Thursday, 26 May 2011

“Eff Off Hef!”: Feminists fight the reopening of London Playboy Club

Feminist campaigners are to stage protests at the opening of a new Playboy Club in London ’s Mayfair on 26th May and 4th June. 26th May is the Playboy Club’s press night. Campaigners will be present outside from 8.30pm. Playboy Club is situated on 14 Old Park Lane, Mayfair, London. W1K 1ND. 4th June is the official opening night of Playboy Club. The protest Facebook event is here.

The event is convened by OBJECT, the human rights organisation which campaigns against the sexual objectification of women, and UK Feminista, the national network of activists campaigning for equality between women and men. Picketers will greet Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, who is flying over from Los Angeles for the launch, with calls to, “Eff Off, Hef!”

The new club comes 30 years after its predecessor establishment, which was also based in Mayfair , closed after a police raid for suspected gambling irregularities (5). Playboy clubs are just one of a myriad of products licensed by Playboy Enterprises, an international pornography corporation whose outputs include a mix of pornographic films, websites, TV programming and children’s stationary.

Kat Banyard, Director of UK Feminista says:
When it comes to today’s pornography industry, all roads lead back to Playboy. It was Hugh Hefner who laid the political and cultural groundwork for the brutal, violently misogynistic pornography that now floods society. But sadly for Hefner, you can’t trademark sexism, and Playboy’s retro brand of ‘gentleman’s porn’ can no longer compete with the extreme degradation of modern internet pornography. Hence we see this endless diversification into nightclubs, video games, clothing and even children’s stationary.

But whatever product Playboy stamps its logo on, the basic brand concept is the same: woman reduced to sex object for man’s sexual satisfaction - and Playboy’s financial gain. Naturally Playboy Club London embodies this brand, offering champagne and sexism. So Eff off, Hef. And take your club with you.

Anna van Heeswijk, Campaigns Manager of OBJECT, says:
Far from a symbol of sophistication and class, the opening of a new Playboy club in London signifies a worrying step backwards in the quest for equality between the sexes. It entrenches the legitimacy of a porn empire which makes its fortune out of degrading women as fluffy animals who exist as sexual playthings for wealthy men. It opens the floodgates ever wider to the pornification of our popular culture. And it serves to embed further a porn emblem which insidiously grooms girls into accepting and embracing sex object culture by marketing its brand to children through playboy pencil cases and bed covers.

It is time to cut through the crap of the Playboy PR machine. Sexualising and objectifying women as bunny rabbits is not sexy and it is not empowering. It is sexist, and everyone knows it. This is why hundreds of women and men across the country are signing up to the OBJECT and UK Feminista campaign to object to the opening of the new Playboy club. Our message is clear - ‘Eff off Hef and stop degrading women!

For further details and interview requests please contact Anna van Heeswijk on 07783 887 154 /  or Kat Banyard on 07775 855037 /
Visit Object here and UK Feminista here.