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The image: Harps Food Stores executives triggered a heated debate about gay rights this week, after managers at one of the chain's Arkansas supermarkets put a "Family Shield" over the new US Weekly's cover photo of Elton John, his husband David Furnish, and their newborn son Zachary, who was born Christmas Day to a surrogate mother. A shopper snapped a photo of the shield-obscured issues (see below), and tweeted a message urging people to complain. Harps corporate headquarters was swiftly inundated with calls, prompting executives to remove the shields. "Our true intention," Harps President and COO Kim Eskew wrote, "is not to offend anyone in our stores." (Watch an HLN report about the controversy)
The reaction: Why was this loving family photo treated as something shameful?, asks Greg Hernandez at Hollywood News. Thank goodness "this outrageous act was made public by a vigilant shopper and tweeter." Don't be too hard on Harps, says Roberta Ferguson in Ear Sucker. A customer complaint from the conservative side of the gay-rights debate started the whole thing. The lesson here is that "the interwebz" rule, says Christopher Spencer at Ozarks Unbound. The angry store customers didn't stand a chance once news of this censorship hit Twitter and went viral. Here's a look at the cover and the Harps-censored version: