Accuracy in Media

During an interview on the CBS Early Show, Hugh Hefner and Christine Hefner told Bryant Gumbel that they were offended that the Democrats had forced the cancellation of a fund-raiser at the Playboy mansion in Los Angeles. She said it was done for publicity purposes to make Al Gore look good to those concerned about family values. Gumbel noted that Playboy had donated nearly one million dollars to Democratic Party committees, politicians and causes. But there is no indication whatsoever that the Democrats will give the tainted money back.

It appeared as though Gumbel was conducting the interview in the notorious Playboy mansion, the same location as the scheduled fund-raiser. Perhaps he attended a party there before or after the interview. In any case, he failed to question the Hefners about what really goes on at those parties. The mansion has been a scene of sex orgies characterized by illegal drug use.

Back in 1985 former Playboy Playmate Miki Garcia and former Playboy bunny Brenda MacKillop testified before the Attorney General?s Commission on Pornography. Garcia, who worked for Playboy for ten years, said she knew of Playmates who suffered from venereal diseases, who had attempted suicide, who had procured abortions, used illegal drugs, and engaged in orgies to please Hugh Hefner. She said that at the Playboy mansion Hefner and his staff “encouraged Playmates to use illegal drugs and coerced them into bisexual activities and orgies to satisfy Hefner?s interest.”

MacKillop, a Playboy Bunny at the Playboy Club in Los Angeles, testified that illegal drug use, group sex, and homosexuality were common in the Playboy mansion and that she began to drink and use drugs to desensitize her mind to the seamy world in which she found herself. She testified, “The ?Playboy Philosophy? gave me no warning as to the emotional, physical and spiritual devastation that accompanies this supposed sexual liberation. In reality it was an addiction to sexual perversion.” In response to this testimony, Hugh Hefner ridiculed the witnesses as “a parade of born-again basket cases, antisex feminists and fun-hating fundamentalists.”

Dorothy Stratten, one of the most famous Playmates, was murdered by her estranged husband, who was competing for her affections with Hugh Hefner and film director Peter Bogdanovich, who maintains that Stratten was also a victim of the pressures of the Playboy lifestyle. At least two former Playmates died from drug overdoses, with the mother of one of them saying, “I wish there had never been a Playboy.”

The Democratic Party isn?t the only major group to have scheduled an event at the mansion. Playboy has opened its “beautiful facility and grounds” to the following groups: the ACLU, National Abortion Rights Action League, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, the National Organization for Women, and the NBC News Reporters Reunion. The number of organizations receiving grants from Playboy runs into the hundreds. But the number of media figures who have written for, or been interviewed by, Playboy, runs into the dozens. Perhaps this is why the rest of the sordid Playboy story will not be pursued.

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