Asian Babes

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Asian Babes
Asian Babes.jpg
Front cover from a 2002 issue
Former editors Richard Desmond
Categories Softcore pornography
Company Remnant Media
Country United Kingdom
Language English
ISSN 1367-7284

Asian Babes was a British softcore pornographic magazine which featured depictions of women of South Asian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Thai origin.[1][2] The magazine was launched in March 1992 and initially used only Indian and Pakistani models from the United Kingdom.[3] Later, Asian models from other countries were also included.[4] The magazine was owned by Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell publishing company until its sale in 2004 to Remnant Media, which went into administration in 2007. The magazine was bought by Trojan Publishing and subsequently Interactive Publishing,[5] but it had ceased publication by 2012.[4]


In 1983, Northern & Shell obtained the licence to publish Penthouse in the United Kingdom which led to its development of a portfolio of adult titles,[6] with Asian Babes being among them.[7][8] It was one of the first British pornographic magazines to feature Asian models, and was initially published on an experiment basis. It was, however, an immediate success, with sales of 160,000 copies.[3] The company was also responsible for the release of Electric Blue softcore pornography videos titled Asian Babes in 1993.[3][9][10] According to a 1995 survey by the magazine, most of its readers were white men.[11]


Asian Babes, along with other titles such as Readers' Wives, was part of Desmond's "portfolio" of soft-porn magazines which was offered for sale in 2001.[12] There were concerns that some investors were reluctant to invest in porn, and that the market for such magazines was changing.[12] Asian Babes was finally sold in 2004 as part of a package of 45 titles to Remnant Media for a reported £20 million (approximately US$39 million).[13] After the magazine had been sold, the Bank of Scotland issued an apology for having loaned £5 million (US$9.8 million) to Remnant Media in order to facilitate the purchase.[14]


The publication of Asian Babes caused controversy in the British Asian community. Models came into conflict with their families[4] and boycotts were organised against newsagents selling the magazine.[3]

Desmond's ownership of the porn magazines was often criticized and frequently used to bolster criticism of his business practices. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, a columnist for The Independent in London, England, characterized Desmond as "the seedy porn baron who gives this nation Mega Boobs and Asian Babes and other yuck and muck".[15] The column criticized the way in which Desmond had made use of the Daily Express;[16] Alibhai-Brown's column was not focused on Desmond's publishing activities with regard to pornography; she went on to say: "Actually, I am less bothered about the porn mags than many.... I made myself look at Asian Babes and it is true that the 'babes' themselves look exceedingly full of life, not pushed into any of the poses".[15]

Information about Desmond's ownership of Asian Babes and other adult magazines was included in a BBC Online 2004 profile[17] which spoke to the controversy surrounding his ownership of "top-shelf" (pornographic)[18] magazines at the same time he was attempting to purchase The Daily Telegraph.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Asian Babes". XXX MagStore. Archived from the original on January 3, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2016. 
  2. ^ Clare Brant, Yun Lee Too, "Rethinking sexual harassment", Pluto Press, 1994, ISBN 0-7453-0837-6, pp.88-92
  3. ^ a b c d Amit Roy (31 May 1993). "Asian cheesecake". India Today. Retrieved 15 June 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c Amit Roy (18 September 2012). "Asian babes in puritan’s past – Rage at Kate’s topless snaps masks a skeleton". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  5. ^ Bowers, Simon (12 February 2008). "Flotation for porn publisher". The Guardian. 
  6. ^ "About Northern & Shell". Northern & Shell. N&S Network. Archived from the original on 20 January 2007. Retrieved 2006-12-22. 
  7. ^ Jane Arthurs, Jean Grimshaw, "Women's bodies: discipline and transgression", Continuum International Publishing Group, 1999, ISBN 0-304-33963-6, pp.191-192
  8. ^ Clarissa Smith, "One for the girls!: the pleasures and practices of reading women's porn", European Communication Research and Education Association Series, Intellect Books, 2007, ISBN 1-84150-164-6, p.57
  9. ^ Lisa Z. Sigel (2005). International Exposure: Perspectives on Modern European Pornography, 1800–2000. Rutgers University Press. p. 171. ISBN 9780813541044. 
  10. ^ Richard Desmond (2015). The Real Deal. Random House. ISBN 9781473518544. 
  11. ^ Mohan Luthra (1997). Britain's Black Population: Social Change, Public Policy and Agenda. Arena. p. 35. ISBN 9781857421897. 
  12. ^ a b "Desmond to sell 'adult' titles". BBC News Online: Business. BBC. 2001-01-11. Retrieved 2006-12-22. 
  13. ^ Andrew Clennell (2004-03-02). "Desmond breaks links with porn as he fights for 'Telegraph'". The Independent. Independent News and Media Limited. Archived from the original on March 22, 2007. Retrieved 2006-12-22. 
  14. ^ "Bank apologises for porn funding: The Bank of Scotland has launched a policy review after negative publicity over a deal involving pornographic magazines". BBC Online News. BBC. 2004-03-22. Retrieved 2006-12-22. 
  15. ^ a b Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (2002-06-03). "I can take Mr Desmond's porn but not his racism". The Independent. Independent News and Media Limited. Retrieved 2006-12-22. [dead link]
  16. ^ Chris Jones (2000-11-25). "Richard Desmond: Express route to respectability". BBC News World Edition. BBC. Retrieved 2006-12-22. 
  17. ^ Jorn Madslien (2004-02-12). "Profile: Richard Desmond". BBC News Online. BBC. Retrieved 2006-12-22. 
  18. ^ Jorn Madslien (2006-05-07). "How much should you pay for sex?". The Observer. Guardian News and Media Limited 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-22.