“I love women and I don’t think it’s demeaning for a woman to pose nude. They’re living statues, the way Playboy poses them,” said Ted Edwards.
But the 32-year-old program director for KGB radio in San Diego is not so generous about showing off his own body. He didn’t take his clothes off when Playgirl photographers asked him to pose for their February pictorial on men in broadcasting.
His reason, Edwards says candidly, is his career.
“I am a management person and I don’t want my genitalia showing. Private parts are very private.”
He can’t articulate his misgivings exactly. There’s just something about American culture that says that it is all right for a woman to display her body while it is not all right for a man.
It would make no difference to Edwards if a woman had been in a Playboy pictorial and then came to him for a job, he says. It would never be a deciding factor for him in hiring or firing, he said, and she would be judged solely on her ability to perform her job.
But, he conceded, it might be such a factor to somebody else. And it would definitely collide with his own beliefs about male nudity.
“It’s the kind of thing that can follow you. In some absurd sense, I suppose it would be the same thing if I posed for Playgirl as with Madonna and the way her pictures caught up with her.”
“They’re claiming job performance and bad publicity,” said 25-year-old Lisa Hammond, who lost her job as an assistant programmer at Glasgow, Ky., radio station WGGC the same week her picture appeared on the newsstands in Playboy.
“I filed suit the following Saturday in Barron County Circuit Court. Got me two lawyers from Brownsville,” she said. “We’re charging wrongful discharge, libel and slander and interference with business opportunities.”
Hammond laughed as she discussed her firing after her appearance in the “Radio Visions” pictorial in the March issue of Playboy.
She was paid $750 for posing and another $375 to do a week of personal appearances and interviews on behalf of Playboy to promote the pictorial. Since then, she has been asking--and getting--up to $250 a day plus expenses for modeling jobs.
“I’ve done a TV commercial and an indoor truck show and I’ve been in Lexington this past week at a home and gardens show. You just sit in a spa in a swimsuit all day,” she said.
Frederick’s of Hollywood wants her to appear in its catalogue and an ad agency in New York called her to see if she would be interested in posing for a calendar.
Modeling represents a whole new career for her. So why is she suing the management of WGGC?
“Because they can’t do that, you know? They can’t just fire me,” she said.
Three weeks before station owner Clovis Sadler asked her to leave, his son Reggie (who is also the station manager) gave Hammond a 10-cent-an-hour raise.
“It wasn’t much, but it was the first raise I’d gotten since I started there 18 months ago,” she said.
(One of her attorneys, Natty Bumppo, said that she had earned the minimum wage of $3.35 an hour until she received the 10-cent-an-hour raise.)
Reggie originally encouraged her to try out for the Playboy pictorial. When Playboy flew her to Chicago for her modeling session, Sadler gave her the day off and wished her luck.
When she showed up in the magazine, however, everything changed.
“I got fan mail, flowers, candy, marriage proposals,” Hammond said. “Then I started getting these phone calls from all over the United States! People were mailing me their magazines and asking me to autograph them and stuff. So Clovis said, ‘Here’s two weeks pay. You’re free to leave.’ ”
No date has been set for hearing in her case. Her attorneys, Gary Longsdon and Bumppo, are still taking depositions, she said.
“They took it on a 40/60 split,” she said. “I get 60% of whatever we collect and they get 40%. They aren’t charging me anything. They took it for free because they said it’s a high-publicity case.”
Bumppo affirmed that it is indeed a high-publicity case, calling it “the biggest thing to happen in Glasgow County in years.” He said that as a matter of policy he refuses to discuss client’s fee arrangements, deferring to Hammond on that point.
Last Wednesday, Bumppo and Longsdon sued the Glasgow Daily Times on Hammond’s behalf for $300,000 in damages, alleging that the newspaper’s letters to the editor, following a profile the newspaper published about her, accused Hammond of being “lewd.”
“You wouldn’t believe how this thing has stirred up a hornet’s nest here in the Bible Belt,” Bumppo told The Times.
Despite the pitched battle with her former employer, Hammond says she is doing as well or better financially than she ever did at the station.
“I’m modeling now, can you believe it? I’m real tiny--only 5 feet 4 and 107 pounds. I always thought I was too small to do it.”
Recently, Hammond was invited to act as judge of a local contest to see who had the best legs in the county.
Still, she said, eventually she’d like her Old job back.
Pasadena’s KROQ-FM evening deejay April Whitney had the typical reason for appearing in the March issue of Playboy magazine. She wants to become a star.
“People say, ‘Do you feel degraded?’ ” the 25-year-old Whitney told The Times. “I’ve never been so flattered and made to feel so talented in my life! I think the guys who say it’s degrading are the ones wearing the drool buckets.”
Several weeks ago, Whitney even threw a promotional party on behalf of Playboy at the San Fernando Valley nitery Fantasia. It was both a show of gratitude to the magazine for her Playboy appearance and one more opportunity for her to expand her notoriety in the entertainment community so that some casting director or talent scout will test her for TV or a major motion picture. Maybe even a minor one.
“If I get some attention from the acting community, that’s all I wanted out of it. I did an Equity Waiver play last year in Studio City,” she said. “It was called ‘Is Nudity Required?’ It wasn’t, incidentally.”
