Walmart has removed books featuring child nudity from its website, the retailer said Monday.
The explicit photography books by Jock Sturges were not sold in Walmart stores, but were available at Walmart.com. Last week, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, an anti-pornography organization, launched a petition to remove those and other books and magazines the group says are offensive.
“The books were in violation of our prohibited items policy and were removed as soon as they were brought to our attention,’’ Walmart said in a statement. “We’re refining our policies and filters to better flag and block these types of items in the future.”
Sturges has produced books featuring art photos of nude adolescents for decades. In 1990, the New York Times reported, the FBI raided his studio and confiscated his cameras, but a grand jury declined to indict him. He continued to work. A variety of his art books are on sale on Amazon's website.
Dawn Hawkins, NCOSE’s executive director, applauded the change.
“This is a major victory in our fight for a world free from sexual exploitation,’’ she said in a statement. The group says it is also seeking an end to the retailer selling Cosmopolitan magazine, which is says features sexually suggestive content that can be easily viewed by children shopping with their parents, and primers for the sex trafficking of women that NCOSE says are still sold online.
"We are continuing communications with Walmart executives,'' Hawkins says, "and we hope Walmart will take further, swift action to ensure it stays true to its family-friendly brand by removing all other sexually exploitive materials,"