1,200 businesses—including Lyft, Levi’s and Airbnb.
Companies can indicate their participation via Yelp or with a sticker in a store’s front window. Previously, when incidents of discrimination have gone viral, outraged consumers have taken to flooding the offending business’ Yelp page with negative comments. When that happens, the app indicates Yelp is monitoring the page “for content related to media reports.”
In June, the Supreme Court ruled that Colorado’s Masterpiece Cakeshop had the right to refuse to provide a wedding cake to a gay couple based on his religious beliefs. Both Yelp and the Movement Advancement Project cited the Masterpiece case as the impetus for the campaign, though there have been numerous instances of restaurants, florists, reception halls and other establishments turning away LGBT customers.
“No one should have to worry that they will be denied service,” Open to All campaign manager Calla Rongerude told NBC News. “No one should be turned away from a business simply because of who they are.”
Earlier this week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the creation of a “religious liberty task force,” which many see as a further attack on civil liberties by the Trump administration.