Many people have condemned Playboy this week for its decision to feature a young gay man dressed in the magazine’s iconic sexy bunny outfit on its most recent digital cover.
Playboy, one of the most recognized pornographic magazines in the world, featured Bretman Rock on the cover of its latest issue. Described as an “iconic influencer and social media personality,” the Filipino American Rock is not the first male to wear the bunny costume or appear on the cover, but he is the first gay man to do so.
The Playboy bunny outfit includes satin bunny ears, a black bowtie, a low-cut leotard-style suit and a bunny tail. Tights and various types of footwear frequently accompany the costume. In Rock’s case, he wore tights in the cover photo while donning tight pants and high-heeled boots for the extended photoshoot.
In several of the additional pictures taken as part of his photoshoot, Rock posed shirtless, without the suit. Rock shared pictures from the photoshoot on his Instagram page, where he has nearly 18 million followers.
The magazine shared Rock’s reaction to appearing on the cover on its Twitter account: “For Playboy to have a male on the cover is a huge deal for the LGBT community, for my brown people community and it’s all so surreal. A total ‘is this even f******g happening right now?’ type of vibe. And I’m so pretty.”
Several Christians criticized Rock’s inclusion on the cover of Playboy, highlighting it as the latest example of a coarse popular culture that celebrates sexual degeneracy in all forms. In his syndicated op-ed published in The Christian Post, Michael Brown cited Rock’s appearance on the cover of Playboy as a crystallization of the magazine’s “moral degeneration” over the course of its nearly 70-year history “from lewdness to perversion.”
Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute, a global interfaith coalition committed to upholding and promoting the “ancient Christian teachings about marriage, family, and human sexuality” and ministering to those negatively affected by the sexual revolution, shared her concerns about Rock’s appearance on the cover of Playboy in an interview with CP, saying, “Playboy has gone from degrading women to erasing women. Playboy Mexico had a man who says he’s a woman on the cover last year.”
“Now they have a self-described gay man on the cover. Evidently, men are better at being a woman than a woman is,” she quipped.
“This cover blurs the boundary between male and female,” she added. “I suspect they think they are defying the ‘gender binary’ as the radicals like to call the differences between male and female.”
Morse told CP that the Playboy cover proves that “the Sexual Revolution really is a unified ideology.”
She added: “People initially embrace the ideology because it furthers some specific sexual interest or proclivity of their own. But once they’ve embraced the ideology, many people will hang on to every part of it, even the parts that are superficially unrelated.”
Morse asserted that proponents of the sexual revolution see sex as “a sterile recreational activity with no moral or social consequences.”
Brown agreed with Morse’s analysis about the sexual revolution, writing that “the story of Playboy magazine is the story of the sexual revolution, from its first cover featuring Marilyn Monroe in 1953 to its current cover featuring a gay man dressed as a Playboy bunny.”
“Playboy had helped swing the door wide-open, and what followed was a flood of ever-degenerating filth, often at the primary expense of women,” he contended. Brown suggested that a desire to push back on the narrative that it was “behind the times” and “not lewd enough,” “not racy enough” and “not pushing the boundaries enough” motivated Playboy’s decision to feature a gay man on the cover.
Brown expressed hope that the American people, including Rock, will “learn to celebrate a healthy sexuality, within the bonds of marriage, one man and one woman together for life, as intended by God.”
In a Twitter thread posted Monday, Playboy lamented that it had received “far too many negative comments” in response to releasing its “first-ever cover with an openly gay model.” The magazine likened such criticism to “the same kind of comments Playboy received when we put Darine Stern, an African American woman on the cover in 1971, [and] when we featured transgender model Tula Cossey in 1991.”
“Standing for freedom and equality is in the DNA of this brand. Today, Playboy is much more than a magazine. Our digital covers are creative snapshots that drive and reflect the current dialogue around pleasure, sexuality, equality and culture.”
The Twitter thread went on to ask “If a gay man feels sexy in a bunny costume, an iconic symbol of sexiness, why shouldn’t he [be] able to wear it proudly?” The magazine vowed that “serving as a platform for representation and freedom of expansion is and will always be what Playboy stands for.”
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org