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Teen Vogue Wasn’t Yanked From Print For Raunch. Condé Nast Is Doubling Down


This article contains a mildly vulgar image and mentions a certain sex practice.

On Thursday, Condé Nast revealed plans to discontinue its print edition of Teen Vogue. The mass media company’s announcement came just one year after Condé Nast, in a cost-cutting move, shrank Teen Vogue’s publication schedule from nine times a year to four.

According to The New York Times, “[t]he election of Mr. Trump breathed new life into the magazine, however, and its aggressive coverage of the president garnered praise from the left. A Teen Vogue article, ‘Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America,’ went viral, and earned the editor of its print edition, Elaine Welteroth, much praise and adoration. Condé Nast relished and helped feed the publicity.”

However, the Gray Lady left unanswered what happened to the merry little breezes Trump-bashing blew into the sails of the junior “fashion” magazine. Over at Aleteia, J.P. Mauro had a pretty good inkling, noting that Condé Nast’s “decision came shortly after publishing an article entitled ‘A Guide to Anal Sex,’ which drew backlash from activists and concerned parents,” and prompted calls for a boycott of Teen Vogue.

Then There Was the Anal Sexcapade

As The Daily Mail reported, Elizabeth Johnson, who runs a blog called “The Activist Mommy,” spearheaded the boycott. Even though the offensive article only appeared in Teen Vogue’s digital edition, Johnson urged parents to “[g]o to your local gas stations, your local libraries, and your local grocery stores and ask to speak to the manager, or preferably the owner, and demand that they remove Teen Vogue from the shelves immediately.”

She also staged a “book” burning, tearing up a print copy of Teen Vogue and tossing it in a bonfire while seething: “These editors’ brains are in the gutter. Now let’s put their sales in the gutter where they belong.” The online video proved a hit, garnering more than 10 million views. Upon hearing that Condé Nast was folding Teen Vogue’s print operations, Johnson again took to the web to declare victory:

I was beyond thrilled to learn today that Teen Vogue magazine will no longer be in print. The publisher, Condé Nast, has shuttered the print publication, while other Condé Nast publications will remain in print. Operation Pull Teen Vogue was a grassroots campaign by concerned parents who don’t believe anal sex and sex toys should be peddled to their children under the guise of a fashion magazine. Teen Vogue editors Elaine Welteroth and Phillip Picardi ignored our concerns and mocked our campaign, but we gave them a black eye from which they never recovered. Let the watching world take note: If you pander obscenity to our kids, especially for a profit, we will destroy you.

But The Activist Mommy and others celebrating Teen Vogue’s print demise are wrong to believe good sense and decency prevailed. The boycott-induced decline in subscriptions may have accelerated Condé Nast’s decision to drop the print edition, but the move to digital remained inevitable. As Bob Sauerberg, Condé Nast’s chief executive, told the Wall Street Journal, “We’re cutting the print edition because the audience is resonating digitally.”

Thus, while parents may rejoice in the news that Teen Vogue, the magazine, is no more, they need to remember that the digital Teen Vogue brand—where Condé Nast actually published “A Guide to Anal Sex”—remains an online presence. And there is no reason to believe that Condé Nast regrets its decision to publish the anal-sex primer. Quite the contrary, in fact.

Doubling Down on Feeding Kids Smut

Here’s The New York Times again: “Teen Vogue’s shift to its new identity as an online entity represents a vote of confidence by Condé Nast executives in the title’s digital editorial director, Phillip Picardi, 26. Mr. Picardi, who is also the digital editorial director of Allure, is credited within the company for the title’s recent digital growth. Last week, he introduced a site devoted to LGBTQ issues, ‘them,’ which Condé Nast hopes to use as a template for creating more, lower-cost, digital-only titles.”

As The Activist Mommy noted, Picardi ignored and mocked parents’ concerns over Teen Vogue’s “A Guide to Anal Sex.” Instead, he blamed criticism on “homophobia” and “an arcane delusion about what it means to be a young person today.”

Condé Nast not only kept Picardi at the helm of the digital version of Teen Vogue, it doubled down on the deviancy by awarding Picardi editorial oversight of its newest digital venture. Condé Nast’s decision to expand Picardi’s online influence shows parents that the digital publisher views their concerns over the anal sex tutorial the same way Picardi did.