Penthouse debuted its new website Thursday by publishing a 15-minute video that attempts to show that director-comedian Judd Apatow’s past jokes, remarks and statements are at odds with his current, progressive persona.
The video suggests that Apatow is hypocritical to call out sexism, jokes about LGBTQ people and other social ills because he has made similar jokes in the past in standup routines, talk show appearances and in storylines in his hit comedies.
Reps for Apatow did not respond to requests for comment.
The video cites Apatow’s recent criticism of comics’ “punching down” to vulnerable targets in society. “I feel like it’s more important to say to kids, and to trans people, ‘Hey, I care more about you than this,’” he said in a recent interview, with the video jumping to clips from Apatow movies like “The 40 Year-Old Virgin” that include scenes that play on LGBT stereotypes and use derogatory terms like “trannies” and “f-ggot.”
It also takes issue with Apatow’s criticism of Louis CK’s jokes about survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla., because Apatow made jokes, decades ago, about mass shootings and suffering children. In a short clip from an old standup routine, stripped of any contextual set-up, a young Apatow joked about how he “would just immediately get in the car, drive to Utah and start killing people” before making gunshot sounds into the microphone.
In a 1989 appearance on Comedy Central’s “Comics Only,” Apatow told host Paul Provenza he was “adopting a child” through Sally Struthers’ “Save the Children” campaign in a bit that seemed to play on stereotypes about both Hispanics and third-world countries. He read from a fake letter he said he had written:
“Dear Miguel, Hi. How are you? How are things in your village? Is the drought over yet? … Last week we had a big dinner party in my house. Boy was I stuffed. Hey, how’s that sack of wheat I sent you. Well I have to go, the Dominos pizza guy is here. Hey guess what? His name is Miguel too.”
Penthouse executive editor Mish Barber-Way told TheWrap the Apatow mashup reflects the site’s mission in “attacking the hypocrisy of the culture wars.” “One day a comedian is making sexist jokes, the next he’s attacking his friendemy in the name of trans rights as if he’s never said the word ‘tranny,’” Barber-Way said.
The video was created by former New York Post features reporter Mandy Stadtmiller, who wrote in a short accompanying piece: “To calmly attempt to transition from the man who made his millions off of f-ggot-and-tranny jokes … to his recent reinvention as Mr. Woke Stasi, El Capitan, is pretty badass.”
“I have no beef with Judd,” Barber-Way said. “My beef is with hypocrisy.”
Founded by legendary pornographer Bob Guccione in 1965, Penthouse has struggled during the digital age and filed for bankruptcy September 2013. The company was ultimately purchased by WGCZ Ltd during a bankruptcy auction last June for $11.2 million.