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Watch: Elton John, David Furnish Now Free to Scare Families in Arkansas


Late yesterday, Harps Foods explained why one of its grocery stores had placed a family shield over a magazine featuring gay parents Elton John and David Furnish (customer complaints). They also said the shield had been removed after review. Their explanation:

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.

Anderson Cooper spoke with Dr. Phil about this "learning moment".


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  1. What is disheartening and pathetic about this is not the specifics of what is being censored from children (i.e. the fact of gay people and gay parents), but the underlying cultural rejection in certain strata of American society to very notion of information itself. This is merely emblematic of the kind of belligerent ignorance that people not only defend but celebrate with their gun-toting, creationist, lame-stream media-hating, Sarah Palin-loving anti-intellectualism.

    Lack of quality education may characterize the root cause of many of American society's ills, but what is to be done when education itself is not only devalued but derided?

    Posted by: rascal | Jan 27, 2011 8:09:21 AM

  2. How's that Photoshop conspiracy theory working out for you guys?

    (Anastasia takes a victory lap)

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Jan 27, 2011 8:17:38 AM

  3. Arkansas -enough said. Good news though, you can still marry your cousin there.

    Posted by: Skooter McGoo | Jan 27, 2011 8:21:25 AM

  4. Actually, unlike the story about the new Manhattan Imam's bullshit statement on the cause of homosexuality in which some people were quoted that his statement was "progress", I think this move by Harps Food Market IS progress. Even though I don't live in one of their food store areas, I sent them an email thanking them for making the right corporate decision in unmasking the magazine cover. In their case, I believe positive reinforcement for this action is warranted.

    Posted by: Rob | Jan 27, 2011 8:53:41 AM

  5. Why not just call it a bigotry shield. Truth in advertising and all. And I'm sick of these assholes hiding behind their children.

    Posted by: Mike | Jan 27, 2011 9:24:05 AM

  6. I thought it was an honest apology and explanation. Good for them, for fessing up and fixing the issue.

    When we get a real apology and an action plan for doing better, we should accept it gracefully and move on.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Jan 27, 2011 9:34:59 AM

  7. I appreciate the official apology! I'm glad that we now live in a time when something like this can be called out and the situation is quickly rectified AND we get an apology. It did happen in Arkansas, where both gay marriage and gay adoption is illegal, so I can totally see some knuckledragger complaining about the magazine and an employee not trained in dealing with such issues ran over and threw up the shield. Times changing. Not so long ago our complaints to head office about the shield would have been ignored and they would have simply removed the "offensive" magazines from the shelves.

    Posted by: Gigi | Jan 27, 2011 9:56:13 AM

  8. II Samuel 1:26

    I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
    you were very dear to me.

    Posted by: Skye Winspur | Jan 27, 2011 10:16:16 AM

  9. I appreciate the apology too but I'm still disturbed by the process that lead up to it. So people complained and the manager made the decision to cover the magazine so as to not offend shoppers.

    I'm from this area of the country myself and I can ASSURE you that if a picture of a mixed race couple and their child was on the cover of a magazine it would receive complaints from shoppers. Would the manager have put a "family protection" cover over that magazine as well? Would the decision be defended as following general guidelines and the manager's discretion?

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jan 27, 2011 10:20:28 AM

  10. I think we should focus on the incredible speed in which this whole story took place. Towleroad and other sites should be proud that their posting led to such a quick reversal. Gays love the Net and we are using it to make SERIOUS change in the way American businesses respond and think about LGBT lives. A real success story.

    And, sorry to the Beaverhouse. :)

    Posted by: Not Into You | Jan 27, 2011 10:37:36 AM

  11. In response to Rascal. I would just like to congratulate him/her on restoring some faith in the very idea of comment streams. I normally scroll down, with a sense of dread as to the ignorance, intolerance and bile often found beneath even the most benign story, and I garner great pleasure from an intelligent and well-thought-out comment! Hurrah!

    Posted by: Rick | Jan 27, 2011 12:17:18 PM

  12. "anastasia

    put down the bottle of liquor and open your eyes

    the letters on the left/farthest away are the same size or larger than the closest letters on the right = FRAUD

    any nit wit knows /basic art appreciation class 101 that things farther away will appear smaller not equal to or larger than that which is closer in a pic

    Look at the letters on the magazine = the farther away letters appear smaller as compared to those that are closer = real

    The letters not reflecting depth/distance from point of observation properly and that they are off kilter = they are photo shopped in

    The guard might very well be real, the words are not

    Again; not worked up over the guard because elton should be blocked out from the collective consciousness

    Time for him to retire to obscurity whoring himself to rush limbaugh for a $


    You might want to know what the hell you're talking about before you make an ass out of yourself!!!

    Posted by: TJ | Jan 27, 2011 12:23:29 PM

    Or is it just that you havent seen the original photo of this where it is reasonably clear that the Family Shield is on an angle and is not lying flat against the magazine. You can tell easily by the shadow on the bottom right corner of the stand in the original picture. Andy has the original in the first article reporting this ridiculous situation.


    Posted by: Steve | Jan 27, 2011 1:26:03 PM

  14. MSTROZFCKSLV@YAHOO.COM: The store admits what they did, but keep trying to defend them with your kooky conspiracy theory anyway. Is it wrong that I'm amused by your psychosis?

    I accept the store's explanation and can completely understand why it happened (an overworked/underpaid employee wanted to get an overheated hillbilly out of store as easily as possible). They didn't ignore us, they didn't try to 'Chick-Fil-A' or 'Target' an excuse; rather, they owned-up to the situation and corrected it. Good for them and for us.

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Jan 27, 2011 2:20:40 PM

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