Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) came under fire recently from an anti-pornography group for selling photo books the group says depict nude children and contain other exploitative materials. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) sent a letter to Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon last week expressing its “grave concern” about the company’s distribution and sales of this material both in the company’s stores and at the walmart.com website.
In a press release Monday, NCOSE said that Wal-Mart has stopped selling photography books by Jock Sturges that feature nude children.
NCOSE is an organization founded in 1962 as Morality In Media. The group changed its name in February 2015 “to better describe the organization’s scope and mission, which is to expose the seamless connection between all forms of sexual exploitation.”
Dawn Hawkins, executive director of NCOSE, said Monday:
Walmart.com is no longer selling Jock Sturges’ photography books featuring eroticized child nudity. This is a major victory in our fight for a world free from sexual exploitation. Our petition campaign asking Walmart to remove these Sturges’ books, in addition to explicit magazines like Cosmopolitan and books like Pimpology that give instructions for sex trafficking women, received thousands of signatures within the first 24 hours. We are continuing communications with Wal-Mart executives, and we hope Wal-Mart will take further, swift action to ensure it stays true to its family-friendly brand by removing all other sexually exploitive materials.
In its letter to McMillon, NCOSE called on Wal-Mart to remove Cosmopolitan magazine from its worldwide distribution and website along with books by photography books by Jock Sturges which the group said shows “naked young girls, boys, and adolescents with frequent exhibition of pubic regions.. NCOSE also requested a “complete review and removal from Walmart.com of any other sexually explicit and objectifying material.”
The group extracted a pledge from Wal-Mart last year to ensure that Cosmopolitan magazine would be covered by blinders to prevent viewing by children. To date, NCOSE says, it continues to receive complaints that the magazine remains for sale at Wal-Mart checkout lanes.