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Victoria Hearst

The granddaughter of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst is scorching her own family’s magazine for publishing what she calls “pornographic” material kids can buy.

Cosmopolitan magazine is known for its provocative stories about sex, but Victoria Hearst told WND, “It’s absolutely pornography and needs to be in the adult section.”

After she became a Christian, Victoria felt called to speak with her family’s company about the explicit content – especially because of the influence the magazine can have on teenagers.

“The Lord started telling me, ‘You need to go talk to the company and tell them what they’re printing is wrong,’” she said.

That’s exactly what Victoria did.

She mailed packages containing study Bibles and statements from two female psychologists – one Christian and one not – explaining that the magazine is harmful to women.

Victoria prayed over the packages. Before she sent them to the Hearst Corporation board, she included one more thing.

“I sent them excerpts and asked, ‘If you would not want your daughter or granddaughter to behave like this, why are you telling other people’s daughters and granddaughters to behave like this?’

“I mentioned what God said: ‘But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.’ I said, ‘This is what God says about what you’re doing.’”

That was 11 years ago, and Victoria is still fighting her battle to keep Cosmopolitan magazine out of kids’ hands.

WND reached out to Hearst Corporation and Cosmopolitan magazine, requesting interviews with the company and Cosmopolitan Editor Kate White. The company declined to grant interviews.

A Cosmopolitan spokesperson said in a statement, “Cosmopolitan is the best-selling women’s magazine in the world for adults 18-34 years old. It’s about empowering women in all aspects of their lives, from relationships and career to health and beauty, and we believe in the First Amendment right to freely publish and display the magazine.”

Victoria summarized the company’s response: “Translation: Drop dead, and don’t tell us what to do.”

Sex, sex, more sex and … Disney stars?

Victoria said Cosmopolitan’s June issue featured a steamy story with the title, “Wanna skinny dip? Coming from your man, this question has only one answer: Um, yeah. Just make sure to follow Cosmo’s randy rules for taking a naked swim together.”

Alongside the article was a photo of a naked man with full rear nudity and a towel covering his genitals.

June 2012 issue of Cosmopolitan

And now Disney stars and child actors are gracing the cover of the sexy magazine – leading some to question whether the magazine is marketing itself to minors.

The July issue features Demi Lovato, Disney star of “Sonny with a Chance” and the 2009 kids movie, “Princess Protection Program.” Lovato, whose early roles included playing Angela on “Barney & Friends,” is also star of the popular “Camp Rock” movies.

In the July expose, Lovato opens up about her struggles with anorexia, bulimia, bipolar disorder and self-mutilation.

Cosmopolitan's July 2012 issue

In the last several months, Cosmopolitan has also featured Dakota Fanning (February) and Selena Gomez (March) – stars whose fans are typically younger than 18.

Gomez played starring roles in the Disney films “Wizards of Waverly Place” and “Princess Protection Program.” She also recently starred in the movie, “Ramona and Beezus.” In her early years as a child actress, Fanning starred in films such as “Charlotte’s Web” and “The Cat in the Hat.” (WND has reported that the star infamously played in a rape scene in the movie, “Hounddog,” and posed provocatively in a perfume ad – all while she was still under the age of 18.)

March issue of Cosmopolitan

Lovato appears on the July cover in a skin-tight yellow dress alongside teasers such as “Sex Sun Fun: *New Erotica *Sundresses *Mostly-Naked Men” and “Sex He Craves, Inside: A Bonus Section So Hot, They Made Us Seal It.” Inside, readers share their steamiest sex secrets.

“Honey, you don’t put Dakota Fanning, Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez on the cover if you aren’t marketing to underage readers,” Victoria said. “C’mon, who are we kidding?”

Cosmo printed the following features in the single July issue:

  • “3 Ultra-Subtle Ways to Turn Him On”
  • “How to Get a Guy to Strip”
  • “A Guide to His Package … So Hot, It Had to Be Sealed”
  • “Fascinating P-nis Facts”
  • “Sex Q&A”
  • “In Praise of Cut Lines: Ripped abs and a tight a– are always appreciated. But according to a Cosmo poll, what we love even more is the drool-inducing V that kindly points us in the right direction.”
  • And a sexually explicit “Bonus erotica section”

Victoria pulled out the December issue of Cosmopolitan and read the “Sex Q&A” section.

“One question is, ‘Recently, I’ve seen a lot of new contraceptive gels at the drug store. Do they really prevent pregnancy as well as the pill and condoms do?’”

That question was answered by so-called “sex doc” Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD, a “certified sex educator and relationship expert.” She is also author of several books, including, “Sultry Sex Talk to Seduce Any Lover: Lust-Inducing Lingo and Titillating Tactics for Maximizing Your Pleasure.”

