“Christmas with Hef” and Other Fairy Tales

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

Various news organizations have run articles quoting Hugh Hefner, aka “Hef,” as saying he is shocked—shocked—by allegations that Bill Cosby molested a 15-year-old girl at his Playboy mansion. Hefner says, “Bill Cosby has been a good friend for many years and the mere thought of these allegations is truly saddening. I would never tolerate this kind of behavior, regardless of who was involved.”

Former Playboy Playmate Miki Garcia testified before the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography in 1980 and said that Hefner encouraged Playmates to come to his mansion and “partake of the activities,” including orgies and bisexual escapades. She said Playmates were forced to engage in sex acts with Hefner`s associates through “peer pressure.” As director of Playmate Promotions from 1976 to 1982, she said she was told by models “about rapes, mental and physical abuse, attempted murder, drug addiction, attempted suicide and prostitution.”

Our media have conveniently “forgotten” this testimony as the accusations against Cosby have snowballed. One reason for that, as we have reported, is that Hefner gives major figures in the liberal media “Hugh Hefner” awards for the work or articles they do.

Regarding Playboy’s role in the controversy over sexual assaults, Dr. Judith Reisman notes that Playboy ran an online “So Right, It’s Wrong” campaign in 2009 to “hate rape” ten conservative women, providing a gallery with their names, photos and videos. The story was supposed to be funny.

Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, who was one of those mentioned on the list, commented at the time that publications such as Politico made light of the Playboy attack, while misrepresenting the vicious nature of what Playboy was advocating, and “whitewashing all the vulgarity” out of it.

So rapes of conservative women are something worth laughing about.

Meanwhile, according to the most recent allegations, Cosby, Hefner and their buddies were engaging in sexual escapades with Playboy models and “bunnies” at the mansion, the Playboy Clubs, or various hotels. Several of those accusing Cosby of sexual misconduct have a Playboy connection. P.J. Masten, one of the two ex-bunnies who have publicly accused Cosby of sexual assault, told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota that “[There are] 12 former bunnies that I know of that are ashamed to come forward, frightened to come forward, married with families [and] don’t want to come forward. But they were also drugged and raped by Bill Cosby.”

Russell Miller’s book, Bunny: The Real Story of Playboy, noted the presence at the Playboy Mansion of “Lila,” described as a 17-year-old high school student “whose startling sexual precocity made her a popular participant at orgies.”

If our media have been paying attention to what was really going on in the Playboy mansion, rather than just attending parties with “Hef,” they might have uncovered some of Cosby’s alleged sordid activities. Instead, as we have noted, reporters and media celebrities such as Bill Maher have been going to the parties in the mansion and smoking pot, among other things.

Dr. Reisman conducted the 1989 study for the Department of Justice on “Images of Children, Crime, and Violence in Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler Magazines.” It found that Playboy had run numerous images, and even cartoons, depicting children as sexual objects or enjoying themselves as sexual partners of adults. For example, Playboy’s December 1977 issue showed actress Jodie Foster, then only 14, in the nude, describing her as “talented” and “sophisticated beyond her years.”

During an appearance on Dutch television in 1994, Dr. Reisman essentially accused Playboy of producing child pornography based on her study of three decades of its publications. Playboy sued, but ultimately lost the lawsuit.

Some of the examples include:

  • An August 1967 cartoon shows a Girl Scout being let into an apartment by an adult male as she says, “We’ll have to stop meeting like this. I’m running out of cookies.”
  • A November 1972 cartoon shows a small girl with a bow in her hair telling a man offering her a candy cane, “No, thank you, nice man, I don’t want to go for a ride in your car. Why don’t we just go up to my place and b-?”
  • A March 1973 cartoon shows a little girl, with a ribbon in her hair and her breasts exposed, sitting next to her teddy bear on the bed while an adult father figure lowers his pants. The caption has the little girl saying, “But first of all, we have to ask Teddy’s permission, and that costs $40.”

But the media convey a different impression of “Hef” and his magazine. “By his own lights, having purged himself of the shame and hypocrisy that is part of most Americans’ sexual baggage, he leads a life that is exceptionally honest and moral,” reported The New York Times in 2011.

On December 23, 2006, reporter Rita Cosby, then with MSNBC, described a Christmas party at the Playboy mansion that included Disney characters and sounded family-friendly. She introduced three more of Hefner’s “gorgeous girlfriends,” who “were nice enough to give me my own personal tour of their posh pad right before Christmas.”

Here was some of the dialogue:

Cosby: How does it feel to celebrate Christmas at the Playboy mansion?

Female: It’s wonderful. Everything is so beautiful, like the food on Christmas. Everything’s just so cool.

Cosby: Who did the tree?

Female: I did the tree. I wanted to decorate the tree. Hef used to have just staff do it, and it was kind of generic looking. And I always wanted to have a Disney tree, so I have all my little Disney characters and everything.

We reported back in 2001 that the CBS Early Show with Bryant Gumbel assigned a female correspondent, Hattie Kaufman, to go to Hefner’s Playboy mansion and do a feature about him. Kaufman called the mansion “a Pleasure dome for singles and celebrities,” and referred to him as “Hef.” He was in his bathrobe with his Playmates, bunnies and centerfolds, smiling and describing how he had liberated America from its Puritanism.

The Washington Post reported with glee that the Marijuana Policy Project had resumed Playboy mansion fundraising parties in 2011 after its founder/director Rob Kampia “acknowledged having slept with an underling and took a medical leave of three months to get therapy for his attitudes towards women.” Kampia said, “I just think I’m hypersexualized.”

The MPP’s board is rather “diverse” and includes Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” and Richard Brookhiser, senior editor of National Review,

Speaking of being “hypersexualized,” the 1980 memoir of pornography star Linda Lovelace remembers a side of “Hef” that many have not been exposed to. Her book, Ordeal, describes the Playboy founder and major contributor to the Democratic Party as “a collector of eight-millimeter movies.” That is a reference to the underworld of hardcore pornography, not the “coffee-table pornography” symbolized by Playboy.

Lovelace, who says Hefner sodomized her in the Playboy mansion in Los Angeles, writes, “He supposedly has the second largest collection in the world, second only to someone in Singapore. His eight-millimeter movies go back to the first ones ever made, and they include some with actors and actresses who were to go on and become very famous. He seemed especially interested in his animal films; pigs, chickens, donkeys, horses—he had them all.”

The old joke is that men read Playboy for the articles or interviews, rather than to look at the pictures.

But writing articles for or granting an interview to Playboy gives the publication respectability as a “serious” outlet for news and information.

After Sean Hannity of Fox News gave Playboy an interview last year, Dr. Reisman told us, “Hannity has just become another ‘inadvertent sponsor’ of the oldest pioneering child pornography publication in history.” She said he became a “foolish pawn” of the “sordid, illicit Playboy enterprise.”

But Hannity isn’t alone. Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert all gave interviews to Playboy.

No wonder Bill Cosby is under attack while “Hef” successfully maintains his distance from the scandal. Hefner has made himself and his publication “respectable” across the political spectrum.

Playboy ingratiates itself, especially with the “progressive” community, by promoting what it calls in a Securities and Exchange (SEC) filing “social justice.” The magazine has celebrated the use of illegal drugs such as LSD and cocaine, and Playboy money has gone into the movements for abortion rights, homosexual rights and legalized drugs, as well as to the Democratic Party.

This is why Hefner is portrayed as a cultural icon and not the dirty old man he truly is.


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