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Playboy Lost to Reisman!

Reisman Child Porn Study Defeats Playboy's Dutch Libel Suit

In 1994, Playboy sued Dutch tv broadcaster EO to demand the retraction of statements by Dr. Reisman in one of their broadcasts. On air, Reisman essentially accused Playboy of producing child pornography, based on the study of three decades of its publications. Playboy ultimately lost the lawsuit.

Jump to sections below:
The broadcast
The verdict
Headlines from Holland
Related articles

The broadcast

On September 17, 1994, EO, a Dutch public broadcasting association, aired an episode of its news and current affairs tv series Tijdsein (EN: Time Signal), which featured a 20 minute section on sexual abuse in the United States. Judith Reisman was interviewed for this production, in particular concerning the results from her study for the Department of Justice. This research was sponsored by its Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Project No. 84-JN-AX-K007, and carried out from February 1984 to November 1985, with results published in 1987.

"The research was an investigative analysis of PLAYBOY, PENTHOUSE and HUSTLER over the period of December 1953 to December 1984 to examine for nonviolent, violent, and criminal image portrayal and scenario involvement of children. The research reported the findings of 14,854 images of crime and violence and 6,004 images of children (with the predominate group being girls between ages 3 to 11 years) as part of the overall sexual and violent scenario. There were 989 sexual scenarios which included children actively involved with adults; and each magazine portrayed children as unharmed and/or benignly affected by the child/adult sex."

-- Role of Pornography and Media Violence in Family Violence, Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, and Juvenile Delinquency - NCJRS Abstract

See also: Images of Children, Crime and Violence in Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler


October 3, 1994, EO is subpoenaed by Playboy, demanding retractions be published in the next episode of Tijdsein, as well as printed in the broadcasting association's tv guide. They charged unauthorized use of their brand and that Playboy had been "brought into the news by the EO in an unnecessarily hurtful and damaging way", claiming they had "suffered considerable damage". A hearing was held on October 11.


About EO
(Wikipedia; English)

"lies and slander" ... "Never is there an image of a child in the magazine."
-- Jan Heemskerk, Chief Editor for Playboy in The Netherlands

"I assume that, in America, Playboy has long been familiar with the views of Reisman. I would say to Mr. Heemskerk: turn to America."
-- Andries Knevel, EO Director of Programming

"Playboy never will sue me in the USA, since their deliberate child sex abuse methodology would be proven in a court of law."
-- Judith A. Reisman, PhD

The verdict

Judge Bentinck ruled in Playboy's favor, only on the count of EO's use of three images of Playboy magazine covers and three other Playboy images, without permission; a copyright violation. All other claims and demands by Playboy were dismissed.

The judge could see no wrong in EO reporting Reisman's findings, nor that there was an obvious intent to harm Playboy in doing so, adding also that EO's journalists had taken great care in researching and producing the piece.

In paragraph nine of the ruling, Reisman's findings are referred to as:

"the uncontested factual findings of Dr. Reisman"


About Dutch Courts

Effectively, the judge only ruled EO could not re-air the episode for as far as works by Playboy are shown. On not giving Playboy a chance to voice its opinion in the particular broadcast and the fact that Playboy doesn't agree with Reisman's findings the judge simply stated that "Playboy and associates, being publishers themselves, possess ample access to the media to combat any opinion they deem incorrect."

Case details

"Playboy" in this case comprises the following plaintiffs:

PLAYBOY ENTERPRISES INC., based in Chicago, Illinois, United States of America, and
UITGEVERIJ SPAARNESTAD B.V., based in Haarlem, The Netherlands

versus "EO", Evangelische Omroep, the defendant in this case:


Amsterdam District Court case number: KG 94/2529Be

Read the full Dutch language verdict: HTML | PDF

Ruling: October 27, 1994
Hearing: October 11, 1994
Subpoena: October 3, 1994

Headlines from Holland

Playboy demands retraction of EO about incest
September 26, 1994, ANP

Playboy threatens EO with lawsuit
September 27, 1994, NRC

EO prosecuted
September 28, 1994, Het Parool

"Playboy does in fact print child pictures and cartoons"
October 11, 1994, ANP

EO does not have to retract statements about Playboy
October 27, 1994, ANP

Playboy loses suit against EO
October 28, 1994, AD

Read original Dutch language press coverage here (sources)

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