The Mexican edition of the Christmas Playboy issue showed a nearly nude woman on the cover resembling the Virgin Mary. After a protest led by the Catholic League, the publisher of Playboy Mexico apologized.
When asked for a comment by the media entertainment outlet, TMZ, Bill Donohue said: “Playboy’s juxtaposition of the sacred with the profane is a game that many have played, but to exploit Catholicism and insult Latinos in the same breath is novel. The December cover of its Mexican edition demonstrates once again that when it comes to good taste, Playboy remains quintessentially virginal.”
To make matters worse, the apology was insincere. “The image is not and never was intended to portray the Virgin of Guadalupe or any other religious figure,” said publisher Raul Sayrols. “The intent was to reflect a Renaissance-like mood on the cover.”
When Rick Sanchez of CNN asked Donohue whether he accepted the apology, he replied, “They are liars. I mean everybody knows it has nothing to do with the Renaissance.” Sanchez then asked whether it would have made a difference had they not lied. “No,” Donohue said, “I wouldn’t be okay with it. But at least I wouldn’t call them dishonest.”
This is not the first time Playboy has played fast and loose with Catholic iconography. Nor is it the first time it has attacked Catholicism in its pages; the American edition has a long record of abuse. The good news is that Playboy’s sales are hurting.