A US chain store deemed a magazine cover featuring Elton John’s family so offensive, it was covered to “protect” young shoppers.

The manager of the Harps store in Mountain Home, Arkansas, placed a “modesty shield” over the issue of US Weekly, despite John, his civil partner David Furnish and baby Zachary all being fully clothed.

Local resident Jennifer Huddleston took a picture of the shield and posted it on Twitter.

“This was taken at my local grocery store,’ she wrote on the social networking site. “I was shocked and horrified.

“They are saying they need to keep children from seeing it, because it is a gay family.”

Harps said at first that they had no opinion on the matter but company president Kim Eskew later said the shield had been removed.

“In this case our store manager received some complaints and, as has been our custom, placed the shield over the cover of the magazine,” she said.

“When we began receiving complaints at our corporate office, we reviewed the magazine in question, removed the shield and are selling the magazine in all our locations today without any shield.

“Our true intention is not to offend anyone in our stores and this incident happened at just one of our 65 locations, which when brought to our attention we reversed.”