Rite Aid and Food Lion announced they will start placing Cosmopolitan magazines behind blinders to hide the magazine’s inappropriate covers and content.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE) and Victoria Hearst, granddaughter of Hearst Corporation founder William Randolph Hearst, ran a campaign called “Cosmo Harms Minors” that inspired the move. NCSE began its battle for Cosmopolitan, to be placed in wrappers and not sold to minors in 2013.
“This is a pretty significant victory and a step forward,” NCSE executive director Dawn Hawkins said. “With the leadership of Rite Aid and Food Lion, we hope other retailers would follow suit.”
Since the campaign launched, Hawkins said, they contacted 30 retailers around the country, including Wal-Mart. The retail store responded last week saying it has a long-standing policy of covering the magazines. But a visit to four different Wal-Mart branches across the country showed otherwise.
“I expect that Wal-Mart will start enforcing it as well,” Hawkins said. “We just have to show them it’s not enforced.”
The policy change in two retail stores is a victory for Hearst and NCSE, but Hearst still sees room for more action. “I pray that they 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,” Hearst said in a written statement.
NCSE conducted a nationwide poll in April that showed more than half of the participants believe Cosmopolitans’s cover and content are inappropriate for viewers of all ages.
Hawkins explained they had on several occasions written letters to Cosmopolitan without any response. So they 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 then-editor Helen Gurley Brown took over.
— by Onize Ohikere