NEW YORK (14 April 2000) On Wednesday, the City Council of Chicago named a public street after Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. On Thursday, Mr. Hefner and two of his “playmates” rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Morality in Media president Robert Peters had the following comments about these honors bestowed upon Mr. Hefner:
“I don’t often talk publicly about my ‘past life,’ but there are exceptions. The decisions earlier this week of the City of Chicago and New York Stock Exchange to honor the pornographer Hugh Hefner have prompted a minor exception today.”More than any other single source, it was Playboy magazine that fed my addiction to porn, from the addiction’s inception in elementary school throughout my high school and college years.
“Shortly after arriving in New York City in 1971 to attend law school, I ‘graduated’ to the world of hardcore pornography found then in the City’s Times Square area. My own experience with porn, as well as the experience of others, long ago prompted me to call Playboy magazine the ‘marijuana of the porn industry.’
“But Hugh Hefner isn’t just a magazine pornographer. Since the early 1980s, Playboy has also provided pornography on cable TV. Playboy’s cable TV porn is far more explicit and perverse than the sex photo layouts in its magazine.
“According to the Wall Street Journal (7/11/94) and filings submitted to the SEC, Playboy has licensed some of its cable TV porn films from a company allegedly controlled by a reputed organized crime associate.
“Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the New York Stock Exchange honored Hefner and two of his porn starlets. After all, Playboy is in the process of selling stock; and many on Wall Street can’t wait to cash in. Undoubtedly, they hope Playboy will also pave the way for many other porn businesses to go public.
“It is harder to understand why the great city of Chicago would want to honor one of the sexual revolution’s self-professed progenitors. According to press reports, Chicago’s city council was persuaded by Mr. Hefner’s daughter, who reminded them that Playboy has poured some of its profits back into the City.
“But pornographers, become wealthy by appealing to mankind’s baser instincts and preying upon human weaknesses. Has Chicago not counted the costs of the sexual revolution within its own borders from teen abortion, single parent families, rape, sexual abuse of children and sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS?
“And doesn’t anyone at the New York Stock Exchange read the newspapers about the role that pornography frequently plays in sexual harassment cases involving securities companies and now also in a highly publicized insider trading case.?
“Has the sexual revolution really gone so far that many if not most of our nation’s political and business leaders are no longer concerned about the impact of pornography upon children and teens, family life and public health, safety and morality? Is money the ONLY THING that now matters in politics and corporate America?”
MORALITY IN MEDIA is a nonprofit national interfaith organization, with headquarters in New York City, working through constitutional means to curb traffic in obscenity and to uphold standards of decency in the mainstream media.