Playboy to stop publishing nude photos
LOS ANGELES — Playboy magazine will stop publishing the photographs of the fully nude women so closely associated with it, declaring such pictures have become “passe” in the Internet age where free pornography is readily available.
The decision came after a top editor of the adult magazine met with its founder Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion last month, according to chief executive Scott Flanders.
Starting in March, Playboy’s revamped print edition will still include photographs of women in provocative poses.
They just won’t be nude anymore, Flanders told The New York Times in an interview published Tuesday.
“You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passe at this juncture,” he said.
It’s a remarkable move for a magazine that launched in 1953 with a sultry Marilyn Monroe on its cover, breaking the taboo of showing women au naturel.
But with pornographic images now so readily available online, and accessible via a variety of connected devices, Playboy is selling less and less copies.
The magazine’s circulation decreased from 5.6 million in 1975 to about 800 000 now, the Times said, citing Alliance for Audited Media figures. And at its peak, it sold more than seven million copies, in November 1972.
In order to be allowed on nowubiquitous social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that drive Internet traffic, Playboy has already made some content safer, according to Flanders.
After its website went nude-free in August 2014, the average reader age fell from 47 to just above 30, and Internet traffic soared from four million to 16 million unique visitors per month, executives told the Times.
For its latest redesign, the magazine sought to answer the question: “if you take nudity out, what’s left?” he explained.
Cory Jones, the chief content officer who met with 89-year-old Hefner last month, told the Times that the magazine will still feature a Playmate of the Month, though the images will now be “PG-13.”
And it’s unclear whether or not the centrefold will survive the chopping block.
The Playboy brand, with its trademark tuxedo bow tie-adored bunny silhouette logo, has had a major impact on the media world.
In addition to its sexy centrefolds — usually featuring a nude female model, or Playmate — and covers, the magazine is also known for its fascinating interviews with defining cultural figures of the moment.
The first Playboy interview was conducted by writer Alex Haley with Miles Davis, in which the jazz great shared candid views on rac- ism.
“This whole prejudice mess is something you would feel so good if it could just be got rid of, like a big sore eating inside of your belly,” Davis said at the time.
There were also interviews with Malcolm X and with Martin Luther King Jr, in which he discussed the civil rights movement he led and said “America today is an extremely sick nation.”
And then there was then-presidential candidate Jimmy Carter admitting to have lusted for other women “in my heart,” or an interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, which hit newsstands around the time of the Beatles co-founder’s December 1980 death.
Playboy has also published short stories by prominent novelists like Vladimir Nabokov, Haruki Murakami and Margaret Atwood, as well as cartoons by the likes of Shel Silverstein.
Some of the world’s most famous photographers, including Helmut Newton and Annie Leibovitz, have provided Playboy the photographs that live on and are forever associated with the magazine.
Celebrities of all stripes have posed before the camera lens for Playboy at the height of their careers, from Kim Basinger to Drew Barrymore, Madonna, Farrah Fawcett, Sharon Stone, La Toya Jackson, wrestlers Torrie Wilson and Chyna and gymnast Svetlana Khorkina.
PLAYBOY magazine will cease publishing images of naked women early next year.