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January 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The 65-store Harps supermarket chain, which operates in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, was fielding complaints on Thursday after it was disclosed that one of its stores in Mountain Home, Arkansas had covered copies of the current issue of US magazine featuring the gay couple Elton John and David Furnish, together with their recently born baby, with a so-called “family shield.” Such shields, which display only the top of the magazine, are usually used in stores to hide the covers of soft-porn publications. A Harps spokesperson insisted that use of the shield was justified because the company had received complaints about the cover from offended shoppers. But the action drew additional complaints from gay organizations and editorial condemnation from as far away as Canada. The Toronto Globe and Mail commented facetiously: “Heaven forbid your seven-year-old, while waiting in line with you at the grocery store checkout, be exposed to the gays.” Late Thursday, the supermarket chain reversed itself. In a statement, Harp’s president, Kim Eskew, said, “We reviewed the magazine in question, removed the shield and are selling the magazine in all our locations today without any shield.”