Virgin Records Gives In to N.Y. Times By Altering Marilyn Manson Ad. Target, K-Mart and Wal Mart Reject Album Completely.

by Todd Wiese - toddw@theroc.org

Marilyn Manson's new album, "Mechanical Animals", due in stores on September 15, is already facing controversy. However, this time it isn't an issue about raunchy lyrics. This time it's the cover art. After Virgin Records submitted an ad to the New York Times for the new Manson album, which coincided with a grand opening of a new mega Virgin record store (an event where Manson was scheduled to appear), the Times decided that the album's cover art, featuring a nude alien-like Manson (sans "family jewels") was "in questionable taste." According to Times spokesperson Lisa Carparelli, the ad was sent back to Virgin for improvement. They complied. The altered ad, with Manson's privates (or lack thereof) blocked out, ran in Sunday's edition instead.

Before that, the 828 store chain Target stated that it refuses to carry the album all together, based on the cover art alone. Should they receive a doctored cover, perhaps as resubmitted to the N.Y. Times, they may consider stocking the album after all. That's not good enough for K-Mart and Wal Mart, however. They have a policy of not carrying ANY album with a "parental advisory" sticker attached. Which explains why music fans in small towns, where the only music outlet is a K-Mart or Wal-Mart, can only buy the watered down versions of their favorite music, if they can buy it at all locally. (Regular visitors to Rock Out Censorship will find this old news).

Although they've not yet received ad copy for "Mechanical Animals", the New York Post and the N.Y. edition of USA Today said they would take similar action should a Manson ad cross the advertiser's desk. New York's USA Today's advertising sales representative, Nancy Mandel declared, "Being that we're hitting the general public and this is going home with a lot of families, they want to make sure kids aren't seeing anything real outrageous." Jill Telesnick, retail advertising manager for the Post said, "Every ad that goes into a paper in a sense has to have the publisher's approval...it must adhere to the corporate policies and/or philosophy."

This reminds me of the time when David Bowie's Tin Machine tried to release an album with "questionable" artwork on the cover. The original album that was released as-is around the world had to be changed in order to get into American record stores. The cover displayed four statues of nude men standing in a row. The American altered version has big gaping holes where the statues' manhood used to be. In this case and that of "Mechanical Animals" it is more offensive to me to remove a vital human organ in the name of good taste. And on the Manson cover, the genitalia in question aren't even present to begin with!

And so the Marilyn Manson saga of censorship goes on, this time in the form of corporate censorship in newspapers and in retail outlets. Please take a moment to inform those who would "castrate" art work and an artist's freedom, that censoring a product only serves to increase publicity and thus, increase that product's popularity, (Marilyn Manson have built a career on just that type of exposure) and to limit our freedom of speech and choice.

The New York Times Company
229 West 43rd St.
New York, NY 10036
212-556-1234
www.nytco.com

Target Department Stores
Guest Relations
c/o: dept. cc-08c
335 S. 6th Street
P.O. Box 1392
Minneapolis, MN 55440-1392
800-316-6142

K-Mart Corporation
3100 W. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, Michigan 48084-3163
The following can be used to send emails:
http://www.kmart.com/b_cust/index.htm

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Mr. David Glass, President
P.O. Box 116, Bentonville, AR 72712-9956.
You can also contact the President of Wal-Mart by e-mail at:
letters@wal-mart.com
or the public relations department at:
public@wal-mart.com

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