Mother takes on Wal-Mart over 7 year-old's exposure to Swimsuit Edition


A mother in North Carolina is leading complaints about Wal-Mart’s sale of the latest Sports Illustrated “Swimsuit Edition.”

Morality in Media has released the account of a woman who visited a Super Wal-Mart in North Carolina.  The woman’s 7-year-old daughter handed to her grandmother the “Swimsuit Edition,” saying, “Look Grandma, this woman isn't wearing a bathing suit top!”

After the grandmother complained to a Wal-Mart employee, the magazines were removed from the shelf. 

When the family later returned to the store, the mother said, “Wal-Mart had put the magazines back out on the magazine rack at the very same location as before, exposing children of all ages to the cover on the SI magazine.”

After being introduced to a manager, the mother said, “I asked him if there was anything he could do about this.

“He said...he would have to put the magazines back on the shelf because SI rented space...SI was not considered pornographic, and that this issue is being displayed all over the nation. He told me to call 1-800-WALMART and log a complaint.”

Robert Peters, President of Morality in Media, commented on the mother’s report.

"In my opinion, SI's Swimsuit Edition 2008 is 'soft-core pornography.' With Playboy magazine, we have full nudity; with the Swimsuit Edition, partial nudity. Otherwise, there is no difference that I can see.

"Surely Wal-Mart executives must realize that males don't purchase the Swimsuit Edition to view art or to choose bathing suits for their wives or girl friends. In the first place, some models aren't wearing anything at all; many aren't wearing anything 'on top;' and most would be arrested in many localities if they appeared in a public place in the 'attire' (or lack thereof) provided them by Sports Illustrated.”

Peters said that state or local public indecency laws would typically prevent individuals from appearing in a public place like Wal-Mart dressed like the “Swimsuit Edition” models.  He also said that many state and local harmful-to-minors sale and display laws also prohibit such nudity.  Neither type of law uses the term “pornographic.”

“Rather than trying to discern whether a magazine depicting naked or semi-naked models is 'pornographic,' Wal-Mart would be better advised to be on the lookout for magazines with 'models' that aren't wearing any or enough clothes,” Peters said.

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