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Hearst Heir: People at My Family’s Company ‘Refuse to Acknowledge Cosmo Is Porn’

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The granddaughter of publisher William Randolph Hearst announced the launch of a campaign Wednesday in Washington, D.C., to protect children from the readily available sexual content of Cosmopolitan magazine, which, according to the Hearst Corporation, is the best-selling young women’s magazine in the United States.

Kicking off the Cosmo Harms Minors campaign, both Victoria Hearst and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE) said they want retailers to stop selling Cosmo to minors and, as is the case with other adult magazines, to wrap the cover.

“My family’s company, the Hearst Corporation, publishes Cosmopolitan magazine,” said Hearst at the press conference to launch the campaign. “It contains graphic adult sexual material that, under most States’ Material Harmful to Minors laws, is deemed pornographic. Under these laws it is illegal for stores to sell Cosmopolitan to minors, and illegal to display the magazine where minors can see it and look at its content.”

“Unfortunately, the people in authority at the Hearst Corporation refuse to acknowledge that Cosmopolitan is pornography, and they refuse to put a label on the magazine identifying it as ‘Adult Material,’” she added. “That is why the Cosmo Harms Minors campaign is necessary.”

Hearst said she tried to discuss her concerns about Cosmo with members of the Hearst board of directors, but was largely ignored.

She continued:

I love my family, I love the executives at Hearst; this is not Family Feud, this is not Mommie Dearest, okay? This is simply me being concerned about getting pornography out of the hands of children, and unfortunately this is pornography that my family’s company – not every single Hearst family member – but the people in authority, on the board, in executive positions, at the Hearst Corporation – they are producing it, they are responsible for it, and they are the ones who need to take responsibility for what they print…

Hearst said Cosmo evolved from being a respected family magazine launched in 1886 and continued in that vein when her grandfather purchased it in 1905 for $100,000. When the magazine’s circulation began to drop in the 1960s, the Hearst Corporation hired Helen Gurley Brown, author of Sex and the Single Girl, as its editor-in-chief in 1965. Gurley Brown changed the direction of Cosmo to one of serving what she considered to be the interests of modern, single career women.

Hearst read from Minnesota’s Material Harmful to Minors law to emphasize that states have laws that are not being enforced to protect children from seeing the graphic sexual images on Cosmo’s covers at checkouts in stores and from purchasing the magazine.

Executive Director of NCSE Dawn Hawkins said, “Despite Cosmopolitan’s claim that it targets adult women, it regularly features teen icons and even Disney stars on its sexually provocative covers to entice younger audiences.”

Hawkins observed that Cosmo’s content features pornographic essays, drawings that depict sex acts, and other sexualized material typical of porn magazines.

Cosmopolitan magazine has declined from a somewhat inspirational women’s magazine to a pornographic ‘how-to’ sex guide, glamorizing topics such as group, anal, public, or violent sex acts in nearly all of their issues,” she said. “It’s an undisputed fact that we have increased sexual violence in our colleges, in our military, in families and just on the street. And we would say pornography is largely driving it.”

Professionals joining with Hearst and NCSE at the press conference were Judith Reisman, Ph.D., Visiting Professor of Law at Liberty school of Law; Senior Litigation Counsel at Liberty Mary McAlister; psychiatrist and author Dr. Miriam Grossman; and Dr. Diane Foley, president/CEO of Life Network and representative for the American College of Pediatricians.

In addition, renowned love, marriage and sex expert Joe Beam is helping to launch the campaign.

Grossman said the consequences of the promiscuous, “anything goes, recreational sex” lifestyle that is endorsed by Cosmo can be “devastating.” She added that if the women who appear on the covers of Cosmo were actually living the lifestyle portrayed in the magazine, “the question would not be ‘Are they going to get an STD?’ the question would be, ‘Which one are they going to get?’”

“In promoting a life of sex, early sex, multi-partners, Cosmo takes vulnerable, naïve girls and walks them into a minefield,” Grossman said, and pointed to a report by the American Psychological Association (APA) on the sexualization of girls. She indicated, however, that when she asked APA for a statement in support of the Cosmo Harms Minors campaign, she received no response.

Cosmo Harms Minors hopes to obtain commitments from supermarket and other retailers to halt sales of Cosmopolitan to minors and wrap their covers – or to stop selling the magazine at all. The campaign will also launch an effort to draw states’ attention to their own Materials Harmful to Minors laws for enforcement.

The campaign invites citizens to take action by emailing retailers, the editors of Cosmo, and printing prepared flyers that state, “Warning! This is a Porn Magazine” and handing them to store managers. The flyer can also be posted on social media using #cosmoharmsminors.

To obtain more information, visit CosmoHarmsMinors.com


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