Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is the latest retailer to cover Cosmopolitan Magazine, according to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, the organization in charge of a campaign to conceal the covers of the women’s magazine.
A Wal-Mart Stores spokesman confirmed the news adding: “Wal-Mart has provided these blockers to our stores so this isn’t anything new, but we are sending out a refresher communication on their use.”
Wal-Mart follows retailers Rite Aid and Delhaize America, owner of Hannaford stores and Food Lion, in putting the magazine “behind blinders” in their stores “due to the magazine’s inappropriate content and covers.”
The barrage of retailers shielding Cosmopolitan has caused Hearst Corp. to react — but only slightly.
“Wal-Mart’s approach to Cosmo’s newsstand presence in their stores has been consistent for more than a decade, there is no new information to share. Any indication otherwise, by the NCSE or other, is simply untrue,” Hearst said in a statement.
The campaign, which is led by Victoria Hearst, the sister of Patty Hearst and granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst — aka founder of Hearst Corp., publisher of Cosmopolitan — spearheaded the initiative.
Hearst, a born-again Christian, has been on a crusade since April to shield Cosmopolitan from the eyes of minors due to what she deems is “pornographic” content.
“I applaud Wal-Mart for its decision to place Cosmopolitan behind blockers in order to protect minors from being targeted by a magazine that prides itself in promoting a pornified culture through its explicit articles and images,” said Dawn Hawkins, NCSE executive director. “Cosmopolitan regularly targets children, yet continues to print adult content [that] children should not see or read. In its current issue, Cosmopolitan features a drawing by a sixth grade Girl Scout reader in the same issue that gives detailed descriptions of sexual acts for the purpose of pleasing a man.”
The NCSE said aside from Cosmopolitan’s upcoming September issue, the organization has counted more than 85 recent issues where it found “explicit headlines.”
Demi Lovato, who is on September’s cover, took to social media after Rite Aid and Delhaize decided to shield the magazine. On Twitter, the singer and actress led a campaign using the hashtag #UnwrapMyCosmo, which got about 10,000 retweets. Her accompanying statement said she felt “empowered and the most beautiful” she’s ever felt on the magazine’s cover. That message was also posted Lovato’s Instagram account, and it received about 300,000 likes.
The unusually outspoken Cosmopolitan editor in chief Joanna Coles did not comment when the Rite Aid and Delhaize news broke last week. But she did talk to The New York Post earlier this week after Virginia Hearst challenged her to a “debate.”
“I have no time for a debate,” offered Coles. “I am too busy putting out a magazine and encouraging American women to have more and better orgasms.”
She expanded on that equating the shelving to censorship, saying: “It sends a signal to young women that their sexuality is shameful….We’re not just about sex, we’re about empowering women in all aspects of their lives.”