'Secrets of Playboy' : Breaking Down the A&E Docuseries' Biggest Bombshells About Hugh Hefner's Empire

Each week, the docuseries has offered new allegations and revelations from former Playboy employees, including Hefner's former "No. 1 girlfriend" Holly Madison

Hugh Hefner. Photo: RICH SCHMITT/AFP/Getty

Hugh Hefner's Playboy empire is under renewed scrutiny each Monday as A&E's docuseries Secrets of Playboy examines the illusion of sexual freedom Hefner meticulously crafted over decades via his magazine, an international network of Playboy Club lounges, a still-thriving merchandise arm and more.

According to Hefner in an archival interview played in episode 1: "Much of what Playboy's all about, really, is a Disneyland for adults — a projection of those adolescent dreams and fantasies that I had growing up, that I never really lost."

Now a number of people intimately involved with Playboy have stepped forward to shatter the brand's illusion, re-examine the toxicity those fantasies perpetuated and cast light on the darkness underpinning the brand's façade of glamour. Former employees, Bunnies from the Playboy Clubs' prime and even Hefner's ex Holly Madison have all shared shocking claims about not only the Playboy enterprise but also about Hefner, who died in 2017 at the age of 91.

"This series contains allegations of wrongdoing over decades by Hugh Hefner and others associated with him," reads a statement at the end of each episode of Secrets of Playboy. "The vast majority of allegations have not been the subject of criminal investigations or charges, and they do not constitute proof of guilt."

Below is a rundown of the latest allegations against Hefner and Playboy, and check back next week for updates from the next episode.


Originally aired: April 4, 2022
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Claim: "Immediately [after showing me photos from my Playboy test shoot] he walked me over to the bed. I sat down, he was to the right of me and he pulled out a joint, just lit it. And now I'm starting to get speechless, I'm not talking, I'm like, 'What? This is all happening so fast.' And he gave it to me, and then he's pulling down his pants, and I froze. He got on top of me, and I just froze. I didn't say anything. I didn't give him permission. What was I going to do? If he said no, would he have stopped? I don't know. I laid there, and when he was done, he walked me down to the guest house. I didn't know what to think that night. I cried myself to sleep. You know, this isn't a fairy tale, this isn't what I signed up for. … [After I left Los Angeles and went home] I got a letter in the mail. It was a termination letter."
Who Said It: Audrey Huskey, a former aspiring Playmate who claims Hefner sexually assaulted her in 1994

Claim: "[Hefner] was always nice in front of other people. I didn't like going to the parties. Boy did I get in trouble for that. … 'Socialize' is [a code word for] flirting [with] older guys, not anywhere near our age range. They said inappropriate things like, 'How would you like a 36DD?' He wants to buy me breast augmentation, I just met the man."
Who Said It: Susie Krabacher, who added that, in the Playboy world, "If you're too difficult and too much trouble, you're out of there"

hugh hefner, Kristina Shannon (L) and Karissa Shannon
Karissa Shannon, Kristina Shannon and Hugh Hefner. David Livingston/Getty


Originally aired: March 28, 2022
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Claim: "[Hefner had given us a pill and] was pulling our heads down, like a very hard pull, down to his penis so that we would give him oral sex. ... He didn't even finish. Just imagine this, just his old hand kind of shakes touching your boob. It's like you're having sex with your grandpa. And he laid there, looking up, and he was like, 'My babies, my babies. You love me.' We were watching the clock next to his bed. It was like 4 a.m., 5 a.m., we were waiting for him to fall asleep. He falls asleep [and] we rand down the hall to the spare bedroom we were staying in. We hit the shower, steaming hot. Our skin was red from just trying to, like, sterilize. Both of us said, 'He's going straight to Hell.'"
Who Said It: Karissa Shannon, one of Hefner's girlfriends (along with her twin sister Kristina) from 2008–10, detailing her first sexual encounter with the Playboy founder when the twins were 19 and Hefner was 83

