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Stores Withdraw Tabloid Editions With 'Inappropriate' Diana Stories

An employee at a newstand in Nashville, Tenn., straightens magazines Tuesday where tabloids are not being sold in response to Diana's death. (AP)
By Cindy Loose
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wed., September 3, 1997; Page A22

Kmart Corp. and the area's two biggest supermarket chains -- Safeway and Giant Food -- pulled the current issue of the National Enquirer from their shelves yesterday, citing respect for Princess Diana.

A front page headline of the tabloid dated Sept. 9, printed before the car crash that took the lives of the princess and Harrod's heir Dodi Fayed, says, "Di Goes Sex Mad," and supposedly quotes her about her appetites.

"We felt it inappropriate in light of the tragedy," said Safeway's director of public affairs, Gregory TenEyck. "The nation and the world are mourning her, and we felt shoppers should not be assaulted by this headline."

Safeway, unlike Kmart and Giant, also decided to pull this week's issue of another tabloid, the Star, because of a story that details Diana's relationship with Fayed and features pictures of them together on a "loveboat" cruise.

TenEyck said he and Eastern Division Manager Mike Bessire decided yesterday morning that they should read all the tabloids their stores sell to check for possible problems. They went to the nearest Safeway supermarket to buy them and "decided these two were particularly exploitative."

The decision angered editors at both publications, who noted that all the major media are reviewing Diana's life and history.

"It's not a negative story; it's upbeat, showing how deliriously happy she is for the first time in years," said David Perel, executive editor of the Enquirer. "Sure, it's a sexual story, and `I can't get enough' is a descriptive phrase," he said. "But this woman was just starting to enjoy life, and this is an element of it."

Perel and Star editor Phil Bunton said the publications' executives were being widely praised for announcing they would not buy or publish photographs of the crash. They said they hoped the distributors would change their minds about removing the current issues.

Kmart spokesman Dan Jarvis said that he was unaware of the story about Diana in the Star but that he found the Enquirer article "very inappropriate in light of tragic events." He said he didn't know if it would have been considered a problem if the accident had not occurred. He said the company monitors the content of publications its stores sell and "reserves the right to take future issues off the shelves."

The action is not unique. Most recently, some stores removed from their shelves tabloids featuring stories about the JonBenet Ramsey slaying.

© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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