Playboy Magazine Displays Photos of Jesus Christ With Topless Models

Country: Portugal

Date of incident: July 1, 2010

Playboy’s Portuguese edition after it publishes photos depicting Jesus Christ among topless Playboy models, allegedly in a tribute to author Jose Sarmago.

The photos show Jesus watching two semi-nude women in a lesbian embrace, standing next to a prostitute and looking over the shoulder of a woman reading a book. The photo series, which appeared in Portugal’s July edition of the magazine, also depicts Jesus kneeling on a bed while he holds a heavily tattooed woman who appears to have died in his arms. But Playboy’s Portuguese publisher, Frestacom-Lisbon Media Publishing, said that the photo shoot was meant to be a “final tribute” to the recently deceased Nobel Prize-winning author Jose Saramago. It claimed the controversial photo-shoot was meant to pay homage to Saramago’s ‘The Gospel According to Jesus Christ’. Theresa Hennessy, Vice President of public relations at Playboy Enterprises, was quick to distance the corporation from the controversial shoot. She said: “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 not have 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.” However, Frestacom-Lisbon Media Publishing denies having been notified by the international Playboy offices to suspend its operations. A spokesperson for Frestacom-Lisbon Media Publishing, which launched Playboy Portugal in March 2009, told Lusa News Agency that the idea behind the “strong pictures” was to send an “equally strong message, which does not need captions”. In a press release, Frestacom stated “Apparently some people have still not captured the real essence and concept of the magazine” and said it was “shocked” by the amount of “attention that was immediately given [to the cover], to the detriment of a deeper analysis”.