Last night, Earsucker.com exclusively reported that there was a bit of controversy surrounding the latest issue of Us Weekly. The reason? The issue in question featured Elton John and his partner David Furnish on the cover. They were debuting their adorable son, Zachary and some complaints were lodged with the grocery store’s management. The manager then made the decision to place a “family shield” over the cover of the issue.
A customer, Jennifer Huddleston, snapped a photo of the shield, covering the Elton John baby issue. It caused such a rage on the internet that the store decided to remove the shield. Now, they’ve issued a statement on the matter, on their official website:
A statement from Harps regarding the US Weekly cover
We have received a number of complaints regarding an incident in our Mountain Home store involving the current issue of US Weekly Magazine depicting Elton John, David Furnish and their newborn son. I would like to explain how this happened. For many years we have provided each of our stores with shields which can be used at the manager’s discretion to cover the front of magazines when they receive complaints from our customers regarding either the photo on the cover of the magazine or the titles of articles contained within the magazine. Sometimes those photos might be sexually provocative or too revealing. The magazine article titles might also be too suggestive for some customers.
In this case our store manager received some complaints and, as has been our custom, placed the shield over the cover of the magazine. When we began receiving complaints at our corporate office, we reviewed the magazine in question, removed the shield and are selling the magazine in all our locations today without any shield.
Our true intention is not to offend anyone in our stores and this incident happened at just one of our 65 locations, which when brought to our attention, we reversed.
Kim B. Eskew
President & COO
Harps Food Stores, Inc.
Also of note, are several Twitter messages with regard to the original story. One Twitter user by the name of Greg, tweeted this, “i’ve worked at harps forever. those things never move. different cover for each checkout lane. it was covering this” and “ before that one. dont jump to conclusions.” The link actually points to Us Weekly’s January 10th issue, featuring a scantily clad Jennifer Lopez on the cover.
Another person on Twitter point this out, “I was a cashier @ a Fayetteville #Harps in high school. Ppl complained about magazine covers CONSTANTLY.”
Of course, we’re not printing their names, but it’s just to say that there are obviously two sides to every story. Not to play the devil’s advocate here, but when a grocery store gives their managers protocols to follow with regard to customer complaints, I’m sure they follow the rules to a T. It was a disgusting move, but just because the population of a small area is homophobic, it doesn’t mean that the store itself is. To offset the offense created by this matter, customers should go into Harps and complain about completely stupid covers so they have to “shield their young customers”.
Someone’s gotta think of the children!
What are your thoughts on the matter?