A granddaughter of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst says it's time to put a wrapper on one of the family's best-known titles — Cosmopolitan magazine, a.k.a. Cosmo — and move it behind the counter next to adult monthlies such as Playboy and Hustler.
"It is clearly a porno magazine," Victoria Hearst, founder and president of Praise Him Ministries, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV
Thursday, explaining her new campaign, "Cosmo Harms Minors," targeting the popular fashion and lifestyle glossy for its sexual content.
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"We're not trying to censor the magazine," said Hearst. "We are not trying to put it out of business. All we're saying is, this is graphic sexual adult material."
"And the reason we say it harms minors is it promotes a very perverted, promiscuous, dangerous lifestyle," she said of Cosmo. "And it's not just me saying that: It is counsellors, it is pediatricians, it is doctors, it is psychologists who are all saying the same thing."
Billing itself as "the bible for young women wanting to live fun and fearless lives," Cosmo is the most-read young women's magazine, reaching 17 million people a month online and in print, with editions in dozens of countries, and a core audience aged 18-34, according to the magazine's online media kit.
Hearst said that minors are also buying and consuming Cosmo, in violation of laws intended to shield them from harmful material.
"They describe sex acts," she said of Cosmo's regular articles on sex and seduction. "They glorify and celebrate sex acts — and these are not, of course, within marriage. They say go pick up strange men. Go have sex with multiple partners. Have anal sex. Here are the best colleges to go to if you want to have sex at college.
"And they have drawings of men and women — very graphic drawings of men and women having sex in practically every single issue," said Hearst.
She said Cosmo content "fits the dictionary definition of pornography."
"It fits the rational man definition of pornography," she said. "And it fits in with almost all 50 states' 'material harmful to minors' laws."
She rejected the argument that it's on parents to keep their daughters from reading Cosmo.
By that logic, she said: "Then why should Playboy be put in a wrapper and labeled adult material? You can say that about Penthouse and Hustler: Leave it up to the parents to decide whether their kid should buy that or not.
"That's an attitude of, 'Who cares?' " she said.
Hearst said she has no power as a family member to alter company policy because she does not occupy a position within the publishing empire. So she is enlisting the public's support, and coordinating the campaign through the "Cosmo Harms Minors" web site she launched on Wednesday.
Partnering with the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Hearst said she is appealing to "the people in authority" at the corporation — whether they are relatives or not — such as board members, company officers and top editors.
"Those are the people who are calling the shots and who say what goes in the magazine, and who approve it and allow it," she said. "Those are the people that I am trying to reach and make them realize that they need to label this magazine as adult material."
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