ASHEVILLE, N.C. (BP) — A “Cosmo Harms Minors” campaign has prompted Rite Aid and Food Lion to announce they will start placing Cosmopolitan magazine behind blinders to shield its risqué covers and content.
The move has been reported by various media, including WORLD News Service and The Hill political newspaper and website.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE) and Victoria Hearst, granddaughter of Hearst Corporation founder William Randolph Hearst, began the Cosmo Harms Minors campaign in 2013, which also urges retailers not to sell the magazine to minors.
“This is a pretty significant victory and a step forward,” Dawn Hawkins, NCSE executive director, told WNS. “With the leadership of Rite Aid and Food Lion, we hope other retailers would follow suit.”
Thirty retailers around the country have been contacted as part of the campaign, including Walmart. The retail chain responded in late July that it has a longstanding policy of covering the magazine, but Hawkins told WNS that a visit to four different Walmarts across the country showed otherwise.
“I expect that Walmart will start enforcing it as well,” Hawkins said. “We just have to show them it’s not enforced.”
A Walmart spokesman, Kory Lundberg, told The Hill that the company has supplied covers to its stores for more than 10 years but will be sending a reminder.
“We’re making sure the right people know this is available,” Lundberg told The Hill.
Cosmopolitan, however, issued a statement to The Hill noting that “Walmart’s approach to Cosmo’s newsstand presence in their stores has been consistent for more than a decade,” so “there is no new information to share.” The statement added, “Any indication otherwise, by the NCSE or other, is simply untrue.”
NCSE’s Hawkins, meanwhile, sees more action ahead. “I pray that [retailers] will do the right thing and either stop selling the magazine or obey the Material Harmful To Minors laws in each state, which forbid the sale of magazines like Cosmopolitan to anyone under 18 years old,” she said in a statement to WNS.
According to WNS, a nationwide poll by NCSE in April showed more than half of the respondents believe Cosmopolitans’s cover and content are inappropriate for viewers of all ages.
Hawkins said letters had been sent to Cosmopolitan on several occasions without any response. So the NCSE changed tactics and went after the retailers.
“That seems to be paying off,” Hawkins said.
Hearst Corporation created Cosmopolitan in 1886 as a family and home economics publication for women. In the 1960s, the magazine underwent rebranding after the late Helen Gurley Brown became editor.
The NCSE, according to The Hill, “links pornography to sex trafficking, violence against women and child abuse.” The organization pinpoints Cosmopolitan on its “Dirty Dozen List” of the top 12 organizations contributing to sexual exploitation.