The Harvard Lampoon, a venerated humor publication whose graduates often become top comedy writers in Hollywood, has apologized for a cartoon featuring Holocaust victim Anne Frank wearing a bikini.
Anne Frank was a Dutch Jewish teenager whose family was forced into hiding when the Nazis occupied the Netherlands. They were ultimately arrested and sent to concentration camps; Anne Frank died in Bergen-Belsen at the age of 15. Her diary survived the war, however, and was later published as The Diary of a Young Girl. The book became an instant classic, and Anne Frank has become one of the Holocaust’s most widely-recognized victims.
In its most recent issue, the Lampoon published a photoshopped image of Anne Frank’s face on the body of a buxom, bikini-clad woman (above), under the headline: “Gone Before Her Time: Virtual Aging Technology Shows Us What Anne Frank Would Have Looked Like if She Hadn’t Died.” A caption below reads: “Add this to your list of reasons the Holocaust sucked.”
Complaints and protests mounted. One Harvard student, Jenny Baker, protested on Facebook — but her post was apparently taken down by Facebook because it included an image of the Lampoon cartoon itself.
In a publicly shared Google Doc, Baker re-posted the cartoon and her protest:
There are so many things wrong with this I actually don’t know where to begin.
1. Holocaust jokes? Never okay.
2. Sexualizing a young girl’s body? Never okay.
3. Sexualizing ANNE FRANK and saying it is a shame she was ruthlessly murdered because of her religion because she would have been hot? So unbelievably not okay.
In a statement published on its website Tuesday evening, the Lampoon said:
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. 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 anti-Semitism.
Moving forward, we will approach the content of our magazine with greater care.
The magazine also promised to change its editorial review process.
In 2015, the Lampoon pranked then-candidate Donald Trump by pretending to be the editorial staff of the Harvard Crimson, the daily student newspaper, and endorsing him for president. He posed for photographs with the group.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.