A few months ago in a country far far away (Well, the USA) a magazine hit the newstand. At first glance it was nothing more than the latest edition of Runner’s World with its usually headlines promising to tell you what to eat and what to buy but look a little closer, look at the model on the cover, look at her SOCKS! Yes – vegan socks! The word “vegan” right there on the front cover in all its glory. Facebook lit up, twitter twittered and blogs abounded with joy. Over on the peerless No Meat Athlete they interviewed the vegan athlete featured on the front cover – find it here and in the UK we waited with baited breath. Across Europe they published the same front cover and then it was our turn and… they photoshopped the word vegan off her socks. Damn.
As always as a couple of days before it hit the shop they were on Facebook promoting their new edition with a shot of the cover. Immediatly they were beng asked about the changed socks. Their first repsonse was to say it was due to a difference in “colour and design” of the US and UK version. So of course we posted the above picture showing them side by side. Not a huge difference I think you’d agree. After hours of social media posts, tweets, uploads and petitions they came back with a new answer
Runner’s World UK is published by Hearst Magazines UK. Our cover policy is to remove large visual branding from cover models’ apparel, whether that is a word or an oversized brand logo. We agree that veganism is an important moral choice and respect those that make that choice. We appreciate you voicing your concerns and are pleased to be able to reassure you that our decision to amend the cover image was made for purely aesthetic reasons and should not be interpreted as a judgment or comment about veganism.
“Visual branding”? Nice try. Vegan isn’t a brand. What it is is a challenge and clearly a challenge they felt their British readers were not up to. It would seem the “V” word is just to scary a prospect for us.
Of course they are a business and are free to do what they want with their cover but we are their customers and we are free to tell them what we think. So I urge you to do so. Boycott this magazine, send them an email, sign this petition and spread the word. If they don’t want us then we certaintly don’t want them.