Lads' magazine Nuts responded to an ultimatum from the Co-operative supermarket to cover-up its front page by announcing that the title willl no longer be sold in the shop from next month.
Co-op had said that it would only sell titles such as Nuts, Zoo, Loaded and Front if they agreed to be placed in “modesty bags” to prevent their front covers being seen by shoppers.
The move from one of the UK’s leading retailers came as momentum builds behind the ‘Lose the Lads’ Mags’ campaign. However, Nuts has launched its own ‘Hands off our Nuts’ campaign in protest at what it sees as an attempt at censorship from Co-op.
Nuts publisher IPC Media said the magazine is legal and is already displayed in accordance with Home Office guidelines.
“Co-op’s knee-jerk attempt to restrict access to a product that consumers have enjoyed for nearly a decade is wrong,” said Paul Williams, managing director at IPC Inspire. “Nuts takes its obligation to craft products that are right for consumers and retailers alike very seriously and for a number of weeks now we have had new covers in place, which have a more conservative tone. We are delighted with our readers’ response to the new covers and last week’s issue was our biggest selling since February.
“The objection that niche lobby groups have against certain sectors of the media should not mean that the right to purchase a perfectly legal product is restricted for the over half a million Nuts readers. As has been widely reported in the media in recent weeks, this is no longer a question of whether or not you like men’s magazines, it is a question of how far you can restrict the public’s ability to consume free and legal media before it becomes censorship.”
Zoo publisher Bauer Media joined Nuts in rejecting Co-op's ultimatum, claiming that it had existing agreements in place with retailers, including Co-op, over how its magazines should be displayed.
A spokesman said: "Bauer Media can confirm that it will not be bagging Zoo magazine in Co-op stores. We will continue with the amended cover approach we have agreed with our retail partners in recent weeks and ensure Zoo magazine is always displayed appropriately."
In recent weeks Nuts and Zoo, along with Front magazine, have agreed to produce “more modest” covers to stop them being placed in protective bags on the shelves of supermarket giant Tesco.
Co-op has given the publishers of the magazines until 9 September to decide whether they will agree to be placed in the bags in its stores.