The former editor of Front magazine has accused supermarket chain Co-op of giving in to “fundamentalist bullying” from anti-lads’ mags campaigners.
Attacking the retailer’s decision to only sell the magazines inside so-called “modesty bags”, Piers Hernu said the Co-op had “caved in” to recent pressure from the Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s The Media Show, he said the campaign was “fundamentalist feminist nonsense”.
Hernu, now a features writer at the Daily Mail, continued: “It is a very worrying precedent if these people want to foist their twisted morality on the rest of us.”
He added: “It’s a strange co-incidence that the Co-op suddenly says ‘we are doing something’ now. They have clearly caved in to this fundamentalist bullying.”
The publishers of Nuts and Zoo have already responded to the Co-op’s demand by saying they will not stock the titles in its stores from next month. They had already agreed to “tone down” their front covers to avoid a ban from the UK’s biggest retailer, Tesco.
“Magazines all sell on their front covers so if you obscure it you’ll strangle it at birth,” said Hernu. “So you are consigning it to economic doom.”
Responding to claims from Kat Banyard, founder of UK Feminista, that magazine such as Front, Zoo and Nuts were pornographic, Hernu said: “Women in bikinis is not what I would call pornography.”
Banyard told The Media Show: “They are a specific set of publications that portray women as sex objects for the specific gratification of male readers.”
She also criticised Tesco for continuing to stock the titles, despite the supermarket making them unavailable to children.
“They say they don’t stock ‘adult magazines’ but they do stock magazines that are only available to adults,” she said.
Last weekend, campaigners from Lose the Lads Mags protested outside a number of Tesco stores in London, Manchester, Glasgow and other cities over the chain’s decision to sell the magazines.