Cambridge, MA – The Harvard Lampoon apologized this week for publishing a sexualized image of Anne Frank that depicted her face on the body of a bikini-clad woman.
The offensive image, which appeared in Sunday’s edition, was accompanied by the headline, “Gone Before Her Time: Virtual Aging Technology Shows Us What Anne Frank Would Have Looked Like if She Hadn’t Died.” Text below it read, “Add this to your list of reasons the Holocaust sucked.”
It immediately set off an uproar on Harvard’s campus, with students and faculty members demanding accountability at The Lampoon, an independent satirical publication run by students. Established in 1876, the magazine has been the training ground for some of America’s most respected comedians and inspired the national humor magazine National Lampoon.
A Change.org petition calling for individual apologies from those responsible, a public report on what happened and other steps to overhaul decision-making at the magazine had gathered more than 350 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon.
Paulette Schuster, a Harvard junior who does not contribute to The Lampoon, said in an interview that she learned of the image in a text from her roommate. “I didn’t think it was real,” she said. “I didn’t think someone had the thought process to put that in the comedy magazine.”
The magazine was quickly pulled from distribution points around campus, Ms. Schuster said.
Another junior at Harvard, Jacob Schwartz, was similarly upset by the magazine’s actions. He said he wanted The Lampoon’s staff to receive a crash course in history by going to a Holocaust museum and by meeting with survivors of the genocide. “The issue in general is to use this as education and awareness of the Holocaust,” he suggested.
On Tuesday, the magazine issued a public apology. “We realize the extent of offense we have inflicted and understand that we must take responsibility for our actions,” it said in a statement. “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. 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 antisemitism.”
The Lampoon also promised to “restructure” its review process to “prevent the publication of content like this.”
Attempts to reach The Lampoon on Wednesday were unsuccessful.
Aaron M. Goldman, a Harvard spokesman, said on Wednesday: “The cartoon which appeared in a recent edition of The Harvard Lampoon denigrating the memory and legacy of Anne Frank was deeply offensive and insulting. It is not aligned with the values that Harvard College works tirelessly to promote, and we have already begun discussions with the students and organization involved to ensure that appropriate action is taken.”