FBI Releases Hugh Hefner's File

He was 'too clever' to violate federal laws
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2019 4:37 AM CDT
FBI Releases Hugh Hefner File
In this May 7, 1977 photo, Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner is seen in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/George Brich, File)

The FBI has released its 58-page file on Hugh Hefner—which starts with a 1955 news clipping describing Playboy as an "oversexed young version" of Esquire, Hefner's former employer. The heavily redacted file, which can be seen in full here, reveals that the agency interviewed Hefner several times in the late '50s and early '60s over alleged "obscene material," ABC reports. The files also includes a memo to then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover suggesting that Hefner and photographer Edward Oppman be placed under surveillance to determine whether they were violating federal laws by transporting "pornographic images" across state lines, reports the New York Daily News.

"Persons interviewed advised that Hefner too clever to violate Federal or local laws," the FBI investigation concluded. The files state that in a 1958 interview, Hefner "stated that he has been accused of having wild parties in the offices of Playboy" but "emphatically denied any party activities at this address." Hefner, who died in 2017 at age 91, was eventually prosecuted by authorities in Chicago over "obscene and suggestive" photos of Jayne Mansfield, but the case resulted in a hung jury. The files show that Hefner apparently dropped off the FBI's radar between 1963 and 2001, when hackers broke into Playboy.com and sent threatening emails to 15,000 customers. (Read more Hugh Hefner stories.)

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