Tennis Pro Harkleroad Poses for Playboy; Reuters Hails 'Glamorous Coup'

When did posing for a porn magazine become a “glamorous coup” for a young woman, and when did Playboy become a “glamour magazine?”

Those are the terms Reuters reporter Miles Evans used in his May 25 story about tennis player Ashley Harkleroad, a “woman from smalltown Georgia,” posing naked in Playboy magazine.  Evans also quoted Harkleroad characterizing the photo shoot as a “refreshing change” to the monotony of the professional tennis tour.

Evans failed to provide balance by including comments by critics of pornography. 

While recovering from surgery, Harkleroad accepted an offer to pose nude for Playboy, which Reuters described as “the world's most famous glamour magazine.”  Evans quotes Harkleroad saying, “I thought, well, 'I'm not really doing anything right now,' so I thought about it and it was something that I did.  I'm proud of my body.  I was representing a female athlete's body.”

Evans goes on to note that tennis star Serena Williams was “full of admiration” for Harkleroad's decision.  “I'm just surprised that she beat me to it.”

Evans quotes Williams praising Harkleroad for being “courageous and tough,” and Playboy founder Hugh Hefner for being a “great businessman.”

Julia Seward is an intern at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.