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Swaggart Says Broadcast Preceded Removal Of Magazines

July 17, 1986

Undated (AP) _ Officials of Wal-Mart stores have decided to stop selling rock’n’roll magazines and record albums after evangelist Jimmy Swaggart criticized the sales in a nationally broadcast sermon last month.

A spokesman for Arkansas-based Wal-Mart declined comment today on the discount chain’s decision to remove magazines and record albums. ................CORRECTIVE Sent July 18, 1986 FOLLOWS.........................

The Associated Press, in a story Thursday about a decision by Wal-Mart Discount Stores to remove rock ‘n’ roll magazines and record albums from its shelves, reported erroneously that the circulation of Rolling Stone magazine was 861,000. The magazine’s circulation as of Dec. 31, 1985, was 1,058,000, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation. ...............................................................................

″The issue is not major for us. We don’t plan any comment,″ spokesman Jim Von Gremp said from the Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart operates about 900 stores in 22 states.

Wal-Mart spokesmen had previously said the removal of albums and magazines was unrelated to pressure on stores by some religious groups to take the products from shelves.

The Washington Post reported in today’s editions that Swaggart, whose ministry is based in Baton Rouge, La., said on Wednesday that he mentioned Wal-Mart in a sermon delivered June 1 in New Haven, Conn.

Swaggart, cousin of rockabilly singer Jerry Lee Lewis and country singer Mickey Gilley, said the sermon was broadcast in southern markets on June 22 - 10 days after Wal-Mart circulated an internal memo ordering store managers to remove 32 magazines. A memo in May ordered removal of some record albums.

Among the rock music magazine titles listed as objectionable in the June 13 memo was Rolling Stone, which has a circulation of 861,000.

Hope Henning, a spokeswoman for Rolling Stone, said, ″At this point, we’re declining to comment.″

Gerald Rothberg, publisher of Circus, was in meetings and unavailable for comment, according to a receptionist in his office.

″After nearly a quarter of a century of experience with pornography, we know what the results are. This is the same thing with rock music,″ Swaggart told the Post, ″a degenerating, debilitating influence on our youth.″

Swaggart said he was surprised to learn of Wal-Mart’s removal of the magazines, ″because to my knowledge they’re the first ones to hit the rock ‘n’roll situation. I feel that the rock ‘n’ roll scene is about like the pornography scene. They’re very similar.″

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