Reisman Won Playboy Libel Suit | Posted: December 11, 2011
Judith Reisman - Swept into Controversy
By Howard Erickson
Tragically, since the early 1960s, a primary contributor to the sexual education of numerous young people has been magazines like Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler. These so-called "adult" magazines are not read only by adults, and the degrading philosophies of life portrayed within their pages negatively affect proper development of a person's sexual mores.
A recent study by Dr. Judith Reisman (see February 1987 FJ) accentuates the rising influence pornography has in the United States, and graphically reveals the extent to which sex magazines have gone in their portrayal of immorality. Reisman was requested to do this in-depth study by the U.S. Department of Justice. What she discovered shocked her, and she assumed that the subsequent report would result in harsh actions against distributors of pornographic material. Instead, the report was downplayed and openly criticized, she lost her job at a prominent university, and she has been swept into an unbelievable controversy. The Department of Justice even went as far as to claim it would be a crime to distribute the report, citing 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2251-2252 pertaining to criminal penalties for certain acts involving sexual exploitation of children.
Reisman immediately asked, "Why is it a crime to publish the explicit contents of this report, and not a crime for the magazines on which this report is based?" In her opinion, the Department of Justice squelched this report because of the powerful, and growing, sex industry lobby.
What did her report uncover that powerful forces did not want revealed? Reisman's content analysis of leading pornographic distributors, Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler magazines, all legally sold over the counter, uncovered some surprising information, the most amazing being the number of depictions of child pornography.
In the issues studied, Reisman found almost 3,000 photographs and over 2,000 illustrations and cartoons depicting sexual themes involving children. One cartoon showed a teenage girl, naked from the waist down, talking on the telephone. The caption read, "I'd love to go, but my dad has extra chores for me tonight." She stated that many of these cartoons and photos also justified drugs and violence. While Playboy and Penthouse might claim their magazines are free of such graphic depictions, Reisman found there was nothing in Hustler, "which is more colorful and graphic if you will," that was not proceeded or followed in these two magazines.
Identifying the sex industry as more of a sex/drug cartel, Reisman believes these magazines are influential in promoting a lifestyle that has a strong negative affect on society. She notes that attempts to reform marijuana laws have long been underwritten by Playboy.
Reisman feels this report is neglected because many prominent and reputable people appear in the interview and "journalism" sections of these magazines, people who would rather not be identified with child pornography, and thus overlook this assessment or declare it false.
However, since the report came out at least 500 stores or chains have stopped selling these magazines. Southland Corporation, owner of 7-Elevens, used this report as the basis for their decision.
To obtain copies of this report, send at least two dollars to the Institute for Media Education, Box 7404, Arlington, Virginia 22207.