Britain’s The Sun tabloid, the country’s best-selling newspaper, has decided to quietly stop publishing photographs of topless models on page three, ending a contested 44-year-old tradition of the Rupert Murdoch-owned paper, The Times reported on Tuesday.
The Sun, owned by a subsidiary of the media tycoon’s News Corp, has published photographs of young models baring their breasts on page three since 1970, drawing criticism from feminists who said the practice demeaned and objectified women.
Without naming its sources, The Times, which is also part of Murdoch’s British newspaper empire, said it understood that last Friday’s printed edition of The Sun would be the final publication to carry a photograph of a topless model.
Such models would only appear on the paper’s website from now on, it said, while scantily clad but not topless models would appear in the paper in future. The Sun has long resisted making the change, in part because it feared dropping the feature could hurt its sales. At least one rival British tabloid also features photographs of topless women.
Murdoch described the tradition as “outdated” in September last year, saying it meant “Brit feminists” didn’t buy The Sun. He is understood to have sanctioned the decision to end one of the most contested mainstays of British journalism.
Murdoch’s British newspaper arm News UK did not immediately respond to requests for comment.