The “Cosmo Hurts Kids” campaign has left its mark on a Memphis billboard, which cautions that Cosmopolitan magazine features porn.
The billboard is on Interstate 40 near Whitten Road, reports WREG News Channel 3.
The movement is the work of Victoria Hearst, whose grandfather, publishing titan William Randolph Hearst, acquired the magazine in 1905. The publication was started in 1886.
Victoria Hearst wants to make sure the magazine is kept out of reach of young people under 18. Her campaign “is not trying to censor the magazine or put it out of business,” she says on her website. “The goal is to have Cosmo labelled ‘Adult Material’ so that it cannot be sold to anyone under 18 years of age.”
Cosmopolitan is not the same magazine it was when it was founded and when her grandfather owned it, she says. It used to be a wholesome publication with articles on fashion, home decor, cooking and raising children. Her grandfather hired writers such as O. Henry, Sinclair Lewis, George Bernard Shaw and Upton Sinclair to contribute stories and articles.
The magazine floundered in the 1950s and 1960s because of competition from other media, including television.
“In 1965, 14 years after my grandfather’s death, the Hearst Corporation hired Helen Gurley Brown as chief editor,” writes Victoria Hearst. “That is when a ‘first-class family magazine’ turned into a sex rag.”
The author of Sex and the Single Girl, Brown was a well-known figure in the feminist movement and sexual revolution of the 1960s. She stayed at the magazine until 1997 and died in 2012.
Victoria Hearst says Cosmopolitan is filled with racy photos and “articles enthusiastically promoting sex with strangers, group sex, anal sex, married couples swinger parties, detailed narratives of sexual encounters, etc.”
The concerns Victoria Hearst has about the magazine are influenced by her Christian faith. She became a Christian in 1995 and for many years has been involved in various Christian ministries.
She is the sister of Patty Hearst, who was kidnapped and brainwashed by the Symbionese Liberation Army left-wing extremist group in the 1970s.
District Attorney Amy Weirich told WREG that she met with Victoria Hearst when she was in Memphis. Weirich later reminded stores to partially cover materials harmful to children and shelve them at a height of at least 5.5 feet.
Lisa Moore, president of Girls Inc. of Memphis, told WREG that she hopes the billboard will inspire adults to have conversations with girls about the material they come across in the media.