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Store reverses decision to hide Elton John magazine cover

By Alan Duke, CNN
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Store censors Elton magazine cover
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Arkansas food store covered up Us Weekly magazine
  • The Us Weekly cover shows Elton John, his same-sex partner and their new baby
  • The shield was removed after complaints to the food chain's headquarters

(CNN) -- An Arkansas supermarket reversed its decision Wednesday to hide a magazine cover showing Elton John and his same-sex partner David Furnish holding their new baby.

The shield placed over the current issue of Us Weekly read "Family shield to protect young Harps shoppers."

The Arkansas-based grocery chain lets managers at its 65 stores decide when customers complain if the shield is needed, but it is usually for photos that are "sexually provocative or too revealing," Harps Food Stores President Kim Eskew said.

Complaints poured into the chain's headquarters this week after photos of the shielded magazine spread across internet blogs and news websites.

"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 cover," Eskew said Wednesday. "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."

Us Weekly defends Elton John cover
RELATED TOPICS
  • Elton John
  • Us Weekly LLC
  • Arkansas

Us Weekly West Coast Bureau Chief Melanie Bromley, who wrote the cover story, said the issue has been a good seller for her magazine.

"It's been very compelling for them (readers) and people have really felt the emotion with them (John and Furnish)," Bromley said. "So people have wanted to read about it and see the first pictures of little Zachary."

Bromley's seen no complaints from readers about having a gay couple with a baby on the magazine's cover.

"As far as I'm aware there was no negative feedback at all," she said. "I had not one email of any negative message at all. The only kind of feedback I got was positive, that people are so happy for them."

People Magazine put another same-sex couple with their newborns on front of its January 10, 2011 issue. But the photo of Neil Patrick Harris and partner David Burtka with their twins was only a small image on the margin of the cover.

When People featured photos of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi when they married in 2008, it was one of the magazine's best-selling issues that year, a spokeswoman said.

CNN's JD Cargill and Brittany Kaplan contributed to this report.

 
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