Walmart has joined several other major supermarket chains with its own commitment to enforce its policy of placing Cosmopolitan magazine behind blinders in their stores across the nation.
The retailer’s decision to enforce its 10-year policy of wrapping the regularly sexually explicit publication cover comes on the heels of a joint campaign by Victoria Hearst, granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, founder of the corporation that publishes Cosmo, and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE).
As Breitbart News reported in late July, supermarket chains Rite Aid and Delhaize America – which owns Food Lion and Hannaford Stores – also made a commitment to place Cosmo behind blinders in their stores as a result of the Cosmo Harms Minors campaign which was launched in April to protect young children and adolescents from the blatant sexual material on the magazine’s covers.
NCSE executive director Dawn Hawkins states that while Walmart has had a policy of placing Cosmo behind blinders for 10 years, “the enforcement became increasingly lax in recent years.”
“I applaud Walmart 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,” she said in a statement. “Cosmopolitan regularly targets children, yet continues to print adult content which children should not see or read.”
Hawkins said an example is that the current issue of Cosmopolitan features both a drawing by a 6th grade Girl Scout reader and a detailed description of sexual acts that are purported to please a man.
In response to a request for comment about Walmart agreeing to place the magazine behind blinders, a spokesperson from Cosmopolitan said in an email statement to Breitbart News, “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. Any indication otherwise, by the NCSE or other, is simply untrue.”
Hawkins, nevertheless, forwarded a letter to Breitbart News from Michelle Malashock, of Walmart Executive Communications, who wrote, “We are in the process of reemphasizing the blinder policy and the importance of following it with the appropriate people. Thank you for flagging this.”
NCSE, explains Hawkins, received a commitment from Walmart to adopt the policy of covering up Cosmo in the early 2000s during a campaign at that time. In nearly every Walmart, however, that NCSE checked recently, the magazine was uncovered. Hawkins said the organization followed up and sent Walmart photos from their stores around the country where it was not covered, resulting in the company’s executives assuring the group they would enforce the policy.
“NCSE claims another victory as the editorial content of the magazine seems to be shifting, at least in the next issue,” Hawkins added. “The September issue, featuring yet again another Disney teen star, has removed the usual graphic sexual headlines from the cover. This is a significant departure from Cosmopolitan’s norm, as over 85 of Cosmopolitan’s recent issues were found to feature explicit headlines.”
In an interview with Breitbart News in April, Hearst, who operates a Christian ministry, said she had tried for years to talk to fellow family members on the board of directors of the Hearst Corporation about the fact that Cosmo is harmful to young people, but to no avail.
“Minors shouldn’t be able to buy Cosmo, it’s adult content and minors shouldn’t be exposed to it,” Hearst said. “Apparently, my family members in authority in the Hearst Corporation don’t care about corrupting and harming children. They only care about money.”
On its website, the Hearst Corporation states, “Cosmopolitan is the best-selling young women’s magazine in the U.S., a bible for fun, fearless females that reaches more than 18 million readers a month.”
Hearst, however, begs to disagree.
“Cosmo is anti-God, anti-Christian, anti-marriage, and promotes a deviant lifestyle centered on sex,” she said. “It promotes promiscuity – with its risks of getting STDs, being raped or murdered, and its promise of emotional and psychological damage, including suicide.”
Hearst stated her campaign has no intention of limiting the First Amendment rights of the Hearst Corporation, but warned most states have “harm to minors” laws that should prevent the display of such blatant sexual content at the checkouts of stores where children can readily be exposed to it.
“If they want to put sexually explicit materials and words on the covers of Cosmo, and if they want to fill their magazine with photos of sexual positions and articles about how to enjoy anal sex, knock themselves out,” Hearst said, “but have it where other adult material like Playboy and Penthouse is sold – not where children and adolescents can be exposed to it.”
According to a report in the New York Post, Cosmo editor-in-chief Joanna Coles has called Cosmo Harms Minors a “sexist” campaign with a “double standard,” since men’s publications such as GQ and Men’s Health run stories on sex that are regularly highlighted on their covers.
Hearst said she would be happy to debate Coles on the subject, but Coles has refused.
“I have no time for a debate,” Coles reportedly said. “I am too busy putting out a magazine and encouraging American women to have more and better orgasms.”
Coles added she believes the notion of having a debate is a publicity stunt, observing that young kids can use their smartphones to easily look up the topics seen on Cosmo’s covers. She said the magazine’s legendary editor – Helen Gurley Brown – who started Cosmo on the road to its sexually explicit content, was key in putting a stop to censorship, and that placing blinders on the cover “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,” Coles said, adding, however, that “to assume that everyone has a vanilla sex life is absurd.”
Walmart has over 5,000 stores across all 50 states.