Playboy Kills Off Portuguese Edition Over Sexy Jesus Photo Shoot

Playboy Kills Off Portuguese Edition Over Sexy Jesus Photo Shoot

As a tribute to Nobel Prize-winning author Jose Saramago, Playboy Portugal reimagined Saramago's novel The Gospel According to Jesus Christ as a soft-core porno. Now Playboy Enterprises is renouncing its blasphemous Portuguese branch—and shuttering Playboy Portugal.

The news came to us this evening in an email from Theresa Hennessy, Playboy Enterprises' vice president of public relations:

We did not see or approve the cover and pictorial in the July issue of Playboy Portugal. It is a shocking breach of our standards, and we would not have allowed it to be published if we had seen it in advance. As a result of this and other issues with the Portuguese publisher, we are in the process of terminating our agreement.

This is disappointing because it was among the few Playboy photo features I've found interesting. (The perplexing but weirdly entrancing "Evolution of the Boob" is another.) Smut in honor of a controversial novel by a militant atheist Nobel laureate—why not? Fashion photography has long monopolized the world of thoughtful magazine imagery. I say, give serious smut (gimmicky smut, silly smut, even mindlessly provocative smut!) a chance. At its core, Playboy is designed to shock. Top-selling copies frequently trade on the shock value of mainstream starlets and other incongruous public figures shedding their garments and getting dirty. (Let's not forget how it all began.) Playboy Portugal managed, miraculously, to shock the wizened masses of the internet, where the Jesus photos went viral. Shouldn't that be worth something?

We asked Hennessy to explain Playboy Enterprises' relationship with Playboy Portugal. Here's what she said:

All international publications of Playboy magazine are licensed editions (we currently have 26, including Portugal) and our international publishers sign detailed licensing agreements. While using the format of the U.S. edition, our partners publish local editions of Playboy magazine that reflect both the standards and culture of their own country, as well as our own standards and practices.

Either way: Playboy Portugal went out with a bang.

Previously:

Jesus Appears in Portuguese Playboy [NSFW]