Is Doug Renetti Based on a Real Publisher? Is Bottom Dollar Publications Real?

Image Credit: Katrina Marcinowski/HBO Max

Created by Ellen Rapoport, HBO Max’s comedy series ‘Minx’ revolves around Joyce and Doug Renetti, who team up to start an erotic magazine for women based in Los Angeles. When Joyce pitches her feminist magazine concept to numerous publishers, none of them expresses any interest in backing her.

However, Doug offers Joyce a chance to move forward with her dream — at least on his terms. Together, they restructure Joyce’s concept to an erotic magazine that addresses feminist concerns named ‘Minx.’ Intrigued by Doug and his suavity, we have taken a look at the character’s origin to find whether he is based on a real-life figure. Let us share our findings!

Is Doug Renetti Based on a Real Publisher?

Doug is seemingly based on a real publisher. But let’s gain some more context before jumping into that discussion. Creator Ellen Rapoport was inspired by several pornographic magazines released in the 1970s for women to conceive ‘Minx.’ Magazines like ‘Viva’ and ‘Playgirl’ impressed Rapoport with the combination of pornography and feminism present in them. She incorporated the significance and history of these magazines and the cultural atmosphere of the ‘70s to the narrative of the show.

Image Credit: Katrina Marcinowski/HBO Max

Naturally, pivotal figures behind these magazines must have influenced the characterization of the major characters of the series, including Doug. The pornography publisher, coincidentally or not, bears a resemblance to Bob Guccione, who published ‘Viva.’ Bob Guccione, who founded ‘Penthouse,’ started publishing ‘Viva’ with his wife Kathy Keeton in 1973. ‘Viva’ was an erotic magazine that addressed extremely significant feminist concerns.

Guccione — like Doug welcomes Joyce for Minx — opened his doors for women to become office-bearers, writers, and contributors of ‘Viva.’ He insisted on having renowned writers writing for the magazine and managed to employ reputed women journalists to oversee the content. The results of Guccione and his team’s efforts were astonishing. Writers like Joyce Carol Oates, Simone de Beauvoir, Maxine Hong Kingston, Anaïs Nin, Joan Baez, etc. wrote for ‘Viva’ about womanhood.

Along with accommodating a feminist vision, Guccione also celebrated pornography for women in ‘Viva.’ Doug in ‘Minx’ does the same. He helps Joyce to address marital rape and voice out the need of paying housemaker mothers through ‘Minx’ in return for a centerfold photograph of a naked firefighter to sell the magazine. When Joyce includes a feature that bursts the myths around vaginal orgasm, Doug advertises sex toys for money. Without any pretense, Doug focuses on the financial side of Minx while assisting Joyce to publish a truly feminist magazine.

The inspiration behind Doug may not be limited to Bob Guccione. The 1970s witnessed several publishers and businessmen who played their part in the growth of the “porn for women” industry. Doug’s characteristics can be inspired by them as well. Even though Doug’s individual life and journey with Joyce are fictional, unignorable parallels are indeed present.

Is Bottom Dollar Publications Real?

No, Bottom Dollar Publications isn’t real. Doug’s publishing house is a creation of Rapoport and her writers. However, the United States witnessed the emergence of several publications from the 1950s to 1970s that released pornographic and lifestyle magazines, which can be seen as the inspiration behind Bottom Dollar Publications. Doug’s company publishes several pornographic magazines, including ‘Minx.’ Larry Flynt Publications, founded by entrepreneur Larry Flynt, is one of the publishing houses that resembles Bottom Dollar since the former published several pornographic magazines that cater to different types of readers during the ’70s.

Read More: Is Minx’s Joyce Based on a Real Person?