Playboy brings back nudity, saying its removal was a mistake

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Playboy March-April cover on TwitterImage source, Twitter
Image caption,
The US magazine promoted its March-April edition on Twitter

Playboy magazine has announced it is bringing back nudity, reversing a decision made last year.

The move was announced by Playboy's new chief creative officer Cooper Hefner, who said the decision to remove nudity entirely "was a mistake".

"Today we're taking our identity back and reclaiming who we are," he tweeted.

The US magazine also promoted its March-April edition with a picture of its playmate of the month with the hashtag #NakedIsNormal.

Some social media users welcomed the U-turn, describing it as a "good call", while others said the decision was taken "because the magazines weren't selling too well. Too bad free porn is still easy to access".

On Monday, Mr Hefner wrote: "I'll be the first to admit that the way in which the magazine portrayed nudity was dated.

"Nudity was never the problem because nudity isn't a problem," added the 25-year-old son of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.

Image source, AP
Image caption,
Playboy was founded by Hugh Hefner in 1953

Samir Husni, a journalism professor at the University of Mississippi, said Playboy's ban on nudity had probably alienated more readers than it attracted.

"Playboy and the idea of non-nudity is sort of an oxymoron," he told the Associated Press.

The magazine still had to find a way to appeal to a younger audience in a digital age where nudity has become commonplace, Mr Husni added.

In next month's issue, the magazine will also revive some of its old franchises, including The Playboy Philosophy and Party Jokes.

It also features an essay by actress Scarlett Byrne about the Free the Nipple campaign - a movement that started in the US to change laws around breastfeeding in public and female toplessness.

Byrne writes "about the importance of owning female sexuality and the double standards that still exist between women and men", the magazine says.

However, Playboy will drop the subtitle Entertainment for Men from its covers.

"Playboy will always be a lifestyle brand focused on men's interests, but as gender roles continue to evolve in society, so will we," Mr Hefner said.

Playboy, which was founded in 1953, stopped printing nude photos in March 2016.

Its US owners said at the time that the internet had made nudity outdated, and pornographic magazines were no longer so commercially viable.

Playboy's circulation has dropped from its peak 5.6 million in the 1970s to below 700,000 last year.

However, the magazine's logo showing a rabbit head wearing a bow tie is one of the most recognisable in the world.

The company makes most of its money from licensing it around the world to sell products including toiletries, drinks and jewellery.