A coalition of former Playboy employees has released an extraordinary open letter hitting back at the Bunnies’ allegations.
A coalition of former Playboy employees has penned an open letter defending Hugh Hefner after the ongoing docuseries Secrets Of Playboy aired damning allegations of abuse against the late magazine magnate.
“We sign our names to support Hugh M. Hefner,” reads the bombshell letter, which was reportedly signed by “hundreds” of Hef loyalists, from former Playboy bunnies to ex-girlfriends, People magazine reported. “From all we know of Hef, he was a person of upstanding character, exceptional kindness and dedication to free thought.”
It went on: “He demonstrated a commitment to living an honest life beyond everything else.”
Hefner’s defenders also denounced the aforementioned 10-part A&E documentary, in which former bunnies, lovers and other Playboy associates accuse Hefner of predatory practices, including orgies, sexual assault and even bestiality.
“I proudly sign this letter in recognition of Hugh Hefner’s character amid unfounded allegations in the A&E show,” the open letter said, adding that their tenure at Playboy “remains a period all of us are fond of.”
A&E has since defended the docuseries in a statement, accusing the defenders of trying to invalidate the experiences of Hefner’s alleged victims, People reported.
“The stories shared in Secrets Of Playboy are the personal experiences of the documentary’s participants and deserve to be told despite how difficult they may be for some to hear,” the network wrote. “Signatures on a letter, or a different experience with Mr Hefner or the Playboy culture, do not negate the experiences of those who have come forward to share their truth on the series and we look forward to continuing to bring these stories to light.”
In one of the more appalling allegations, Playboy Mansion fixture Holly Madison, a longtime “girlfriend” of Hefner’s, claimed she was “afraid to leave” her then-flame as she feared there was “a mountain of revenge porn just waiting to come out”.
“He’s taking all kinds of naked pictures of these women when we were wasted out of our minds,” alleged the 42-year-old Girls Next Door star in the documentary. “It was just gross.”
The existence of the sordid “insurance policy” was mentioned in a tweet last week by the magazine mogul’s widow Crystal Hefner, 35. “I found thousands of those disposable camera photos you are talking about @hollymadison,” she claimed.
“I immediately ripped them up and destroyed every single one of them for you and the countless other women in them.”
Former Playmate Crystal was married to Hefner from 2012 until his death at 91 in 2017.
Nonetheless, many of Hefner’s defenders, who co-signed the letter, dismissed the stories in the documentary as slander.
In a separate statement to People, Renee “Sloan” Baio – one of Hef’s exes who lived at the Playboy Mansion with Madison from 2001 to 2003, before marrying actor Scott Baio in 2007 – claimed: “Holly craved and eagerly longed to be the number one girlfriend.”
The 49-year-old had previously slammed Madison in a Facebook post, writing: “If you’re so hurt, give back the 1k of cash Hef gave you every week for seven years while you lived there.”
“All people should be encouraged to share their individual experience in this world, but no one should be emboldened to rewrite the truth at the expense of another person’s character,” said Kimberley Hefner, a former Playmate of the Year who was married to Hefner from 1989 until 2010.
Meanwhile, ahead of the Secrets premiere on January 24, Hefner and Kimberley’s son Cooper had released a tweet labelling the allegations against his father “a case study of regret becoming revenge”.
Playboy has since condemned the late publisher’s “abhorrent” actions in a statement released two weeks ago.
“First and foremost, we want to say: We trust and validate women and their stories, and we strongly support the individuals who have come forward to share their experiences,” they wrote. “As a brand with sex positivity at its core, we believe safety, security and accountability are paramount, and anything less is inexcusable.”
The firm also insisted that the Hefner family is no longer involved in the company, and have pledged to build “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.”
Secrets Of Playboy is currently airing weekly in the US.
This story originally appeared on Page Six and is republished here with permission