Anyone who has opened up the premiere issue of Hachette-Fillipachi’s newest creation, Shock! knows the magazine does exactly what it is intended to do: The images are shocking, grotesque, hilarious and unnerving, which has caused two national drugstore chains and a bookstore to pull the magazine from shelves.
Shock has certainly spurred controversy, but whether the title will hold strong after the initial "shock" remains to be seen. "You can fool people once with a nice cover, a scary image, a distasteful picture, but you can not make that a regular meal," University of Mississippi Journalism Department Chairman Samir Husni. "Shock is like the movie Jack Ass…it will entertain you and shock you for some time, but I doubt that we will see Jack Ass VIII any time soon." According to a story reported this week by Photo District News Online, Brooks Eckerd says it stopped selling the magazine in response to complaints of Yon’s photo, while Rite Aid says the magazine was pulled off shelves before those complaints. In another media report, Borders bookstores also said they will no longer carry the magazine because of the copyright issue.
"If more stores continue to pull the magazine out, all the PR in the world will not help," Husni says. "Now that readers/viewers have the chance to see a second issue (maybe) they will have a better tool of judging for themselves."
A spokesperson for Hachette, who spoke on the condition of anomynity, claims the magazine and Hachette stand behind all actions regarding the controversial photograph. "The Michel Yon photo was one of several photos provided to Shock by Polaris in response to a request from the magazine for images from the Iraq and Vietnam wars and confirmed that they had the right to license the photo."