Kroger grocery stores have been charged with discrimination by the publisher of regional Tennessee gay and lesbian publication Out and About Newspaper after what its publisher claims is an arbitrary decision to pull the paper from stores.
Publisher Jerry Jones (above) says he was told of the decision on Monday by the DistribuTech, with whom the paper has a contract to be distributed in 34 Kroger stores in the middle Tennessee and Nashville area.
Said Jones: “Mr. Duhame informed me that he was enforcing the wishes and policy of Kroger and Harris Teeter stores. He also said the two corporations would not approve publications that are controversial, religious or political…in the decision to remove Out & About Newspapers, DistribuTech was following our own policy, and in your situation not solely the policy and wishes of the retailer. On behalf of management, I sincerely apologize for any confusion or frustration this situation may have caused the publication and its readers.”
Jones notes that also appearing alongside Out and About in the stores is the Southern Voice, another regional gay publication based out of Atlanta. Kroger reportedly advertises in the Southern Voice as well.
Jones notes that although the magazine has no sexual or explicit content, gay publications are often stigmatized for that: “The local Kroger managers that I’ve talked to received no complaints. If Kroger were to review the paper, they would find it is a very clean and well-produced newspaper. The public perception of anything within the gay community is that it’s sexual in nature. I think they are reacting to perception, which is not necessarily the reality.”