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Time Inc. Staffer Complains About SI Swimsuit Issue: ‘My Company Made Me Look at Porn’

Magazine distributed to employees—some face down.


Dylan Stableford By Dylan Stableford
02/13/2008 -23:02 PM






Every year around this time, when Sports Illustrated unveils its annual swimsuit issue, columns criticizing the issue for its titillating content seem to wash up on shore. (Recall, if you will, the thongs, er, throngs of subscribers opting out of having their swimsuit issues delivered to their homes for fear of impressionable youngsters getting ahold of them.)

However, they’re usually not written by employees of SI’s parent company. And they’re certainly not published on one of the parent company’s blogs, like this one on Time.com:

The [swimsuit] issues are considered so valuable that they're not even distributed in the bins downstairs; they're doled out, copy by copy, to each employee, like glossy, perfect-bound bonuses. So when I came in this morning, what do I find under my door but a beautifully laid out publication of porn. Who decided I wanted to look at 100-some pages of barely dressed girls with abs made of slate and boobs that defy reason? SI boasts that women cherish the swimsuit issue because it offers us fashion ideas for the bathing season. Seriously? I'm going to don this bikini made of dental floss this summer after I've just popped out Baby #2?

Look. I'm no prude. And it's not the same thing as working in an office whose walls are plastered with pin-ups, like the women workers at Halliburton/KBR had to endure. Still, I'd rather be offered the option of picking up a copy, rather than have it stuffed under my door like some urgent memo. What I want when I step into my office is a cup of tea. Not NFL cheerleaders in thongs.

Some interesting things to note here:

1. According to a commenter, some issues were delivered “face down.”
2. The blogger, Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, is a Time staff writer. She has her own Web site.
3. That wasn’t dental floss, Lisa. That was the chord to a pair of iPod earbuds.
4. Again, this was on Time Inc.-owned blog. Which I think is very refreshing—a corporate environment where having opinions, even those critical of your boss' products, are not only encouraged—they’re published.

Still, you have to wonder where the consistency was here.

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