The Royal Mail has apparently refused to distribute the current issue of The Drum magazine as it uses the word ‘fuck’ prominently on the front cover.
The 11 June edition of the magazine may now be delayed for up to two days as a result of being sent back to the printer to have its packaging tweaked to ensure the word cannot be seen through its transparent wrap.
The Drum is the reigning PPA Business Magazine of the Year and the cover is being used to highlight a competition it ran for readers to design a World Cup poster. The cover was based on one of the entries from designer Steve Price and read: "Fuck it football is shit. When is Downton back on."
A Royal Mail staff member told The Drum that it would be unable to distribute the magazine due to the "offensive word on the front cover".
He explained: "There is potential that a child could pick up mail meant for their parents," adding that "the company has previously stated that such words are not permitted on mail".
He added that Royal Mail staff could "see it and take offence".
Senior Royal Mail staff were unable to verify whether this decision would ultimately be upheld. But the fact that the title was delayed in the postal system forced The Drum to recall the issue to have its packaging changed.
Gordon Young, editor of The Drum, said: “Oh for fuck's sake. This magazine is a subscription only business-to-business title with a tightly defined readership. The sort of language our readers come across day-to-day is probably not dissimilar to the sort of language used in a Royal Mail sorting office and I reckon it is unlikely they will be offended.
“And the end of the day ‘fuck’ is simply a word which is in the English dictionary and has been in use since at least Shakespearean times. I am amazed that in this day and age these are grounds for preventing the distribution of a news magazine.
“I appreciate the Royal Mail have to be alert about some of the stuff people may wish to distribute but I think they should concentrate on work which is clearly illegal as opposed to deciding what is and what is not tasteful.”
At the time of writing the magazine was expected to land on desks on Friday 13. “We advise readers to get to their mail box first to protect the fainthearted,” said Young.
Meanwhile cover designer Steve Price, creative director of Plan-B Studio, said: "Fuck the Royal Mail and fuck football."
Other controversial covers from The Drum's past can be viewed here - Royal Mail posted them all without a problem.