Johannes Cornelis Christiaan "Joop" Wilhelmus (7 January 1943 – c. 9 September 1994) was a Dutch pornographer and entrepreneur, known for co-founding and publishing the pornographic magazine Chick, and founding and publishing child pornography magazine Lolita, and for his personal philosophy of sexual freedom which included support for mutually willing age-disparate sex.
Wilhelmus received an upbringing based on radical left principles. He was a teacher and started his career by publishing Provo-like journals. Wilhelmus advocated complete sexual freedom, and became a well-known advocate of free sexual morality. Together with Peter Johannes Muller (of Candy magazine), Wilhelmus broke the taboo of sexuality in the Netherlands. Wilhelmus started sex shops and a 'stimulus society' in a cellar in Utrecht that allowed couples to engage in partner swapping. Wilhelmus was married and had four children; three daughters and one son. Wilhelmus' wife shared his philosophy regarding adult and child sexuality.
Chick, self-styled "sex magazine for the worker", was an explicit sex journal that started in 1968. Chick was founded by Wilhelmus, its editor-in-chief, and Jan Wenderhold, its sales manager. It also published dating personals that were about sex and not about love. Chick's initial print run of 5,000 rose to 18,000 by the second half of 1968, and according to Wilhelmus, the magazine's circulation was 140,000 in 1971. In the seventies, Wilhelmus argued in Chick that sex with children was part of the sexual liberation. In 1970, the publication of Chick resulted in the Dutch "Chick-arrest" by the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, which in turn led to the new Dutch moral law of 1971 that no longer criminally sanctioned pornography. After a conflict between founders Wilhelmus and Wenderhold, two versions of Chick co-existed, Chick/Dordrecht and Chick/Amsterdam, until Wenderhold eventually bought the Dordrecht version.
Wilhelmus was also the founder and publisher of child pornography magazine Lolita. Lolita was first published circa 1970. Besides pornography, it also featured a contact service for its readers through classified ads. To ensure the magazine's survival, Wilhelmus encouraged readers to provide new pornographic images, provided a gift magazine in exchange for each new child photograph, and offered the sum of $350 if Wilhelmus could take the photographs himself. While Wilhelmus was arrested for publishing Lolita in January 1971, he was released immediately after interrogation, and was never prosecuted for publishing the magazine.
In 1973, he gave a lecture at a Roman Catholic training institute for working girls in Rotterdam, at the invitation of the school board, and Lex van Naerssen of Utrecht University invited Wilhelmus as a visiting scholar, which led to parliamentary questions in the Dutch House of Representatives. In June 1975, Wilhelmus participated in a TV broadcast of the NCRV-program Hier en Nu, where he argued that age-disparate sex, including between legally defined adults and minors, was perfectly normal. In 1986, the PSI subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs called Lolita "the most notorious of the foreign commercial child pornography publications". The magazine reached issue 55 in 1984, and was eventually closed down by Dutch authorities in 1987, seventeen years after its conception. According to Wilhelmus, at the peak of its popularity, Lolita's circulation was 25,000. Lolita became an almost universal brand name for child pornography. In an interview with the VPRO, Dik Brummel of the NVSH declared that he had bought some Lolita magazines and considered them to be historical documents.
- For an overview discussion including Lolita, see: Jan Schuijer and Benjamin Rossen. "The Trade in Child Pornography", IPT Journal, Vol. IV, 1992.
Later years and death
Wilhelmus became a millionaire, but as one of the most successful and notorious publishers of child pornography, he ran into great opposition when the social climate started changing and he became more and more isolated. The Dutch authorities arrested him every time he tried to leave the country. In 1992, while Wilhelmus claimed to be innocent, he was sentenced to four years' imprisonment for allegedly having sex with his then twelve-year-old daughter. His oldest daughter started a petition to free her father and asked a doctor to examine the daughter who he had allegedly had sex with. This doctor issued a medical certificate that stated the daughter could not have had sexual intercourse and that her hymen was intact. Two years later, Wilhelmus was released early because of good behavior. The night after his release, Wilhelmus drowned in the water of the Voorstraathaven in downtown Dordrecht. According to the police, his death was neither suicide nor murder, but an accident brought about by drunkenness.
- John Lindsay and Laurence Barnett (Directors) (1973). The Porn Brokers (Documentary). Elmside Films.
- Lindner, Christoph; Hussey, Andrew, eds. (2013). Paris-Amsterdam Underground. Essays on Cultural Resistance, Subversion, and Diversion. Amsterdam University Press. p. 55.
- XII. Quality and Content of Foreign Child Pornography" (PDF). Child Pornography and Pedophillia (Report). Washington, D.C.: Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Governmental Affairs.
- Brummel, Dik (7 October 1996). "Stenen des Aanstoots". VPRO (Interview). Interviewed by Sarah Verroen.
- Eikelenboom, Siem (2012). "De eenzame dood van Chick-uitgever Joop Wilhemus" [The Lonely Death of Chick Publisher Joop Wilhemus]. Koud Bloed (in Dutch). Nieuw Amsterdam (17).
- Vermaat, Adri (14 September 1994). "Ex-pornokoning Joop Wilhelmus raakte steeds meer geïsoleerd tot het doek viel" [Former Porn King Joop Wilhelmus Became Increasingly Isolated Until the Curtain Fell]. Trouw (in Dutch).