The editors of the Harvard Lampoon have apologized for an image of Anne Frank’s face that was edited onto the body of a woman wearing a bikini.
“Gone Before Her Time: Virtual Aging Technology Shows Us What Anne Frank Would Have Looked Like if She Hadn’t Died,” a headline above the image in the school’s humor magazine read.
“Add this to your list of reasons the Holocaust sucked,” was written below.
The image, which simultaneously sexualized both a Holocaust victim and a 15-year-old girl, received widespread condemnation from Harvard students and members of the community.
“To suggest that the worth of Anne Frank’s life is tied to the appearance of her body rather than her bravery and resilience is exceptionally demeaning,” wrote student Jenny Baker in a letter she posted on Facebook.
In a widely shared Facebook post, student Paulette Schuster called the image “unfunny, hateful, ignorant, pedophiliac, and dehumanizing.”
“Just last week, people around the globe mourned the loss of the millions of people murdered in the ethnic cleansing of the Holocaust,” Schuster added. “I took a moment to reflect on how my grandfather and his family lost everything short of their lives, knowing many others were not that lucky.”
According to the Harvard Crimson, Hillel director Rabbi Jonah C. Steinberg emailed the magazine’s editors, comparing the image “to the obscenity of the Nazis.”
“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,” Steinberg wrote.
More than 300 people have signed a petition to “demand public accountability” from the 143-year-old student magazine, which boasts alumni including John Updike, William Randolph Hearst, Conan O’Brien, and Colin Jost.
“This incident is directly connected to a entrenched culture of racism, misogyny, elitism, and hazing that has defined the Lampoon in recent years,” the petition states.
The petition claims the most recent Harvard Lampoon issue “also trivializes suicide, 9/11, and school shootings,” and that staff undergo extreme hazing and use racist, sexist, and homophobic slurs.
“Its sexist and racist culture discourages women and minorities from entering comedy, exacerbating an already-pressing diversity problem within the field,” the petition states.
In a statement on the Lampoon’s website, its editors apologized for the image and said the magazine “condemns any and all forms of anti-Semitism.”
The editors promised to “restructure our review process for issues to prevent the publication of content like this” and “come up with a series of further steps to improve our publication and organization as a whole.”
“We realize the extent of offense we have inflicted and understand that we must take responsibility for our actions,” the editors said.