Circuit City Rethinks MAD Magazine Ban, Apologizes

The parody page in question from the latest issue of MAD Magazine

What started out as a modern-day book banning has fizzled into a major retailer apologizing to MAD Magazine, even borrowing a page from the infamous humor magazine to do it.

As reported Monday morning, Circuit City ordered its stores to pull copies of MAD Magazine from its shelves in response to the publication poking fun at the retail consumer electronics chain. The August issue of the humor magazine includes a parody of one of Circuit City's flyers, changing the name of the company to "Sucker City."

When Newsarama contacted Circuit City for a comment on the action, the company responded by reversing its previous position, ordering the magazines back on the shelves, then took the opportunity to lampoon itself in MAD Magazine style.

"I became aware of this 'situation' only this morning, and I have sent a note today to the editors of Mad Magazine," said Jim Babb, spokesman for Circuit City. "Speaking as 'an embarrassed corporate PR Guy,' I apologized for the fact that some overly-sensitive souls at our corporate headquarters ordered the removal of the August issue of MAD Magazine from our stores.

"The parody of our newspaper ad in the August MAD was very clever," he continued. "Most of us at Circuit City share a rich sense of humor and irony... but there are occasional temporary lapses. We apologize for the knee-jerk reaction, and have issued a retraction order; the affected stores are being directed to put the magazines back on sale."

Babb said only 40 of Circuit City's 700 stores sell magazines, then added in self-spoofing style: "As a gesture of our apology and deep respect for the folks at MAD Magazine, we are creating a cross-departmental task force to study the importance of humor in the corporate workplace and expect the resulting PowerPoint presentation to top out at least 300 pages, chock full of charts, graphs and company action plans. In addition, I have offered to send the MAD Magazine editor a $20 Circuit City gift card toward the purchase of a Nintendo Wii....if he can find one!"

Speaking from the magazine’s "international headquarters," MAD Editor John Ficarra said, “We at MAD were shocked and confused by this entire incident -- mainly because we had no idea that Circuit City even sells magazines. Nonetheless, we accept their apology but hold out hope that their gesture of a $20 gift card is only an opening offer.”

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