Consumer Focus has applauded WH Smith for ditching Playboy stationery, claiming pornography was becoming a feature of the playground.
Ed Mayo, chief executive of Consumer Focus, spoke out after WH Smith discontinued the pencil cases and folder bearing the famous bunny ears logo.
Mayo said stocking the Playboy items was part of a wider sexualisation of children and represented the continuing loss of youngsters' innocence. It was all part of a warped bombardment of children's lives with adult sexuality which could
lead to mental problems in the young, he said.
In some senses it may seem harmless, but we know the stationery range was purchased by primary and secondary school girls - in other ways it's the tip of the iceberg. We know from research we did that young people like the brand but know it's
connected with pornography and becomes a feature in the playground. One 14-year-old said 'It's posh, makes you feel good but it's pornography'. I am delighted WH Smith have done the right thing.
Mayo also spoke out about the dangers sexualisation of young girls yesterday, warning it triggers 'emotional distress, anxiety, low self-esteem and eating disorders'. Describing the consequences of exposing children to adult sexuality as dire
today, Mayo said: There is a wider exposure of children to things and it's about too much, too young. Early sexualisation on children has a real impact in terms of mental distress.
WH Smith would not be drawn on whether the decision to withdraw the Playboy merchandise was because of pressure. A company spokesman said: We continually review and update our range to offer our customers a wide range of products. Each spring
we renew our range of fashion stationery and as part of this update we have chosen to discontinue the Playboy range.'
Consumer Focus is a government funded statutory organisation, created through the merger of three organisations – energywatch, Postwatch and the National Consumer Council which:
establishes a new body to provide a stronger, more coherent consumer advocacy body – Consumer Focus – able to address consumer issues across different sectors, undertake cross-sectoral research, and provide a voice for
consumers in dialogue with companies, regulators, Government and Europe
extends redress schemes to all licensed energy suppliers and postal services providers to resolve complaints where suppliers and service providers have not been able to do so, and provide compensation for consumers where
it is appropriate
enables Consumer Direct to become the single point of contact for all consumers to obtain information and impartial advice as well as signpost consumers and provide them with help when making a complaint. Consumer Direct
is a government-funded telephone and online consumer advice service offering clear, practical and impartial consumer advice (08454 04 05 06). Go to Consumer Direct website
Sounds like a another bunch of good for nothing moralising censors to me
Playboy Enterprises is open to discussions regarding the sale of the company, interim chairman and CEO Jerome Kern said.
Playboy suffered a net loss of $145.7 million in 2008, partly because of a reported $157.2 million in restructuring costs. The company trimmed 14% of its staff in 2008, and plans more layoffs as it consolidates its online and print divisions in
the coming year.
In its year-end report for 2008, Playboy reported revenue at $292.1 million, down 14% from $339.8 million in 2007.
Playboy's publishing income fell from $93.8 million to $84.5 million over the course of the year.
The company did see fourth-quarter profits from its TV programming in the U.S., recorded at $5 million. Licensing income, which Playboy has touted as its strongest asset, was down 38%.
Playboy magazine, once among the largest-circulation magazines in the business, is cutting the circulation it guarantees advertisers to 1.5 million from 2.6 million, a 38% decrease.
The move, effective with the January issue, was reported by Mediaweek. Theresa M. Hennessey, a Playboy spokeswoman, confirmed the reduction.
Playboy is battling declining ad revenue, which almost every magazine is grappling with. But it is also losing readers to online pornography. And mass magazines in general are having a tough time; titles from TV Guide to Reader's Digest to
Newsweek have cut their guaranteed circulation recently.
Analysts have been pressing Playboy Enterprises to consider selling its flagship magazine and focus on the more lucrative licensing business. But executives have dismissed that idea, and Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, in particular, is known to be
dedicated to the magazine.
Housing chiefs have been branded sex snoopers after ordering council tenants to sign in ALL visitors to their flats.
Guests, including those who sleep over, are being denied access to 30 tower blocks unless their name is logged.
Town hall chiefs claim the register will combat yobs and ensure fire safety. But residents of one block, College Point in Newham, East London, refused to comply, calling it an appalling breach of privacy .
Tenants in the 123 flats say they got just 18 hours' notice from Labour-run Newham Council that guests would have to be signed in by a concierge.
Their fury was echoed by Local Government Minister Grant Shapps, who said: This is an outrageous invasion of privacy by town hall sex snoopers.
And Nick Pickles of civil liberties group Big Brother Watch added: It's the sort of rule you'd expect in East Germany, not East London.
The MP for North East Somerset, Jacob Rees-Mogg said that those council officials with the power to issue fines for minor infractions should have to wear blower hats to be easily identified, and avoided, by the public. This is in response to a
plan under way in the London boroughs which may grant town hall officials the power to force offenders of minor misdemeanours to turn over their personal details so that they can be charged a fine.
At the moment, council officials can already issue these fines, but there is no requirement for the accused to hand over their personal details, leaving officials with no means of following up. A bill in Parliament, the London Local Authorities
Bill, would make it a criminal offence for the accused to refuse to hand over their information when stopped by these officials.
This bill is a blatant snub of civil liberties. Policing should be left to the police, and Big Brother Watch has said repeatedly that granting police powers to civilians is shaky at best. They show a worrying disregard for due process and the
quick, cheap and dirty training many of these officials receive fails to give them a clear knowledge and understanding of the law (or very minor offences) they so vigorously enforce on the streets of their communities.
And are there ramifications for misusing or abusing these powers? In reality, aside from clear guidance and strict training, there is very little that can protect the public from abuses of these powers.