The sale of pornography on Army and Air Force military bases has come to an end.
A press release published on the Department of Defense's website on Tuesday noted that, as of Wednesday, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service is axing 891 magazine s from its stock. While not all of them are adult in nature, the removals include Playboy and other related periodicals (some of the more benign periodicals like SpongeBob Comics and the Home Buyers Guide will also be removed).
Rather than wasting shelf space on magazines, the military said that the removal of these items will open up additional sales space for electronics, which soldiers regularly seek. Plus, there's the overall demand for traditional paper outlets that has come with the growth of new media and the Internet.
Credit: AFP/Getty Images
"The decision to no longer stock the material is a business decision driven by the time, money and energy required to facilitate buying habits, combined with decreasing demand," Army Lt. Col. Antwan C. Williams, AAFES public affairs chief, is quoted in the statement.
In addition to Playboy, other adult magazines will be tossed out in the mix of the 891. This will include Penthouse, American Curves and Tattoo, as well. The sales of these magazines, among others that are being removed, has apparently decreased substantially since 1998 (by 86 percent).
While the military is claiming that the decision was strictly business-related, Deseret News reports that there may be more to the story, writing:
Hubbub over pornography at military installations arose in June when anti-pornography group Morality in Media formally asked Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to ban the sale of pornography on military bases in accordance with Section 2495b of title 10 in the United States code, which expressly prohibits the sale of sexually explicit materials on any Department of Defense property.
Morality in Media released a statement after the government's decision, calling it "a great victory." The organization, which works to remove pornography from society, is taking credit for the military's change-of-heart.
This May 30, 2013 photo provided by Morality in Media shows adult magazines on sale at the exchange store in Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Taking effect on Wednesday, July 31, 2013, sex-themed magazines will no longer be sold at Army and Air Force exchanges - a move described by the stores' operators as a business decision based on falling sales, and not a result of recent pressure from anti-pornography activists. Credit: AP
"It is a great victory that the Army and Air Force exchanges will finally stop selling sexually [exploitative] magazines," Morality in Media Executive Director Dawn Hawkins said in a release. "Hopefully the other branches will follow suit or Secretary Hagel will order their removal from all bases."
The group had petitioned for the removal of these sex-themed magazines.
What's most interesting about the debate is that the anti-porn organization received a letter on July 22 from the government claiming that the magazines that were cited as problematic did not qualify as sexually-explicit. Based on the letter, it seemed their availability would continue.
Just days later, though, the government decided to remove these periodicals along with hundreds of others, citing the move as a business decision.
(H/T: Deseret News)