Beginning in March, the New York Times reports, Playboy will no longer publish photographs of fully nude women, which, despite this post’s headline, is not really “bad news,” for “dudes” (or anyone), because the internet is more or less composed of photographs of fully nude women—to say nothing of the fact that many dudes may not find such nudes especially titillating for any number of reasons, and that there are probably some women who might be sorry to hear about this, too. Haha. Anyway!
Playboy’s circulation has dropped from 5.6 million in 1975 to about 800,000 now, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. Many of the magazines that followed it have disappeared. Though detailed figures are not kept for adult magazines, many of those that remain exist in severely diminished form, available mostly in specialist stores. Penthouse, perhaps the most famous Playboy competitor, responded to the threat from digital pornography by turning even more explicit. It never recovered.
Previous efforts to revamp Playboy, as recently as three years ago, have never quite stuck. And those who have accused it of exploiting women are unlikely to be assuaged by a modest cover-up. But, according to its own research, Playboy’s logo is one of the most recognizable in the world, along with those of Apple and Nike.
The change was suggested last month by Cory Jones, an editor at the magazine, to its founder, Hugh Hefner. Apparently Playboy stopped publishing nudes on its website in August of last year. Who knew!
This shift is part of a larger effort by CEO Scott Flanders, the first chief executive from outside the Hefner family, who was brought in after Playboy Enterprises went private in 2011. In two years, Flanders fired over 400 people, shrinking the company’s staff from 585 to 165.
Mr. Flanders allegedly didn’t observe the expected boundaries between a CEO and female employees, according to some current and former employees, who said he was hitting on Playmates and other young women. (Despite its freewheeling reputation, the company had what many former employees describe as a “zero tolerance policy” barring unwanted advances.)
Afterward, a female employee filed a complaint with the company’s human-resources department about alleged comments made by Mr. Flanders. Playboy’s board investigated, and Mr. Flanders underwent sensitivity training, according to people familiar with the matter.
Mr. Flanders confirmed that he underwent the sensitivity training but labeled “absurd” the allegation that he was hitting on Playmates.
The target audience, Mr. Flanders said, is young men who live in cities. “The difference between us and Vice,” he said, “is that we’re going after the guy with a job.”
Sick burn. But also: “young men who live in cities.” Some people really do have a type!