Pink-cladding: The corporates who use women to cover their sexploitative tracks

Pink-cladding: The strategic placement of women in senior executive roles, used to shield a corporate or organisation from critique for participating in practices which harm women and girls.

We have recently observed a growing trend in large companies known for anti-women behaviours to beef up their higher end female workforce - in an apparent attempt to shield themselves from criticism. We've identified it as pink-cladding. And we're calling it out.


Last month, subscription-based content sharing platform OnlyFans - now best known as a porn site - announced the replacement of founder and former CEO Tim Stokely by the firm’s chief marketing and communications officer Amrapali ‘Ami’ Gan. The appointment followed a string of allegations and backlash against OnlyFans for exploiting women and leaving them worse off.

Playboy Group + Honey Birdette

In a similar move, Playboy Group - which now owns Westfield’s resident sex store Honey Birdette and recently launched its own OnlyFans-style platform - last week announced the appointment of a host of new female executives.

Playboy Group CEO Ben Kohn said the “new leaders” - named as President of Global Consumer Goods, Chief Communications Officer and new CEO of Honey Birdette - “will complement our over-80% female workforce, expand our proven executive team, and drive revenue and positioning globally.”

We weren’t surprised to read that one executive will focus on guiding Playboy’s “reputation”. Damage control is vital for a company with an almost-70-year history of sexploitation.

We’ve seen this type of PR spin before. Last year we called out Honey Birdette for trading off its predominantly female workforce and customer base to shield itself from critique of women-harming practices geared ultimately to profit its male owners. We wrote:

Honey Birdette presents itself as a ‘by-women, for-women’ company. But it is another example of men profiting from the exploitation and objectification of women. Granted, the brand has a female face and plenty of women-worn boots (or stilettos) on the ground. This is strategic, though, routinely used by Honey Birdette to spread its Hugh-Hefnerised objectification-equals-empowerment propaganda, shield itself from critique of its exploitative advertising and public relations tactics, and throw the public off the scent of the men who are profiting.

Left: Playboy Group CEO Ben Kohn; Right: Leonid Radvinsky, major stakeholder of Fenix International, OnlyFans owner

Meanwhile, Kohn has big plans to pornify the globe - flogging the porn brand to China’s children, our own youth market, and setting up Centerfold - an online platform to pimp women. Now he can carry on with his pornification and objectification of women for profit behind a shield of female executives to ward off criticisms for his actions.

WAP-artist Cardi B, Creative Director for Playboy's porn platform (Source: Instagram)

Sexploitation investors

Late last year we highlighted the double standards of Playboy Group’s shareholders - household names including Vanguard, BlackRock, Royal Bank of Canada, JP Morgan and CitiGroup. We said it was “impossible to reconcile investment in Playboy Group with corporate claims to care about women, children, community, social responsibility or ethics.”

We have called on these companies to divest from Playboy.

We were interested to learn that JP Morgan recently offloaded 96% of its Playboy Group shares (it held an 8% stake in the global porn empire). We are calling on other investment companies do the same.

Don’t be fooled. Feminising your workforce won’t cover you for building your company on or profiting from the sexualised bodies of women and girls. We - along with our supporters and allies globally - will continue to unmask the companies which think they can hide their lack of Corporate Social Responsibility behind a wall of pink-cladding.

'Over 80% of our sellers are women': Etsy CEO Josh Silverman 'celebrated women' while profiting from women's degradation + eroticised abuse

See also

The House that Hef Built: Hugh Hefner's Dark Legacy - ABC Religion and Ethics'

‘Empowering’, ‘feminist’, ‘breaking boundaries’: our response to WAP claims

Honey Birdette's corporate misogyny and the men who profit'

Etsy 'celebrates women', 'condemns racism' while promoting racialised misogyny + degradation of women

I was forced to act as a sexualised doll': Ex Honey Birdette staff claim culture of sexual harassment

Playboy Kids, ‘Centerfold’ and Honey Birdette: Playboy Group’s latest ventures pornifying the globe

Read more on our 12 years of campaigning against Playboy here.

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  • Lyn Kennedy
    published this page in News 2022-01-21 10:10:04 +1100

You can defend their right to childhood

A world free of sexploitation is possible!

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