The Risqué Italian Magazine That J. Paul Getty III Appeared In Has A Controversial History

In the first episode of Trust, John Paul Getty III (Harris Dickinson) comes this close to achieving what the other men in his family have been unable to: Winning the trust of J. Paul Getty (Donald Sutherland), the family patriarch and the richest man in the world. For a second there, John Paul thought he would be able to the money he desperately needed from his grandfather — and possibly even inherit the Getty Oil company as a side bonus. Then, something in 16-year-old Getty's young past emerges, and ruins his chances at his grandfather's money (and love).
Here's the glitch. Back in Rome, John Paul III had posed nude in Playmen Magazine, an Italian equivalent to Playboy. Once Getty discovers the photos, he renounces all previous offers he had made to his grandson.
Like much of Trust, this incident is based in reality. Not long before he was kidnapped, Getty was paid $1,000 to pose nude in Playmen's August 1973 issue. The cover boasts: "Paul Getty Jr. eroe nudo," translating to "naked hero."
Getty, the American wild child of 1960s Rome, was the perfect fit for Playmen's intellectual yet racy vibe. Playmen was founded in 1963 by Adelina Tattilo, a proud feminist and mother of three, for a very simple reason: Playboy, the American magazine founded by Hugh Hefner in 1953, was banned in Italy at the time. Tattilo was uniquely suited to fill the Playboy vacancy in Italy. Prior to launching Playmen, she had published Menelik, a weekly magazine of racy comic books, and Big, a magazine for teenage boys that addressed issues of puberty and sexuality.
Initially, Playmen was modeled off of Playboy — but soon it honed a unique sensibility of its own. Playmen was unique for combining eroticism with art and cultural criticism. In addition to nude photos, the magazines featured fiction (including two unpublished stories by Hemingway), interviews with public figures like director Franco Zeffirelli, poet Allen Ginsberg, and actor John Wayne, and comic strips. Famously, Playmen was also the first magazine to publish photos of Jackie Kennedy Onassis sunbathing topless on the private island of Skorpios in 1972. Hustler published the photos in 1975.
Tattilo and Playmen were credited for bringing conversations about sexuality to the table in a country known, back then, for its conservatism. After all, divorce was banned in Italy until 1970. Though, Playmen wasn't without its controversy. In its early years, Playmen would be removed from magazine shelves by Italian police typically within 48 hours of the magazine's release. Tattilo told People Magazine in 1979 that Playmen was brought up for censorship charges in Italy over 300 times.
In addition to encountering rancor from Italian censors, Playmen also was frequently challenged by Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy. First, Hefner sued Playmen in 1973, for imitation of trademark — Hefner lost. When Tatillo tried to bring an American version of Playmen to the United States, Hefner challenged Playmen again.
Playboy and Penthouse have dominated the market for so many years,” Tattilo told People. “The time has come for a magazine that is subtly different and that also reflects the popularity of Italians in America.” She characterized the magazine as being more journalistic, and more erotic, than Playboy.
Playmen never made it to the United States. Ultimately, Tattilo's once-revolutionary magazine closed in 2001.

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