Sainsbury’s slammed for censoring gay mags with clothed people but not FHM

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Sainsbury’s has been criticised for covering up a gay magazine with a ‘modesty board’, right next to a copy of FHM featuring a woman in a bikini.

A PinkNews reader sent a photo of the board covering an issue of Attitude Magazine at the Mid City Place branch of Sainsbury’s Local.

The Attitude issue in question was the Pride Heroes edition, which featured a number of people, male and female, all fully clothed.

The Sainsbury’s Twitter account responded to criticism to say: “We use modesty covers for a range of publications – including Loaded, Zoo, Nuts, Bizarre, Front & Attitude… We do regularly review the titles covered and we’ll log your feedback.”

The photo was sent in by PinkNews reader Jon Rowles, who said he felt the modesty board made the gay magazine look “seedy”.

Mr Rowles told PinkNews: “What struck me was how it made the publication look seedy and somehow shameful, like I had walked into a timewarp and gone back to the early 1990s.  Having just been to a friends gay wedding at the weekend at Kenwood House, made it even more raw as we had been discussing with fellow guests how attitudes had changed.”

He questioned whether the modesty board was used in response to a Mumsnet campaign to have ‘Lads’ Mags’ blocked from views in supermarkets, saying: “This afternoon I thought what was behind this, as I knew that Mumsnet had been running a letter writing campaign, and after some googling I found that a number of Christian Groups had been urging people to write in to complain – and it looks like gay lifestyle magazines are being categorised a ‘sexualised content’.”

A Sainsbury’s spokesman told PinkNews: “We have previously contacted the distributor of Attitude magazine with a view to remove the modesty cover on this title.  The distributor agreed that whilst the cover of this magazine is now generally suitable for display, there could be future issues where it may not be.

“This is something we regularly review along with taking guidance from the Professional Publishers Association.”

Attitude FHM2

The Attitude cover features no nudity

The spokesperson went on to say that FHM had been placed on a lower shelf “by mistake”, and that it should have been placed in a less-visible location.

The retail giant was criticised last year for a similar issue, when a woman taking her bra off on Zoo magazine was uncensored, while GT and Attitude magazines were covered up.

A picture of the magazines in the Trinity Centre store in Bolton was circulated on Twitter, and was shared by celebrities including Rufus Hound and Coronation Street actor Antony Cotton.

In the picture, copies of the GT and Attitude magazines are placed behind screens, alongside Esquire and tattoo magazine Skin Deep.

However, Zoo magazine – which features Sophie Reade removing her bra on the cover – was not placed behind a screen, while a skimpy picture also remained uncensored on the front of FHM.