Hudson News is at it again.

The company, which operates more than 500 newsstands in major cities, airports and train stations—including New York’s Grand Central Terminal—is treating GQ’s July issue, which features a nude Sacha Baron Cohen (as his flamboyantly gay Brüno character) on its cover “like pornography,” according to the New York Times’ Media Decoder blog.

The newsstand took the liberty of covering up the bottom half of the July cover with a black “blinder.”

While it might seem somewhat surprising, given the influx of nudity on covers recently (see Samir Husni’s helpful roundup), it really shouldn’t be. Hudson News, a notoriously conservative chain, has done this sort of thing before—and often.

Last December, GQ’s much talked-about January 2009 cover—featuring Jennifer Aniston wearing nothing more than a tie and a smile—was covered up by Hudson News in Grand Central. (The newsstand placed a piece of paper across the issue in its window display, but copies inside remained uncovered.)

In June 2006, Hudson News censored the first of five consecutive issues of FHM, including a cover featuring Brooke Hogan—Hulk Hogan’s then underage daughter—which prompted liquor advertisers to pull out of the magazine.

If the retailer was hoping to draw attention away from magazines baring all on covers
(and putting it in the window isn’t exactly a sign they want to),
censoring them, as one might expect, tends to have the opposite effect.
The first FHM cover covered up by Hudson News sold over 400,000 copies
on newsstands, well above its 350,000 average. And GQ’s Aniston cover sold some 370,000 copies—up 90 percent over its January 2008 cover, making it the single best-selling GQ issue in over 10 years.