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Playboy magazine, the iconic title for heterosexual men, has caused much disquiet among some of its more fragile straight, male readers by featuring a gay man as its cover star for the first time in its 66 year history. 

The cover of the jazz mag’s digital edition (there hasn’t been a print version since last year) features 23 year old beauty influencer Bretman Rock in the traditional Playboy costume of corset and bunny ears. It is only the third time that a man has flown solo on the cover following in the footsteps of sleazy founder Hugh Hefner and, more recently, a Puerto Rican rapper who we’ve never heard of called Bad Bunny. 

“I’m so pretty”.

Rock said: “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 fucking happening right now?’ type of vibe. And I’m so pretty.”

While the news of Rock’s gig caused many in his fanbase to take to social media to express their joy, some of the magazine’s more traditional readers were predictably critical of the move. 

One reader commented, “Got nothing against this dude but couldn’t they just revive Playgirl and had him debut on the cover for that since target audience for Playboy is straight dudes who prob won’t take too kindly to seeing a man on the cover of Playboy.”

Poor love.

Badass empowerment.

Another frothed, “There are appropriate magazines for this homie to be featured. You guys have gone left! I’m out Playboy, I’ve been a fan since the early 90s. I’m not anti gay or trans or anything, this is just nonsense!”

One reader appeared to reference the traditional heterosexual make pastime of wanking over images of pretty young women with no clothes on, saying “So, a magazine aimed at men that profited off the obvious thing men did with those magazines tries to appeal to its customer base by using a model that will appeal to a small minority of that customer base? Like uhm… your publicity department ok?”

Playboy’s PR people were having none of it, with a spokesperson saying, “Bunnies like wearing it for different reasons, some see it as playful and nostalgic; others see it as badass empowerment. We don’t need to define it for them.”

We’re not sure about how “empowering” it must have been for young women to totter around the world’s various Playboy clubs dressed like semi-nude rabbits for the delectation of horny, middle-aged straight men or, for that matter, to be reduced to wank fodder in the now defunct print magazine, but we’ll let it go for now.

Hugely empowering: the original “bunnies”.

Still, each to their own and, if you want to see more of the Playboy shoot, click here.

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Rob Harkavy

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