Wal-Mart magazine move enhances its pro-family image, Land says

by Michael Foust, posted Thursday, May 08, 2003 (17 years ago)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Wal-Mart's decision to stop selling three racy magazines underscores its "pro-family" image and contrasts it with other large corporations such as Disney, the Southern Baptist Convention's Richard Land said.

The president of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission praised Wal-Mart's decision to stop selling Maxim, Stuff and FHM, three magazines labeled as pornographic by many conservative Christian groups.

"Everyone in America who is concerned about morality and decency in our popular culture should applaud the Wal-Mart Corporation for taking a pro-decency and pro-family stand in the marketplace," Land said in a release May 7.

The "courageous" move, coupled with Wal-Mart's policies of not carrying CDs bearing "explicit lyrics" warnings and requiring proof of age for purchasing mature-labeled video games, "underscores Wal-Mart's strong reputation as a pro-decency, pro-family commercial enterprise," he said.

"This decision will have a tremendously positive impact. Wal-Mart is the largest retail corporation in the world. When Wal-Mart catches a cold, the retail world sneezes."

The retailer's move stands in contrast to actions by Disney, Land said, adding that Wal-Mart understands that "no corporation that serves the public can be all things to all people."

"Under [Disney executive] Michael Eisner, Disney has sullied the tremendous family oriented brand that Walt Disney had made the foundation of his corporation," Land said. "Wal-Mart has remained true to the founding values of Sam Walton, and that is why Mr. Walton's commercial empire continues to expand, while the Eisner-led Disney continues to flounder."

Wal-Mart's decision deserves support, Land said.

"Just as Southern Baptists and many others have expressed their displeasure with Disney by denying them the contents of their pocketbooks, I fully expect that they will express their pleasure with Wal-Mart's decision by spending more of their hard-earned dollars in Wal-Mart stores," he said.

The New York Times reported May 5 that Wal-Mart's move came after complaints from customers and pro-family groups.

The decision took place after "listening to our customers and associates," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Melissa Berryhill told The Times.

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