The September edition of the pornographic-misogynist publication, Hustler, featured a doctored picture of Pope John Paul II and Fidel Castro hawking the magazine. Castro was shown holding a copy of the magazine, with its pages open, while the pope gazed down at it. On the pope’s clothing was a yellow sticker that said, “I saved 44%”; the word “Hustler” appeared below it. There was a statement above the photo which ended with, “For the Love of Christ, Subscribe Today!”
At the bottom of the full-page picture there was a disclaimer that read: “Not to be taken seriously. While the subscription offer is real, the accompanying photograph of the Pope and Fidel Castro reading HUSTLER has been altered.”
Catholic League president William Donohue wrote a letter to the magazine’s editor, Allan MacDonell. Here is part of what he said:
“Not surprisingly, this [the ad] shows that your appetite for bigotry is on a par with your appetite for obscenity, and that’s really saying something.
“I have just one suggestion: instead of playing off contrasts, why not go to the well (or should I say the sewer?) and use a picture of Marilyn Manson or Howard Stern in lieu of the pope. And don’t forget about home base—a shot of Larry Flynt should work well. There’s always Satan, right?”
The Catholic League knows that Hustler is incapable of being shamed. But it also knows that there are those in American life that still want to deny the existence of anti-Catholicism. It was for this audience that this news release was intended.