Store in Mountain Home AR covered up Elton John cover on magazine

by Brad Belote, KY3 News

Follow me @bradbelote

7:55 PM EST, January 26, 2011


MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. -- A Harps Foods store is getting national attention for blocking the cover of a magazine featuring Elton John, his partner and their new baby.

Tuesday, Jennifer Huddleston took a picture of the  magazine as it was displayed in the store.  A sign reading "Family Shield. To protect young Harps shoppers." obscured the cover of this week's Us Weekly Magazine.  Huddleston shared the picture on Twitter with CNN's Anderson Cooper, the ACLU and The Ellen Show, among others.

She also shared the photograph with GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.  The organization wrote about the photograph on its blog.  In his reporting, Aaron McQuade wrote that he spoke to Harps' corporate executive assistant Marty Yarborough.  Yarborough explained that every Harps store has the magazine shields and that the shields were used on the Us Weekly Magazine cover at the Mountain Home store because of complaints from several customers. Yarborough told McQuade using the shield does not reflect any opinion on the issue.

As of Wednesday morning, the shields had been removed.  In a statement on the company's website, Harps Food Stores Inc. CEO Kim Eskew affirmed Yarborough's account of how the shields came to be placed over the magazine and explained why they were removed.

"When we began receiving complaints at our corporate office, we reviewed the magazine in question, removed the shields 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," wrote Eskew.