NEW YORK -- Wal-Mart Stores' recent decision to ban sales of three popular men's magazines may have been linked to a sexual discrimination lawsuit, according to Women's Wear Daily.
ne racks, the plaintiffs in Dukes vs. Wal-Mart filed a motion seeking class-action status for their suit alleging Wal-Mart sexually discriminated against its past and present female employees, WWD reported.
Magazine circulation directors contacted by WWD said Wal-Mart, Bentonville, Ark., may have made a scapegoat of the three men's magazines in an effort to clean up its image in the face of what could become the world's largest class-action lawsuit.
Fairchild Publications, New York, is the parent company of WWD and SN, as well as Details, which competes in the men's magazine category.
"They're cleaning up their image while saying it's the raunchiness of the magazines that's at fault," a circulation director said in the WWD report. "There's no complaint level that could have possibly exceeded what the sales were. This decision would never have happened without the class-action suit."
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Mona Williams told SN last week that there was "no correlation between the lawsuit and the decision to remove the magazines. Those three magazines were being reviewed on a month-to-month basis, and we had to pull the titles so frequently because our buying team was not comfortable with the content."