The Harvard Lampoon has apologized for printing a sexualized image of Anne Frank in its latest issue, insisting that it denounces “all forms” of anti-Semitism.
The image was published over the weekend, and the student-run magazine only apologized after an uproar from those who said there was nothing funny about trivializing the Holocaust.
“Gone Before Her Time: Virtual Aging Technology Shows Us What Anne Frank Would Have Looked Life if She Hadn’t Died,” read the text above the badly Photoshopped image. “Add this to your list of reasons the Holocaust sucked.”
The magazine’s co-presidents and issue editor said in a statement that they “realize the extent of offense” the image had inflicted and took responsibility for its publication.
“We as individuals and we as an organization would like to apologize for our negligence in allowing this piece to be created for and printed in our latest issue,” the statement reads. “We are sorry for any harm we have caused. Furthermore, we want to both affirm and emphasize that the Lampoon condemns any and all forms of anti-Semitism.”
Founded in 1876, the magazine – whose illustrious alumnus includes writers John Updike and George Plimpton, as well as late night host Conan O’Brien — will now approach its craft with “greater care” moving forward, according to the statement.
“We realize that our publishing process lacks sufficient editorial oversight, so we are going to restructure our review process for issues to prevent the publication of content like this,” the statement continued. “These steps will be published on our website in the summer. However, they will constitute part of an ongoing process of change.”
A message seeking comment from university officials was not immediately returned early Wednesday.
More than 280 Harvard students have signed a petition denouncing the image, the student-run Harvard Crimson reports. Rabbi Jonah Steinberg, executive director of Harvard Hillel, also emailed the magazine’s editors and compared the photo to the “obscenity of the Nazis” and said sexualized Frank, the German-born Jewish girl who penned a diary of her experience during the Holocaust before dying in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at 15.
“Your depiction of Anne Frank’s face grafted to pinup imagery goes far beyond the distastefulness and provocativeness you obviously intend,” Steinberg wrote. “It is the sexual violation of a child – one who, in life, was subjected to the most hideous of crimes.”
A Lampoon contributor whose initials can be found on the image, Cristobal de Losada Lopez de Romana, did not return a request for comment, the Crimson reports.
The head of the Anti-Defamation League’s New England office, meanwhile, said the likeness simply went too far.
“They crossed the line from humor into anti-Semitism,” Robert Trestan told the Boston Globe. “They’re using humor as an excuse to trivialize the Holocaust, and it’s deeply offensive.”
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