Marks And Spencers

The word gay has been banned when you try and buy a gift from the Marks And Spencer website.

  • Customers banned from entering the word “gay” in their message.
  • Words such as terrorist, batty boy and queer are permitted.
  • Issue happens when customers try to add their own personal message to gifts bought on retailer’s website.

Retail giant Marks and Spencer have banned customers from using certain words when writing their personal messages for gifts they plan to buy on the company’s website.


The word “gay” has been banned, however users are still permitted to write “lesbian”, “bisexual” and “queer”.

When a customer tries to add the word “gay” to their message for gifts they intend to purchase, they are greeted with “Sorry, there’s something in your message we can’t write.”

Other words that have been banned include “f***”, “Christ” and “Nazi”.


Amongst the acceptable terms customers can write on the M&S website are: “Queer” “Lesbian” “Bisexual” “terrorist” and “d**k”.

TheGayUK checked with three other online retailers, Selfridges, Debenhams and John Lewis and none of those retailers had a similar policy in place.

The news comes as M&S, for the first time since 2009 dropped out Britain’s top 20 favourite brands in the annual Consumer Superbrands survey.

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The problem is similar to an issue that Coca Cola had in 2014, which banned certain words and phrases to do with the LGBT community in a promotional stunt. That error message condescendingly read: “Opps, let’s pretend you didn’t just type that. Please try another name.”

Despite the retailer knowing about the issue, the policy hasn’t be changed, defending the store’s decision a spokesman for Marks & Spencer said, “An automatic phrase checker is in place to prevent the use and misuse of certain words and it includes hundreds of words of varying nature. The word gay is included to prevent its misuse.”

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