Retailers to shield customers from Cosmopolitan magazine

Cosmopolitan magazine has proven to be too risqué for some retailers.

Late last month, Rite Aid and Food Lion announced they were working to shield customers from the content on the magazine’s cover. In a statement, Rite Aid said it is still going to carry the publication, but future issues will be behind pocket shields.

Food Lion, meanwhile, said it’s asking the publisher of the magazine to provide a screened holder.

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"We encourage those with concerns about the content of this or other magazines to contact the publishers directly, as we believe this is the most effective way to address these matters,” the company said in a statement.

Now Wal-Mart is taking similar steps to protect customers.

Wal-Mart spokesman Kory Lundberg said the company has provided stores with blockers for more than 10 years but has recently decided to send out a communication to remind stores about their use.

“We’re making sure the right people know this is available,” he said.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE), which has been behind the push for the magazine cover-up, said Wal-Mart had become increasingly lax in enforcing the use of company-provided blinders in recent years.

The NCSE, which links pornography to sex trafficking, violence against women and child abuse, said the magazine targets children, yet continues to print adult content.

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Past Cosmo covers have donned headlines that include, “10 Things Guys Crave in Bed,” “His #1 Sex Fantasy” and “25 Sex Moves.”

“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,” NCSE Executive Director Dawn Hawkins said in a news release.

In addition to the retailers’ efforts, the NCSE claims it’s had another victory. The groups said the magazine has agreed to remove the usual graphic sexual headlines from the cover of its next issue, which features another teen Disney star.

"Walmart’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," Cosmopolitan said in a statement. "Any indication otherwise, by the NCSE or other, is simply untrue." 

The NCSE said it has partnered with Victoria Hearst, the granddaughter of Cosmopolitan publisher William Randolph Hearst, in calling on stores to put wrappers on all Cosmopolitan magazines and refuse sales to minors.

The group said it has campaigned against Cosmopolitan magazine since 2013, when the publication was listed on the NCSE’s Dirty Dozen List, a list of the top-12 organizations contributing to sexual exploitation.

This story was updated at 12:50 p.m. to include a statement from "Cosmopolitan" magazine.