Press Council dismisses Royal ‘GILF’ complaint but warns publications over sexualising children

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 11.00.59 AMBauer Media’s New Weekly has been warned over the use of children in sexually-suggestive material after the magazine published a photo of Prince Harry sitting with young African children, with a speech bubble below one of them implying the Queen is a ‘GILF’.

The image appeared in the January 5 issue of New Weekly and depicted the Prince apparently showing children photos on the screen of his camera.

In a speech bubble, Harry tell the kids: “These are the “private” Christmas pics”. A second speech bubble below one of the young boys says “Hot damn! Granny is a GILF’.

GILF is an acronym for ‘Grandmother I’d Like to Fuck’.

Text accompanying the caption read: “Prince Harry is pretty focused on his charity Sentebale – which translates as ‘Touching Tiny Lives’ and provides health care and education for kids – as he visits youngsters in Lesotho.”

Although the Press Council ruled the image did not breach its Standards of Practice, it warned against the use of children in such material.

“The Council considers that the image involved children in a sexual theme, and many readers would consider the material to be inappropriate and offensive for this reason,” the watchdog said in its adjudication.

“The Council notes that if the image had depicted adults in a similar way, the level of offence probably would have been greatly diminished, suggesting greater care needs to be exercised in the treatment of children when publishing such material.”

But it stopped short of upholding the complaint, with the Press Council explaining the caption must be seen in the overall context of the magazine’s content and its readership.  With that in mind, the material “was not so substantially offensive as to breach the Council’s standards”.

In its defence, New Weekly denied the image and caption was offensive or sexualised children and argued that GILF, and others terms like it, were commonly used and not intended to be read sexually. It said such terms carry the connotation that a woman was “pretty”.

The publication added that NW is a celebrity gossip and satirical magazine with its content understood by readers.

It also said the caption appeared in its ‘Week in Pics’ section in which the tone is “silly and fun” and not meant to be taken seriously.

Steve Jones 


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