A new 10-part docuseries paints Hugh Hefner as a rapist who drugged women at his Playboy mansion—and Playboy says it supports those accusing Hef of sexual misconduct. "We trust and validate women and their stories, and we strongly support the individuals who have come forward to share their experiences," it posted in an open letter over the weekend. "The Hefner family is no longer associated with Playboy, and today’s Playboy is not Hugh Hefner’s Playboy. Today, our organization is run by a workforce that is more than 80% female, and together we are building upon the aspects of our legacy that have made a positive impact, including serving as a platform for free expression and a convener of safe conversations on sex, inclusion and freedom." More on A&E's Secrets of Playboy:
- Who's involved: Multiple former Playmates, others associated with the magazine and Hefner's empire, and former girlfriends of Hefner were interviewed, CNN reports. Among those is Sondra Theodore, a girlfriend of Hef's from the late 1970s, who calls him a "vampire" who "sucked the life out of all these young girls for decades."
- What's described: Another former girlfriend, Holly Madison of The Girls Next Door, describes a "cult-like atmosphere" around Hef, including people who made sure what happened at the Playboy mansion stayed there and Hef's name stayed pristine in the media. Others, including a former exec, echo those allegations. Rampant drug and alcohol use, including by those under 21, is also alleged.
- Bestiality and snuff films? Theodore says she once walked in on Hefner engaging in sexual activities with her dog, the New York Post reports. And a former "bunny mother" says she once saw Hef force a woman to give oral sex to a German shepherd. Hefner is also alleged to have been into snuff films, the Daily Beast reports.
- More disturbing allegations: Women say they were forced into sex with Hefner and, sometimes, others (both male and female) while Hefner watched, often without using protection. Some women were allegedly pressured to get plastic surgery, and Hef allegedly berated women abusively, including Madison, over their appearance.
- Bill Cosby: Cosby, a good friend of Hefner's, gets brought up by the former bunny mother, who says the comedian sodomized her so violently she bled. Men who frequented Playboy clubs and the mansion were also accused of drugging and raping dozens of women, with Hefner being accused of "pimping out" women to some of them.
- "Protections" in place: Hefner allegedly hid cameras around the Playboy mansion and threatened to release photos and videos of "depraved" sex acts if anyone spoke out against him. Madison says Hefner blackmailed her with photos and that was why she stayed with him for so long. Hef's widow and fellow former Girls Next Door star, Crystal Hefner, confirmed that she found "thousands" of such photos after his death and destroyed them all, People reports.
- The rest of the 'Girls': Bridget Marquardt, an original Girl Next Door alongside Madison, is also in the docuseries, but Kendra Wilkinson, the third original star of the E! reality show, is not, Distractify reports. Crystal Hefner, who was Crystal Harris at the time, joined the series later, as did twins Kristina and Karissa Shannon, who spoke to Radar in advance of the A&E docuseries' premiere.
- Defense: Hefner's son, Cooper, has come to his defense, E! reports. "These salacious stories are a case study of regret becoming revenge," he says. At least one former Playmate also insisted the allegations are untrue, the New York Post reports.
- Same-sex affair: Multiple people also allege in the docuseries that Hefner was in love and had a sexual affair with his male physician and best friend.
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