India Blocks Hugh Heffner’s Playboy Expansion

Hugh Heffner may want to expand his Playboy empire into the world’s second most populous country, but conservative politicians in India have decided that now is not the time.

PB Lifestyle is the Indian firm with rights to the Playboy brand. NPR reports that the firm intended to make the southwestern state of Goa the first of eight to be constructed over the next three years, and the first of 120 over the course of the next decade.

“Playboy club will erode the culture and morality in Goa.” Hindu Janajagruti Samiti state spokesperson Manoj Solanki said in the Times of India.

Some politicians complained that the club would promote prostitution. Another threatened to go on a hunger strike if the club was allowed to open on Candolim Beach. The beach is a popular destination for many foreign travelers.

In the end, the club was rejected on a technicality.

“The Playboy club’s application for setting up the facility in beach shack would be rejected as shack licences are usually given to individuals and not to the companies,” Goa’s Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told the state assembly.

International Business Times reports that the state of Goa is dominated by the right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. The party has long campaigned against so-called “vulgar” and “corrupt” Western influences.

“Playboy does nothing but lower the dignity of women,” BJP lawmaker Michael Lobo told local reporters.

Despite the attempts at expansion, Playboy magazine and other Western adult magazines are illegal in India under existing obscenity laws.

“It treats them as commodities, and the basic concept of Playboy is the entertainment of men by seminaked women,” Lobo said. “We don’t want this here.”

Nevertheless, Hugh Heffner is accustomed to getting what he wants. Playboy India’s website continues to report that clubs are coming to India.

[Image by [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons]