04
Jun
08

Europe’s largest-circulation newspaper runs photo of naked 13-year-old

It always bugs me how many hits I get on this blog from knuckle-draggers and mouth-breathers looking for kiddie porn, naked 10-year-olds and similar illegal content.

It’s a Google phenomenon, I guess. If you’ve built up a collection of posts with completely unrelated tags or words in the title that add up to a string of words one of these losers is typing in, Bang! Someone looking for naked kids comes to your blog.

But they wouldn’t even have had to have gone online had they been lurking around German newspaper stands on August 3, 2003. That was the day that Bild, Europe’s largest-circulation newspaper and world’s fifth-largest, ran a photo of a naked 13-year-old girl.

An excerpt from the Spiegel online article which translates what Bild wrote as a caption:

Hotsy-Botsy, this summer is becoming a catwalk for naked children.** The sun is stroking our beautiful women in their birthday suits more beautifully than ever before. Melanie from Leipzig, too, just can’t keep her clothes on in this heat. Do your clothes slip off in this desert heat, too? BILD is seeking the hottest summer girl. Send us your beat the heat photos.

The editors give a gosh-we-didn’t-know-she-was-underage excuse, which is funny because as the excellent Bildblog points out – in German – Melanie’s write-up that day was the only one in the series which didn’t mention her age.

I guess given the tabloid’s reputation for getting it wrong willfully or through incompetence it would be asking way too much to expect Bild’s editors to adhere to one of the guiding principles of journalism: when in doubt, leave it out.

But like the old line, Never let the truth get in the way of a good story, here they must have been saying Who cares? As long as our sales aren’t the only things that are firm.

© 2008 lettershometoyou

**Literal translation of the German Nackedei, which you call kids as they run around naked.


29 Responses to “Europe’s largest-circulation newspaper runs photo of naked 13-year-old”


  1. June 4, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    AH…the Bild….

    Back in the day I wanted to be a journalist.

    I got an internship at Bild Hamburg and went home crying EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. to my very proud father who thought that I landed the best internship ever….

    I did become a reporter, but damn, took me a few years to get over the tabloid shock…so, I am so not surprised they ran that photo.

  2. June 4, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    Ulli – thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment! :-)
    Congratulations on having survived your Bild internship. Were you around when they printed that story about the Fall Josef – the boy who was supposedly drowned in a pool by neo-nazis?

    I am curious about you: are you a sports reporter for the German market? Your blog is very sports-oriented, or are you just a huge fan?

  3. 3 southern girl
    June 5, 2008 at 1:05 am

    Well written. I think I will go throw up now.

  4. June 5, 2008 at 1:36 am

    Hey!

    I remember Fall Josef, but only from reading it online. It’s been a while that I worked there, sobbing and all. :)

    I don’t work as a reporter anymore, unfortunately. My blog is my little personal outlet for writing. The idea used to be that it’s a way for family and friends to keep up with the German Girl in America, but now I have a few hundred people stop by.

    It’s been a bit sports heavy as of late….Boston is pretty much sports insanity central and right now the Basketball Team is in the NBA Finals…very exciting and last night was my first Red Sox Baseball game EVER….usually I write about my dog, my neighborhood, myself, my friends and my adventures in dating. Sigh.

    What brings you to Hamburg? My hometown is L√ľneburg by the way!

    I love your hometown! We take visitors from out of town there because it’s so pretty and has such a great atmosphere.
    I am in Hamburg because I met a German in Hong Kong, married her, and decided to see what her side of life is like. So far – 11 years now – it’s pretty fine.

  5. 5 nearlynormalized
    June 5, 2008 at 2:36 am

    “Dumb Dick” is just that…

  6. June 5, 2008 at 5:47 am

    YIKES! I thought this was going to be about that Australian art photographer, who’s also done a naked 13-year-old girl. But that shot was not salacious; it was spiritually provocative and unsettling.

    Wasn’t that the same excuse Roman Polanski used? “I didn’t know she was 13?”

  7. June 5, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    I couldn’t believe it when I read that article in Spiegel. Bild is such a piece of trash. I’m sure they knew how old she was, like you note, she was the only person whose age they didn’t display.

  8. June 6, 2008 at 8:45 am

    There was a similar controversy with a Blind Faith album issued in 1969 (a topless 13 year old) – the album cover was banned for a while but reinstated some years later. You can see the cover in Amazon:

    http://tinyurl.com/6nej33

    Technically under 18 nudity is not illegal – there’s also the film Pretty Baby with Brooke Shields, for example, but it all must occur with parental consent. My understanding is the definition for child pornography is sexual interaction.

    Then there are the photographs that Lewis Carroll took…

  9. June 6, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Hi Indie,

    I remember that Blind Faith album cover.

    But in Germany, there is a Protection of Young Persons Act which is designed to keep kids away from alcohol, tobacco, as well as violent and sexually explicit media.

    In one of the clauses it says that young people should not be exposed to media which presents children and adolescents in unnatural, sexually provocative physical postures.

    (the link goes to a pdf file, and you can see it on pages 9-10)

    So it’s fuzzy. Is it to protect children from seeing such media, or appearing naked, or appearing naked and sexually provocative? And what’s sexually provocative?

  10. June 6, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    It is just this sort of absence of moral leadership that sends the wrong signals to the weak! Shame shame!

  11. June 6, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    BB – the paper has no shame, that’s the problem. Just as bad is the parent signing over the papers allowing them to publish it.

  12. June 6, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    Very well written…
    Your list of searches to this blog is kinda creepy, though! It really goes well with this article!

    I really like your blog and I’ve added you to my blogroll… feel free to contact me if you’d rather I remove it (I understand some people don’t like being linked to)

  13. June 6, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Hi Shadow – thanks for adding me!:-) I will do the same.

  14. June 7, 2008 at 11:24 am

    They most certainly did know that she was underage – at least according to Spiegel:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,557417,00.html

    They obtained the mother’s written consent to publish the photo… now why would they need to do that if she was over 18? Huh?

  15. June 7, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Absolutely, Cathy. If she had been an adult they wouldn’t have asked her mother to do so. Good point.

  16. June 8, 2008 at 3:37 am

    Hi Ian, long time no see.

    Like raincoaster, I also thought this was going to be about the art photo and ruckus around that. Geez. My daughter is 12. I couldn’t even imagine this being done in error. Idiots.

    Also, one of our most popular posts is about the sexualization of girls. Most of the search terms that turn up the post appear to be intended to draw up naked 13-year-old girl photos. Sickos out there.

  17. June 8, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Hi ybonesy – yes, long time it has been. My daughter is 11, so of course I’m wary of what’s going on and what’s ahead in her life. Though I didn’t write this as a pissed-off father more than as a disgusted journalist. They just have no integrity whatsoever.

  18. June 8, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    The whole article sounded like a porn magazine. It seems like this tabloid has gone to its lowest depths to try to gain readership.

  19. June 9, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    That’s really indecent and disappointing.

  20. 20 Von Haughtberg
    October 12, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    You know you arrogant chump, not everyone that visits your blog is a drooling pervert drawn by a lust for sexually exploited babies. Some of us are here searching for the purveyors and exploiters of such unspeakable filth…like YOU. That story you ran was for attention you idiot and you’re damn lucky you didn’t run the photo anywhere or you’d be getting plenty right about now.

    VH

  21. October 14, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    Von Haughtberg,

    Unlike most of the losers who come across this blog while dredging for kiddie porn, most aren’t dumb enough to leave a comment. In fact, none of them did until you came along. I really couldn’t care who you are or what you do, nor do your idle threats and idiotic accusations bother me in the least.

    This post was about letting people know what a trash newspaper Bild Zeitung is, and I’ll write another the next time they do something as stupid as this.

  22. 22 Anonymous
    July 18, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    your all little bitches anyway

  23. 24 Anonymous
    February 6, 2010 at 1:51 am

    u are an idiot that is all can say


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