Playboy, Penthouse pulled from shelves at military stores

Playboy, Penthouse, American Curves and Tattoo are among 891 magazines that will no longer be sold at exchange stores as part of an AAFES effort to reduce space for periodicals by 33 percent, according to an American Forces Press Service article posted on the Defense Department’s website.

The initiative will make more room for electronics and other items in higher demand, the agency said.

“The decision to no longer stock the material is a business decision driven by the time, money and energy required to facilitate buying habits, combined with decreasing demand,” Army Lt. Col. Antwan C. Williams, AAFES public affairs chief, said in a statement.

The Saturday Evening Post, SpongeBob Comics, the Home Buyers Guide and a host of non-adult magazines would also be removed, beginning Thursday.

In June, Morality in Media asked Hagel to halt the sales of Playboy, Penthouse and other magazines, claiming the action would “help curb the plague of sexual assaults that afflict the United States military at this time.”

The group cited the Military Honor and Decency Act, which bars sales or rentals of sexually explicit material, “the dominant theme of which depicts or describes nudity, including sexual or excretory activities or organs, in a lascivious way.”

On July 22, Assistant Defense Secretary F.E. Vollrath told the group that the department’s Resale Activities Board of Review had previously concluded those magazines do not meet the military’s definition of sexually explicit material and were permissible for sale.

He noted that all adult material approved for sale must be displayed on top shelves behind privacy panels and out of children’s reach.