Playboy, Penthouse and other sex-themed magazines will no longer be sold at Army and Air Force exchanges, in a move anti-pornography activists have described as a victory.
"We had military families calling us after seeing porn on the shelves," Morality in Media Spokesperson Iris Somberg said Thursday. "The exchanges are supposed to be a safe place for families to go do their shopping."
Despite the celebrations of anti-pornography activists, especially Morality in Media, store operators insist that halting sales of the magazines is a business decision based on falling sales, not political pressure. Members of the Army will still have access to pornography online and can still bring external pornography onto bases.
The adult magazines posed particular difficulties to the stores because they had to be displayed out of reach of children.
Morality in Media said it would encourage urging operators of the Navy and Marine Corps to follow the Army’s lead.
While sales of the 48 “adult sophisticate” magazines have been halted, a collection of 891 periodicals is being discontinued from the Army areas. Other titles include English Gardens, SpongeBob Comics, the New York Review of Books and the Saturday Evening Post.
Chris Ward, a spokesperson for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, said the reduction in magazine titles would allow for more popular products and 33 percent extra room. He added that newsstand sales had declined by 86 percent since 1998, considering there are so many online alternatives available.