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Ladies and gentlemen, Daniel Radcliffe will take his clothes off onstage when the play he’s starring in opens in London later this month. So who cares? Ladies and gentlemen, Daniel Radcliffe also plays Harry Potter in the Warner Bros. film series based on the J.K. Rowling novels.

Since his casting was announced, parents have funnelled their anguish in emails to the many Potter fansites, complaining mostly that he’s a role model for their children. The controversy boiled anew this week when publicity photos were released showing Radcliffe in sexy poses with a horse and his co-star Joanne Christie.

Sexy as the photos may be, it’s not as if Radcliffe is making pornos. The play, “Equus,” is a time-honored and much revered (not to say a tad outdated) standard in the English theatrical repertoire that concerns a mentally disturbed teen who badly mixes up his love for horses and his lust for women. The young actor playing the boy has taken takes his clothes off since Peter Firth debuted the role in 1973.

But even if Radcliffe were doing something dirtier, isn’t it the parents’ responsibility to keep their kids away from objectionable material, or even adult material like “Equus,” not Radcliffe’s? “We are very disappointed and will avoid the future movies he makes,” wrote one parent about the nude scenes. Fine, but couldn’t you simply avoid West End plays intended for grownups?

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