Power player, playboy, predator

March 15, 2024


Playboy Playmates of the Month–the girls next door, or so we were told. Beautiful. Innocent. Sweet.

But is that how they were treated?

Back in the day, I remember Hugh Hefner being lauded as a key sexual trailblazer at the forefront of the sexual revolution.

Our view is quite different now.

Even though women were “liberated” by the pill and broadening of sexual mores, it turns out that the sexual revolution as it played out in Hef’s world was really a male thing.

Hefner was pretty much a pimp, trading the sexual favors of the Playboy Playmates and Bunnies for access to Hollywood and its celebrities… and probably other things he wanted. That’s the cold, hard truth of it and quite different than being a leader of the sexual revolution.

If you were not a “girlfriend” but attended events at the Mansion you were simply a favor to be traded. Used. And for the most part, these women had no idea what they were getting into. (But hold that thought.) So many allegations that Bill Cosby drugged and raped women. Lots of women have stepped up to give testimony about this. One Playmate that Cosby allegedly drugged, then raped, took her own life. At least one. Many accuse him of rape and sodomy. So….what’s he doing out of prison? Why have some people conveniently forgotten all of this?

And athlete Jim Brown has been credibly accused of brutalizing women. Just to name a couple. Because there are more.

Hef was complicit

Lots of people are remembering Hefner and their memories are shocking. Every book that comes out by a “girlfriend” or even his widow, Crystal, vividly explains the sick empire he ran and just how used the women were.

We think of “Hef” differently now. His reputation is being blackened, and for good reason.

Now, don’t get me wrong.

And this is the harder part to point out:

I believe that as time went on (and he aged,) the “girlfriends” affiliated with that old guy because he was a ticket to a better life. And for some–the ones able to leverage their notoriety into an actual career– he was.  They got room, board and an “allowance.” In return, they had to abide by his rules. Hefner’s “girlfriends” had to be home by 9pm each night, attend his almost nightly dinners and events, and meet his standards. They also had to put on a performance in his bedroom.

None of the “girlfriends” liked the fake group scene in the bedroom. They all acknowledge it was for his pleasure, alone. I think each of them got about a minute aboard Hefner. In my opinion, a minute would be a minute too long. Even his widow said he was a horrible lover, which is ironic because he was always considered such a swinger.

But the Playmates and Bunnies were treated differently than the “girlfriends”.

The girlfriends were Hef’s property. The Playmates and Bunnies were to be shared. They were exploited. I’m not sure those women really knew that being a magazine model would mean being pimped out to Hefner’s pals and celebrities.

I do believe in women’s agency. I do not for a moment feel sorry for most of the “girlfriends” or the wives. They were well aware of the tradeoffs. I do feel for the others.

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

I’m fascinated at how truths now being told reveal this man–once thought to be a key historical figure– to be a true predator. Even to those few women who really fell in love with him.

The stories are stark and even horrific. You can read about them in any of the memoirs of Hefner’s girlfriends and the newest one by his “widow.” Or you can watch The Secrets of Playboy, on A&E or Hulu, which pulls no punches.

It’s a view of Hef’s version of sexual liberation that everyone should pay attention to.

8 comments on “Power player, playboy, predator
  1. Alana says:

    I’ve been watching reruns of a program on the History Channel “Unsolved Mysteries”. They’ve dug into the Black Dahlia murder (1947) and the disappearance of Judge Crater in 1930. Judge Crater was a NY Supreme Court justice big into partying and what we called the “high life”. He went missing and what happened and who did it remains a mystery. Crater was a “man about town” as we used to call them back then, and had a lot of girlfriends (and a wife). You got the feeling a lot of these girlfriends may not have known what they were getting into but enjoyed the fringe benefits (especially financial) of the lifestyle. On the other end of the spectrum was The Black Dahlia aka Elizabeth Short. She was a 22 year old “Hollywood hopeful” who was brutally murdered and mutilated. The murder remains unsolved and the case remains open. In a way, both reflect the times and mores that made Hugh Heffner possible. What we are finding out about Heffner is no surprise in a way, although the extent of the brutality and trafficking was never suspected by many. Sadly it still exists today, just maybe more hidden. And yes, we should pay a lot more attention to it, and believe those who come forward to expose it.

  2. Good post. I hadn’t been keeping up with this story, so I’m glad to learn about it.

  3. Ugh—-he has always made my skin crawl.

  4. Laurie Stone says:

    None of it is s surprising. He always had a sleazy, cat-who-swallowed-the-canary vibe. To imagine these beautiful 20 year olds had to pretend they were sexually attracted to a man in his 80’s was laughable.

  5. Comedy Plus says:

    It’s all shady. I never cared for him. I can only imagine what really went on there.

    Thank you for joining the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.

    Have a fabulous Wordless Wednesday. ♥

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