It seems like the publisher of the Portuguese edition of Playboy never got the memo about not running photo spreads of Jesus Christ with naked women. And now his magazine just got canned because of it!
The cover of Playboy Portugal’s July issue (see right) depicts a topless, tattooed and dead-looking model lying on a bed in the arms of Jesus. Things get a bit racier inside the magazine, which has a spread with pictures showing “a long-haired, glowing Jesus watching two models in a lesbian clinch, standing next to a prostitute and looking over the shoulder of a woman reading a book,” according to the Daily Mail.
The feature was supposed to be a tribute to “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ,” a controversial novel by Nobel Prize-winning Portuguese author Jose Saramago. (Or maybe they just wanted to one-up all the provocative content the U.S. edition has been churning out lately?)
But Playboy Enterprises apparently is not the biggest fan of that work — the company has decided to cancel the Portuguese edition altogether because of the spread.
A spokeswoman for the company told the Daily Mail:
We did not see or approve the cover and pictorial in the July issue of Playboy Portugal.
‘It is a shocking breach of our standards and we would have not allowed it to be published if we had seen it in advance.
‘We are in the process of terminating our agreement with the Portuguese publisher.’
Meanwhile, DealBook brings news that Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and major shareholder Rizvi Traverse Management have issued a proposal to take the company private in an offer that would value Playboy at roughly $185 million:
If Playboy reaches a deal with Mr. Hefner and his backer, it would finally go private again after 39 years of being a public company. While the company’s eponymous magazine is a cultural mainstay, its popularity peaked years ago, and the publisher has been struggling since.
Over the past year, Playboy has been trying to revitalize the brand through new partnerships, new hires, and attention-grabbing covers. Things were looking up in May, when the company announced it had narrowed its Q1 net loss to $1 million from $13.7 million a year earlier.
But a few weeks ago, Playboy announced it would be restructuring and downsizing, including layoffs, as part of its ongoing trasition to what CEO Scott Flanders describes as a “brand management company.”
According to Playboy’s press release on Hefner’s offer: “If the proposal moves forward, PEI’s board of directors will form a special committee of independent directors to consider the proposal. The committee would retain independent financial advisors and legal counsel to assist it in its work.”
In the meantime, at least now they have one less international edition to worry about.
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