Last Thursday, Jan. 11, I met with two senior King Soopers executives in Denver. At their request, this meeting was with me alone and off the record.
At King Soopers' request, we agreed to publish the following statement, issued by them: "Last September, King Soopers began receiving complaints that certain illustrations and other graphics featured in the Colorado Springs Independent were inappropriate and offensive to our customers, particularly those who shop with their young children in our stores. In response to these complaints, we reviewed several issues of the Independent. Based solely on the nature of these illustrations and graphics, we subsequently decided to remove the publication from our stores in the Colorado Springs area. King Soopers prides itself on being a store where families can feel comfortable shopping. That's why, as a matter of policy, we do not carry magazines, newspapers or other publications generally considered to be adult in nature."
King Soopers has agreed to allow the Independent back in their stores as long as "sexually explicit" graphics do not appear in future issues. If any future issues are pulled due to graphic content, King Soopers will directly advise and discuss the matter with the Independent.
While King Soopers denies that they pulled the Independent because of complaints from vocal right wing critics of the paper, some of those critics have made statements on local radio broadcasts in the last week taking responsibility for the campaign to remove us from the supermarket's shelves.
We are honored and grateful for the outpouring of community support we have received over the past few weeks. I particularly appreciated the comments of Dr. Frederick Keller, addressed to King Soopers and forwarded to us:
"While I find myself frequently in disagreement with the positions of the Independent, I have always found their material to be well written, carefully researched and provocative. One can ask no more from a paper. The decision to preclude a responsible publication from the marketplace based on a disagreement with some of the ideas contained within it is profoundly anti-democratic and undermines one of the basic foundations of this democracy, the free exchange of ideas."
Our thanks to Dr. Keller and to all who voiced their support in recent weeks. And in the words of the immortal Dr. King, whose birthday we celebrated this week: "Let freedom ring!"