FHM publish topless photo of a fourteen year old girl
Posted by charliegrrl on September 17, 2007
I’m sure most of you will have read that FHM published a topless photo of a fourteen year old girl in their April 2007 edition. The photo was taken by her boyfriend and sent to the magazine without her consent. FHM couldn’t be bothered to take it seriously, and came up with the unbelievable excuse that she didn’t look 14 and that they get thousands of photos of every week, and they can’t check them all.
Well, isn’t that kinda the point? FHM along with all the other lads mags, get thousands of photos of young women/girls every week- but how do they prevent photos of underage girls slipping through the net..? The answer is they don’t. They don’t ID these girls who they publish half-naked. They get photos sent to them via post, email and mobile phone…but they don’t ID these girls. They don’t come with a photocopy of their passport or drivers licence, or in deed a signed declaration that the young woman consents to the photo being published.
Now if a fourteen year old girl tries to buy herself an alcoholic drink in a bar, she would most likely get asked ID, cos most likely she looks under 21. But if she sends topless photos of herself to a lads mag, she won’t get asked ID. If the bar got caught serving her alcohol, they would be prosecuted. Saying she looks over 18 wouldn’t work, cos the law requires proof of age before serving her. So how is it that lads mags can just get away with assuming a young woman is over 18, just by looking at her photo? So you need ID to get served alcohol, but no ID to pose topless. It’s seriously fucked up.
I for one think FHM should be prosecuted, and there should be action taken against other lads mags to prevent this happening again. If the average man had in his possession a topless photo of a fourteen year old, he would be prosecuted. Why should FHM get away with it? They could argue that they did not know she was fourteen, but the alcohol industry wouldn’t get away with this excuse, nor should they. FHM did not have in place measures to prevent photos of under 18 year old girls from being published in the magazine. It is an offence under The Protection of Children’s Act 1978, to distribute indecent photos of a child. It is an offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, to publish a sexualised photo of a person without their consent.
FHM publishing a topless photo of a fourteen year old girl is by no way an isolated incident. It is easy for an underage girl to make herself a profile on the Nuts and Zoo messageboards, and upload topless photos of herself. They don’t even have to lie about their age, they can register as 14 years old. Go onto the Myspaces of lads mags, and browse through their ‘friends’. You will find many girls under 18 posing seductively, and underage girls who actively message lads mags saying they want to pose for them. Do they screen these girls? No. It doesn’t bother them that underage girls are desperate to pose for lads mags. They couldn’t impose all the measures needed to ensure every woman featured in lads mags was over 18…because they would crumble. They wouldn’t be able to get away with most of their features in their magazines. Lads mags would lose the steady influx of free photos sent via post, email or mobile that they rely on. The way it is now, when you read a lads mags, you have no idea if all women you are looking at are over 18. If they did their job properly in line with the law and child protection, they would have to verify each photo on age and consent, and they wouldn’t be able to sustainably do this.
I think if you look under 21 and have to show proof of age to buy alcohol, then you should have to show proof of age to pose topless for lads mags. Makes sense.
Please complain to your MP and demand that lads mags should ID girls and have their consent before publishing their photos. Or specifically Harriet Harmen, Diane Abbott and Claire Curtis-Thomas.
Please lodge a complaint with the local police station to the FHM office.
10, Lambs Conduit St, London, WC1N 3NR