B.C. mother horrified after finding porno magazine in American Apparel store

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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WEST VANCOUVER, B.C. - Trina Campbell is still worked up over a disturbing discovery at an American Apparel store while she shopped for a birthday gift with her 13-year-old daughter.
"I actually started crying," she said Wednesday, recalling the weekend incident that has her desperate to make sure no one else undergoes the same experience.
The self-described West Vancouver "stay-at-home mom" was at the popular Park Royal Shopping Centre when she noticed a magazine protruding from the easily accessible backpack of a mannequin.
The magazine featured an "eye-catching" image on its cover of a naked man walking away.
The magazine - "right in front of the clothing we were looking at" - turned out to be a copy of BUTT, a publication that features the slogan, "Fantastic Magazine for Homosexuals."
"I was intrigued," Campbell said. "It caught my eye as I am sure it did for any other person. It was not offensive. It was, if anything, humorous and eye-catching."
But Campbell is not laughing about what she saw next.
When the magazine fell open as she held it, "there was a full, double-page spread of two men engaged fully in a sex act."
"It was shocking and I slammed the magazine closed and looked at my daughter in horror and she looked at me and said, 'What?' I said, 'Did you see that?' She said `No.' I actually put it back and left the store with her, and realized I couldn't walk away from this."
Campbell said pornography "is something you should have to go to yourself. It should not come to you. You should not have it in your face."
On the spot, she took the issue up with store staff, expressing concerns about either of her two daughters or other teens seeing such material while shopping.
The manager "looked embarrassed and the girl said immediately, 'This is not our decision. This is head office's decision to put it there."'
American Apparel is a vertically integrated manufacturer, distributor and retailer of branded fashion items based in Los Angeles, but with nearly 7,000 employees in stores operating in 15 countries, including Canada, the United States, Mexico, France, Germany, Japan and Britain.
Copies of BUTT, available for $10.95, remained on sale behind the counter at the West Vancouver store Wednesday, but the display had been removed.
The staff referred inquiries to American Apparel's Montreal office.
However, neither of two designated spokespersons for the company responded to voice mail messages.
There was also no response to an e-mail sent to the media relations department of the company's Los Angeles office.
Park Royal's spokesperson did not respond to a call seeking comment.
At two Toronto American Apparel stores Wednesday, the issues were available for browsing by anyone, and not hidden behind the cashier.
At one store, they were placed in a rack on the front of the till, the equivalent of where a gas station would place its candy bars and Vanity Fairs.
At another, they were with an assortment of alternative books and magazines.
The store calls the tower where the publications are displayed The Newsstand.
"BUTT, in general, sells more than anything else here," one saleswoman said.
"Lots of people ask what it is: 'Hey, what is this?' And I tell them it's a gay culture magazine."
BUTT is intended to be sold in cellophane wrapping, with a yellow, circular sticker reading "18+ with valid ID."
But at one Toronto store, there were only a handful of copies, none of which were wrapped.
At another just one of about 10 copies was wrapped.
"It's usually 40-year-old men with grey hair (who buy it)," the staff member said, adding some others will pick up the magazine out of curiosity, see its graphic images and place it down immediately.
"For me, if they don't have grey hair, I ID."
At another store, a young woman cashier said they don't sell very many copies, but that when she used to work at yet another store, "kids would come in and ask for the magazine, and I would ID them."
Campbell said she won't ever be going back to American Apparel, and has no specific ideas about how to follow up on her concern, but she is looking for accountability from the retailer.
"If I could have my wishes, it would be the person at head office, whether that's L.A. or the Canadian head office responsible for making that decision to put that display together - because what I understand is that's the display they are told to do in each store - needs to feel the heat for this," Campbell said.
"I'd love it if it hit them in the pocketbook."

Organizations: American Apparel, Park Royal

Geographic location: WEST VANCOUVER, Los Angeles, Canada United States Mexico France Germany Japan Britain Montreal Toronto

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  • Chantillle Ryder
    October 06, 2014 - 14:28

    I have been trying to find out if there is a provincial law or federal law against having pornographic material displayed where children can see and grab it to no avail. But I did, however, come across this article and am blown away by how companies are doing whatever they can to make a buck! Has anyone found a way to make these retailers accountable and to stop the easy access displays of these materials?