Hundreds Of Former Playboy Employees Speak Out In Support Of Hugh Hefner

Disturbing accounts and allegations against Hugh Hefner are starting to pile up with the A&E 10-part docuseries "Secrets of Playboy." The show premiered its first two episodes on January 24 with the aim to explore with a modern lens the "hidden truths behind the fable and philosophy of the Playboy empire." With an interest in the empire, it naturally focuses a lot of attention on Playboy founder and cultural icon Hugh Hefner, who died at the age of 91 in 2017. Hefner's ex-girlfriend Holly Madison — previously revealing allegations of abuse in her memoir, according to Us Weekly — is sharing the "cult-like" experiences of her time in the Playboy mansion in the series.

More former girlfriends and Playboy associates will be featured throughout the series, but the series has sent the community into a frenzy. Playboy made an official statement, per People, ahead of the show's premiere, making it clear that "Today's Playboy is not Hugh Hefner's Playboy." The letter explained, "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. As a brand with sex positivity at its core, we believe safety, security and accountability are paramount, and anything less is inexcusable."

Establishing a distance from Hefner's brand seems fitting for the current heat on the topic as the show airs, but others are not happy about the decision at all. Some former Playboy employees are speaking out as a unit to restore light to Hefner's legacy.

Clashing perspectives of Hugh Hefner

Hundreds of former Playboy associates, employees, Playmates, Playboy Bunnies, and Hugh Hefner's ex-girlfriends have signed an open letter in response to the A&E "Secrets of Playboy" docuseries. The letter, obtained by People, denounces the allegations. "We sign our names to support Hugh M. Hefner," it states. "From all we know of Hef, he was a person of upstanding character, exceptional kindness, and dedication to free thought. He demonstrated a commitment to living an honest life beyond everything else. Our time within Hugh Hefner's Playboy and the organization's subsidiaries remains a period all of us are fond of." The letter closes by highlighting, "Hugh Hefner's character amid unfounded allegations in the A&E show."

In response to the statement, a spokesperson for A&E explained that "Secrets of Playboy" highlights personal experiences from the participants whose stories "deserve to be told despite how difficult they may be for some to hear," according to CNN. They stated, "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."

Cooper Hefner in particular spoke out against the series on Twitter on January 23, insisting his father "was not a liar" and that, "These salacious stories are a case study of regret becoming revenge." There are still several episodes to air, meaning more heated debate within the Playboy community on the matter is almost sure to come, too.