Whitney is quick to point out that nudity wasn’t required in her Playboy pose either.
“I did not pose naked because I wanted my mom to be proud,” she said, adding with some pride: “I showed the least of any of the other girls in the pictorial and I think it’s a real clear expression of who I am.”
That the most readers could ogle was her breasts, sheathed by a see-through blouse, is a point of honor to Whitney. Like the other 16 women, Whitney was offered more money by Playboy if she would only take it all off.
But she wouldn’t because to do so might somehow taint her standing among serious actors and actresses.
“To do any more than what I did, I would have had to have had more than a pictorial contract,” she said. “I would have to have artistic say, more money and they would have had to have written a lot more about me--about who I am and what I do.”
What Whitney does is a four-hour nightly stint on KROQ. What the Playboy exposure offered her was notoriety, opportunity, fame. National exposure.
“I had a career before and I have a career after. That’s why Playboy pursued me for it, as opposed to me being just another girl who is looking for a break and takes her body to Playboy.
“Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But it’s not all right for me. I wanted to have personality first.”
KMET deejay Frazer Smith wanted his personality showing too, but nothing more than that.
He was emceeing a beauty contest last November at Igby’s, a West Los Angeles comedy club, when Playgirl Editor Tommi Lewis asked him to pose for her magazine.
“Does taking your clothes off do you any good? I don’t know. I think you run the risk as a guy, I think, of being sleazy,” Smith said.
That’s at least one of the reasons why he didn’t take off a stitch for Playgirl’s “America’s Favorite Deejays” pictorial. The 32-year-old Smith was one of 12 male deejays who appeared in Playgirl. But, unlike the 17 women broadcasters who posed in the March issue of Playboy, neither Smith nor any of his peers removed anything more provocative than their T-shirts.
They were paid a flat $100 apiece for their efforts. They were not chauffeured anywhere, as was KMGG newscaster Joni Caryl whose pictures did not ultimately make the “Radio Visions” pictorial. They were not put up at posh hotels as was Erin Clark, who stayed at Le Parc Hotel in West Los Angeles, all expenses paid, before her shoot.
They were not coaxed in any way to show off any more skin than they wanted to, Lewis said.
“Tommi told us up front she didn’t want us to take our pants off,” said Smith. “I guess with women it’s OK. But with guys it’s like you’re showing off.”
It is also more risky for a man, Smith said.
“I got a call from my lawyer saying ‘Fraze, please don’t try ruining your career again!’ ” he joked. “But at this point, exposure of any kind is positive--if it’s done right.”
It’s just not the same with a woman, Smith contended. So, perhaps the double standard is alive and well on the ages of America’s skin magazines in 1986?
“I wouldn’t know how to comment on anything like that,” Smith said. “I really don’t know about the Playboy thing, except to say that I keep a copy of it under my bed at all times.”
For the last 11 years, Norma Cox and her peers have been doing their best to counteract publications like Playboy by giving annual media awards honoring media that portray women’s career achievements and not just their appearances.
“I think the strides that women are trying to make in broadcasting are in the upper management levels,” said Cox, president of American Women in Radio and Television. “Most of these women in Playboy aren’t interested in that.”
There are those who see the “Radio Visions” pictorial as a giant step backward for women in the broadcasting industry, but Cox isn’t one of them.
“In terms of disc jockeys, they probably go from one station to another anyway,” Cox said. “Perhaps somebody will tune in to listen to them if they saw them in Playboy, but they’re not going to keep listening if they’re not any good.”
On the other hand, if the Playboy deejays do aspire to middle or upper management, Cox says she believes they have made a grievous error in posing au naturel.
“Men are more comfortable hiring men. Until you have women in a position to hire other women, men are going to find reasons not to (hire women),” she said. “I think the only damage being done by Playboy though is being done to those women who appear in Playboy.”
And Playgirl’s pictorial of men?
“I just don’t see either one as any kind of a broad statement about broadcasting,” she said.
Pausing a moment, she added:
“But I will say that I doubt that we’ll be giving any of our achievement awards out to Playboy this year.”
Across town from KGB where Ted Edwards works, Janne Anderson is office manager of San Diego rock station XTRA-FM, known locally as 91X-FM . She says she has no regrets about baring her bottom for Playboy, but she is also rejecting most requests for interviews.
“It was a blast and I don’t think it will affect my career, but I’m not doing interviews,” she said. “It was a personal decision of both station management and myself to keep it low key.”
Unlike KFSD and KROQ, which are cashing in on the publicity generated by their employees’ nudity, 91X is maintaining a low profile, Anderson said. Local TV stations and newspapers that wanted Anderson on camera shortly after Playboy hit the newsstands were disappointed.
Part of the reason Anderson gives for her decision was that she was promoted from the station sales staff to office manager just before the pictorial was published. The “blast” she had posing nude last summer does not now seem to have been such a prudent career decision.
It is not as if they were not cautioned ahead of time, though.
“I always constantly impress on them that whatever notoriety they think they’re going to receive as a result of the magazine, they can probably double or triple it,” Playboy’s senior photo editor Jeff Cohen said. “I’m quite straightforward with these young ladies.”