In 2011, a Harps Grocery store in Arkansas blocked the cover of an US Weekly Magazine that featured Elton John, his husband David Furnish, and their new baby, Zachary. Placed over their faces was a sign that read: “Family Shield. To protect young Harps shoppers.” In an effort to bring attention to the sign, a Twitter user snapped a photo and began to tweet a message to celebrities that were supportive of gay rights issues. It soon went viral online, forcing the Harps Grocery to respond, and eventually to take down the “Family Shield” signs.
What is your reaction to a grocery store having a “Family Shield” sign that blocked the image of a gay celebrity family? Are you surprised that this would take place in 2011? What exactly are “young Harps shoppers” being protected from?
What does the response of the Harps Grocery store to the online pressure say about the state of gay rights today? What does it say about the ability of social media to help people advocate for changes in society?