Zoo Weekly would have to be one of the final few lad’s mags on its last legs, or so you’d hope. After the closure of its predecessors, RALPH and ACP Press sibling FHM, and bolstered by reports earlier this year that Australians are ‘reading’ less soft-porn than ever (with an overall loss of 50% of its circulation since launch), Zoo have literally saved the best (worst) till last, after earlier this week revealing their search for “Australia’s hottest asylum seeker“.

Published in the light of recent incidents surrounding the deaths of asylum seekers off Australian shores, Zoo’s tasteful callout for “refugees not even the immigration minister could refuse” aimed to find women who have “swapped persecution for sexiness, [because] we want to shoot you (with a camera?-?relax!)

The mag also offered to house a boatload of asylum seekers in their office should Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young appear in a Krystal “tasteful” lingerie shoot, writing “If Sarah Hanson-Young wants more asylum seekers on Australian shores, then this is one way to make sure they keep coming. We know she’ll have her knockers if she agrees, but we’re confident she’ll realise it’s good for the country.” A+ coming and knockers puns, boys. Just A+ work all around, really.

Thankfully, for all Australians, that search is no longer underway after a change.org petition lead by refugee advocate Matt Darvas has attracted – at the time of writing – almost 6000 signatures and national attention and condemnation of the search.

Zoo editor, Tim Keen, confirmed that the magazine will issue a retraction and an apology in its next print issue, saying “We will explain that the reason for the apology is that we regret any offence caused to any of our readers, and to any asylum seeker or refugee who was offended, along with their families and supporters. Zoo is happy to print an apology to those readers who were offended by our take on a very serious topic and to acknowledge that for asylum seekers and refugees, and their families and supporters, it’s a subject too important for jokes.”

Two questions: 1) How long before Sophie and Vernesa appear in the hallowed pages of Zoo? And 2) How keen do you think Tim is for Big Brother 2.0 to unearth Australia’s Next Top Krystal? Pretty keen. It’s good for the country.

Via The Sydney Morning Herald / Images via Crikey/Zoo