Odds are The Harvard Lampoon, Harvard University’s undergrad humor magazine, has made fun of you without your ever even knowing it.
However, they may have gone too far this time with a “joke” about Holocaust victim and the most famous diarist in the world Anne Frank.
The magazine, based out of Harvard’s campus and boasting alumni like William Randolph Hearst, Conan O’Brien and Colin Jost, recently released an issue featuring Anne Frank photoshopped onto a mature woman’s bikini body. This was done presumably to mock her death at such a young age.
It was not received well, as evidenced by this Facebook post:
Paulette Schuster, the poster and student, went on to say:
“I’m appalled that such an unfunny, hateful, ignorant, pedophiliac, and dehumanizing image could be published…
…For an organization that is apparently trying to be more inclusive, you are failing miserably.”
Once the image went viral, people were quick to offer their opinions on what they considered a vile piece:
It was received so poorly a petition was launched to hold the publication accountable and forced the Anti-Defamation League to voice their displeasure:
Nothing funny about @Harvard @harvardlampoon publishing vulgar, offensive & sexualized Anne Frank meme that denigrates her memory & millions of #Holocaust victims. Trivializing #genocide plays into the hands of #antisemites & Holocaust deniers. Immediate apology needed.— ADL New England (@ADL_NewEngland) May 13, 2019
Rabbi Jonah C. Steinberg, the executive director of Harvard Hillel, felt it necessary to send an e-mail to the Lampoon’s editors, saying:
“Your depiction of Anne Frank’s face grafted to pinup imagery goes far beyond the distastefulness and provocativeness you obviously intend.”
“It is the sexual violation of a child – one who, in life, was subjected to the most hideous of crimes.”
The Lampoon released a statement on their website accepting blame and admitting it was in poor judgment, saying:
“In the past few days, the Lampoon has heard from many whom we hurt with content from the latest issue of our magazine, specifically a Photoshopped image of Anne Frank. We realize the extent of offense we have inflicted and understand that we must take responsibility for our actions.
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…Furthermore, we want to both affirm and emphasize that the Lampoon condemns any and all forms of anti-Semitism.
Moving forward, we will approach the content of our magazine with greater care…
…In the coming weeks, based on conversations with the Office of Diversity Education & Support, our Graduate Board, advisors, and our peers, we are going to come up with a series of further steps to improve our publication and organization as a whole.”