Cosmopolitan Will Be Slightly Covered Up At Some Stores

Photo: Courtesy of Cosmopolitan.
Update: A Hearst PR rep emailed us to clarify that Cosmopolitan will be sold in blinders, which are sturdier pocket newsstands, while porn titles are usually polybagged, so the title will not, in fact, be sold like porn.

Should Cosmopolitan be covered up on newsstands? Absolutely, according to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE), which has pushed for the magazine to be sold behind blinders because of salacious cover content. As WWD reported today, the group says it has gotten stores owned by Rite Aid and Delhaize America — the latter runs East Coast supermarket chains Food Lion and Hannaford Stores — to agree to cover up the magazine.

Weirdly enough, the driving force behind the suggested censoring at NCSE is Victoria Hearst, the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, founder of Cosmo parent company Hearst Corporation. Ultimately, NCSE, formerly known as Morality in Media, hopes you’ll get carded when buying Cosmo, as if you're buying cigarettes, with a minimum age of 18 — or that these stores will stop selling the title entirely.

Victoria Hearst actually launched her “Cosmo Harms Minors” campaign in April with a press conference in Washington, DC, saying, “We're not trying to censor Cosmo. We're not trying to put it out of business. All we're saying is: You want to print pornography, I can't stop you. If I was queen of the Hearst Corporation, this magazine would no longer exist.…” Hearst is the founder and director of Praise Him Ministries, which organizes events like the conference “An Awakening of God,” and has appeared on shows such as The 700 Club to discuss her faith and how she became extremely devout in the mid-’90s.

Despite the delightfully smutty cover lines (and who doesn’t secretly dig those?), there’s been tons of substantive articles in the glossy since Joanna Coles became editor-in-chief in 2012, including a monthly careers section she launched with Sheryl Sandberg and meatier coverage of topics including mental health and politics. At last year's National Magazine Awards, the Oscars of the publishing world, Cosmo scored its first win in its 129-year history — for a monumental package on contraception.

The Hearst Corporation released the following statement about the controversy: “Cosmopolitan is the most successful global media brand for young women, publishing 60 editions in 79 countries and 32 languages. Its award-winning content is produced for adults by leading female journalists. We are proud of all that the brand has achieved for women around the world in the areas of health, relationships, career, politics, equality, and social issues.”
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