UK Feminista joined forces with OBJECT to protest against the return of the Playboy Club to London after thirty years since the original club closed down. 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. Playboy is an international pornography empire, and its return to the high street works to legitimise a brand that has amassed hundreds of millions of pounds by sexually exploiting women. That’s why over 200 women and men went along to the club’s opening night to tell Hugh Hefner exactly what they thought of him and his club.
Kat Banyard, the director of UK Feminista was there. “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 the brand, offering champagne and sexism. So Eff off, Hef. And take your club with you.”
Anna van Heeswijk, Campaigns Manager at OBJECT, said: “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!’”
Read about the protest as it happened on Twitter #EffOffHef