Fulbright tells the woman gels won’t prevent pregnancy, but then, at the end, she writes, “And, of course, out of the three options, only condoms protect against STDs.”

“That is a damn dangerous lie,” Victoria declared. “This woman is a sex expert, and she says only condoms prevent STDs? So some little girl believes that, runs out, has sex with a boyfriend and gets something. It goes beyond absurd and silly to downright dangerous.”

At the end of each magazine, Cosmopolitan publishes excerpts from erotic novels. The sections are extremely explicit descriptions of people having sexual intercourse. The back of the magazine features ads for sex toys and sex-talk lines. Several of those ads do not indicate the services are for adults only.

As Victoria noted, Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines pornography as “writings, pictures, etc., intended primarily to arouse sexual desire.”

Cosmopolitan clearly describes sexual activity in its erotica section.

As for the “sealed” section in the middle of the magazine, Victoria said, “Once they say something is so hot, i.e. sexual, that we have to seal it, they’re admitting it’s pornography. If you have to seal it because of its sexual content, clearly it’s pornographic.”

Feminist sexual revolution and a revamped Cosmo

Helen Gurley Brown

Initially published as a family friendly magazine in 1886 by Schlicht & Field, Cosmopolitan was purchased by John Brisben three years later and finally acquired in 1905 by William Randolph Hearst – a newspaper publishing magnate who is now known for building America’s largest newspaper chain.

“It started as a family magazine,” Victoria explained. “Then my grandfather bought it in 1905 and he turned it into a family literary magazine. I remember quite clearly in the ’60s, my father and other Hearst people discussing the fact that at Cosmo the sales were going down and what they were going to do with the magazine.”

Then a woman named Helen Gurley Brown, a poster child for the feminist sexual revolution, took over, Hearst said.

“She was on all the talk shows talking about premarital sex and the whole thing,” she said. “She was a hot commodity. So the company hired Helen to revive Cosmo. What Helen did was she took a family/general interest magazine and turned it into a sex rag.”

In 1965, Brown became chief editor of the magazine during a time of declining circulation. She remained in that position for 32 years.

But before she became editor, Brown reportedly “learned to game the system” in the mid-’40s and “slept with some of her bosses.” In her 1962 book, “Sex and the Single Girl,” she was outspoken about women’s need for sex: “You inherited your proclivity for it. It isn’t some random piece of mischief you dreamed up because you’re a bad, wicked girl.”

Brown’s 1993 book, “The Late Show,” declared, “Welcoming a penis just seems more womanly to me than baking chocolate chip cookies or doling out money for a grandchild’s college tuition.”

Victoria told WND, “Helen Gurly Brown needs Jesus really, really badly. It’s really a shame. This woman has no idea what kind of damage she’s done.”

What can be done to stop underage access?

Victoria said she is not asking Cosmopolitan to stop printing its content. However, she believes Hearst Corporation and Cosmopolitan should make an effort to ensure underage girls and boys aren’t able to pick it up off the rack and buy it.

Nicole Weider and Victoria Hearst

She and model Nicole Weider have united in a campaign to get the magazine bagged in a non-transparent wrapper and sold only to adults.

At her website, AntiCosmoMission.com, Weider asks visitors to take the following steps to help:

Step 1Sign the Change.org petition that now has more than 34,000 signatures
Step 2Share this page with all your friends to raise awareness about the Anti-Cosmo Mission (email, Twitter, Facebook).
Step 3Download this letter to give to the store manager of any store where you see Cosmo displayed and print out this flyer to post in your local market.

Victoria also urged concerned individuals to contact Hearst Corporation, Cosmopolitan and state legislators. The following is contact information for Hearst and Cosmopolitan:

Hearst Corporation:

300 W. 57th St.
New York, NY 10019

Phone: (212) 649-2000

Fax: (212)649-2108

Contact information for Hearst officers and management

Cosmopolitan Editor Kate White:

300 West 57th St.
38th Fl.
New York, NY 10019

Phone: (212)649-2000

Email: Cosmo@Hearst.com

“All Nicole and I are saying is this: We’re not trying to censor you, and we’re not telling you not to print it. But take responsibility for what you’re doing. Protect underage children, boys and girls, from being able to pick this thing up off the rack and buy it,” Victoria explained.

“Here is my opinion as to why the Hearst Corporation won’t do it: 1) They don’t want to admit they’re printing pornography, and 2) they don’t want to lose money. Also, if they make it for adults only, they cannot have it displayed next to the cash register as an impulse buy. It would go back on the news rack or someplace else to be sold to adults only.”

Despite her battles with the Hearst Corporation over this issue, Victoria told WND she holds no grudges with her family.

“I do want people to understand: I am not mad at my family,” she said. “I love my family. But what they’re printing is wrong.”

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