January 7, 2000

Kroger Decides to Put ‘Cosmo’ Behind Blinder Racks, January 2000

NEWS RELEASE from MORALITY IN MEDIA, Inc.

NEW YORK (January 7, 2000) – The Kroger Company has informed Morality in Media that the supermarket company, largest in the country, will put Cosmopolitan magazine behind “blinder” racks in its 2,200 stores so that the magazine’s masthead is visible but the cover headlines are not.

Kroger’s action comes six months after Morality in Media President Robert Peters began asking Kroger and some 350 other supermarket operators either to remove from their checkout aisles Cosmopolitan and other magazines that carry headlines with lurid sexual content or cover up the raunchy headlines.

Mr. Peters called the decision “gratifying” and expressed the hope that other stores will follow Kroger’s “example of acting in the interest of children and public decency.” Several regional supermarket companies had taken similar action earlier.

The headlines at issue include these, from recent issues of Cosmopolitan:

SEX TRICKS HE’S NEVER SEEN BEFORE
INTRODUCING COSMO’S HOT NEW SEX POSITION
YOU’VE GOT TO TRY THE ‘BUTTERFLY’
10 MAKE-HIM-THROB MOVES SO HOT
YOU’LL NEED A FIRE HOSE TO COOL DOWN THE BED!

In September, a national survey by Wirthlin Worldwide for Morality in Media found that 73% of adult Americans think lurid and sexually provocative headlines are “inappropriate” and 60% favor covering the headlines or removing the magazines from supermarket checkout counters. Among women, 81% believe the headlines are inappropriate and 64% favor covering the headlines or removing the magazines.

Kroger Group Vice President for Corporate Affairs, Lynn Marmer, informed Mr. Peters of the decision in a letter dated December 21. She wrote:

“After discussing the matter with the magazine’s distributor, The Kroger Co. has decided to install ‘blinder’ racks at the checkout counters so that the Cosmo masthead is visible, but the headlines are not. We plan to begin installing these new racks shortly, and they should be in place at all of the Company’s approximately 2,200 stores no later than February 1, 2000.”We believe this approach responds to the concerns raised by your organization, which we respect and understand.”

Mr. Peters said today, “We think every reasonable adult would agree that the monthly display of ‘hot sex’ tips on the front covers of Cosmo and Glamour are not suitable reading material for children. It is gratifying to learn that America’s largest conventional supermarket chain agrees, at least with respect to Cosmo. We hope other supermarket operators will follow Kroger’s example of acting in the interest of children and public decency.”

Author: MIM   01/17/2000

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