Cosmopolitan Magazine will be moved out of the direct sight of consumers at 72 supermarkets in Indiana and Ohio due to what some say is “sexually explicit” content.
The stores, which are part of Marsh Supermarkets, will remove the Hearst-owned glossy from checkout lanes. The initiative was led by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, an organization “dedicated to opposing” what it deems “pornography.”
A Cosmopolitan spokesperson disputed the claim that it was Marsh’s decision, and offered: “Yet another example of a fake news story perpetuated by a fringe special interest group, in this instance NCOSE. This decision was made by us —not the retailer — in August. It is not unusual for us to strategically shift where and how we display our product.”
A spokesman for Marsh confirmed the news, but did not elaborate on how the decision was made or who made it.
Victoria Hearst, the sister of Patty Hearst and granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst — aka founder of Hearst Corp. — spearheaded the initiative. Ironically, the heiress, who is a born-again Christian, has an inheritance from her family and uses it to fund an organization that fights against her family’s publication. In the past, she spearheaded a campaign dubbed “Cosmo Harms.”
“Marsh Supermarkets has cleaned up its checkout lanes,” said Dawn Hawkins, executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “Marsh executives have implemented a new policy removing Cosmopolitan magazine from their checkout lane magazine stands. Further, within the magazine section of Marsh Supermarkets, Cosmo has been placed behind other magazines that act as blinders so that children and adults alike will not be unintentionally exposed to this sexually toxic magazine. By doing this, Marsh Supermarkets has displayed exemplary corporate responsibility and commitment to the dignity and well-being of its customers.”
This isn’t the first time Cosmo has been put behind blinders due to racy content. In August 2015, Wal-Mart decided to conceal the covers of the women’s magazine, as did Rite Aid and Delhaize America, owner of Hannaford and Food Lion. (Both initiatives were led by Victoria Hearst).
The NCOSE put Cosmo on its “2016 Dirty Dozen List,” which includes companies such as Amazon, Snapchat, Verizon, HBO, YouTube, and oddly, the American Library Association and the Department of Justice.
Getting back to Cosmo, Dawkins justified Cosmo’s addition to the list by pointing to the shift in its content over the years.
“While it may not have many nude pictures, this publication has steadily declined from a somewhat inspirational women’s magazine to a verbally pornographic ‘how-to’ sex guide,” she said. “It routinely encourages and instructs its young readership to engage in group, risky, and violent sex, and to actively seek out pornography. No child, or adult for that matter, should be forced to view this material while shopping for groceries. It’s time for other supermarkets to adopt Marsh’s Cosmo-free checkout.”