Bad Critic, bad

by / February 27, 2006

The 2005 Offensive Issue of Critic has been banned, after the Office of Film and Literature Classification found it to be objectionable.

The Office says it has banned the publication, which caused widespread controversy upon publication, because it tends to promote sexual violence and criminal activity and is “injurious to the public good”.

Hastings referred Issue 23 of the magazine to the Office’s classifications board last September, after the Office received several submissions against the publication, including one from the New Zealand Police.

The submissions focused on a feature article entitled “Diary of Drug Rapist”, that detailed the fictional exploits of a sexual predator and caused a media frenzy when it was first published. Last year Otago University Assistant Proctor Andy Ferguson (then-Campus Cop) described the article as “basically Date Rape 101”, and the police submission focused on what they saw as the prescriptive nature of the article.

Hastings condemned the article, saying that it “asks the reader to find humour in its demeaning descriptions of women and its matter-of-fact references to raping them”.

Other submissions, particularly that from the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards, also focused on an interview with American pornographer Max Hardcore and a list of “Critic’s top ten people who should just fuck off”.

In a submission defending the magazine, Critic’s publishers, Planet Media Limited, argued that the article was not written as a “how-to” guide for would-be rapists, but rather as a warning to potential victims of drug rape.

Current Critic Editor John Ong did not want to comment on the Censor’s findings, other than saying that the company “is reviewing its legal options”.

Mouldering copies of the publication in student flats all over Dunedin could also land their owners in trouble if discovered by police. The penalty for an individual being in possession of an objectionable publication “without lawful authority or excuse” is a fine of $2,000.

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