Claim: "The problem is, Hef doesn't like to use protection. From the butlers, we'd just order a big bowl and we'd put hot water in it, then we'd put rags in it. So whoever was having intercourse with him, when they were finished, they can wipe him off. And then other girl could do it. … There was at one point an STD that went around. We caught chlamydia. I remember going down the Mary O'Connor's office — his assistance slash, I'd say, house mom for us — and she's like 'Well that's what happens when you're sexually active.' We freaked out! When she said, 'STDs are normal when you're sexually active,' we're like, 'Everyone's out of their mind here.'"
Who Said It: Kristina Shannon

Claim: "I didn't think it was possible [to get pregnant with Hef when he was 84]. You don't really think that would happen. But we were about the youngest girlfriends he had had. It was the end of [the year when we were] 19, I was getting ready to turn 20. I had no idea until the blood test. … We had plans to get our noses done and our boobs done, so I got a call saying, 'Hey, you're pregnant, and you have this surgery coming up.' I freaked. I'm like, 'Who else knows about this?' … [I begged them] 'Don't call Mary, don't call Hef, don't call anyone....' I didn't want him to know that I was pregnant. I didn't want him to want me to have [the baby]. I didn't want to be stuck even more inside that bubble. I think it's a way for him to control me even more, have me on a leash. I felt disgusted with my body. I felt like there was something like an alien inside me. I was grossed out. I just wanted to get it over with."
Who Said It: Karissa Shannon

Claim: "We weren't allowed to do anything without security [including visit family]. … We'd be downstairs and he'd have three security guards watching me and watching Karissa, and they would always in the morning come up with a report of every single thing we did that night, the next morning for him. Everything we did, who we were hanging out with, what we were drinking, what we ate — everything. Every time we left the property: What time did we leave? When did we get back? And then we did start realizing we had to hang out with Playmates, [the report was] What Playmates were we hanging out with? What did they eat? He likes his girls thin, very thin."
Who Said It: Kristina Shannon

Claim: "Hef would say, 'All right, the twins are wild. When I'm going upstairs, I want them on 'HMH Arrest' — Hugh Marston Hefner. He locked us in our bedroom. There would be a security guard sitting outside of our door. ... He has so much power. It's like you're in a cult."
Who Said It: Kristina Shannon

Claim: "The first time I went to the Mansion, [Hefner] came in for an open-mouth kiss, and I [turned my head], and it was like a dog slobber on me. I could tell he did not like that I'd turned my head. I remember how repulsive it was to be on the receiving end of that."
Who Said It: Lisa Guerrero, host, journalist and January 2006 celebrity Playboy cover star



Originally aired: March 21, 2022
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Claim: Hefner had a skeleton key to unlock all the rooms at the Playboy Mansion, and he used it"at will." One night, "He opened the door on a girl who was sleeping, and he went inside and sat down in the bed with her. At that point, I'm just frozen, I didn't know. what to do. And she kept saying, 'No.' The minute she said no, he continued and forced himself on her. I was standing there, and I was terrified. ... All these years [later I wonder] Does she think I'm a monster because [I didn't stop] it? I'm sorry I didn't do anything to stop it. And he told me when we were heading back to the master, he said to me, 'Well, did they think that they were going to come stay at my house and not sleep with me?' Whether they consented or not, if he wanted something, he would take it. He riffled through so many decades of young girls."
Who Said It: Sondra Theodore, Hefner's live-in girlfriend from 1976–81

Claim: "[Hefner] gave me a pill and a soda, and I just took it, not thinking much about it. At first it didn't down on me that it was a drug. At first, you're thinking somebody's giving you a Tylenol or an Advil. And then I thought, 'Okay, what did I just take? I didn't even ask.' I don't remember laying down, I don't remember if I even said anything to him about Playmate of the Year. I woke up with him on top of me. He was naked, and my pants were off, my pajama bottoms were off. I thought that I was having a nightmare because it didn't seem possible. … The next morning, I was so ashamed, I wanted to just die. This whole thing had to be a secret — a secret that I had to see all the time. You know, I looked up that hallway and I'd think about it, but then I'd have to put that smile on and when I saw Hef give him a hug. He never mentioned it. The only explanation is that he was hiding it from me. To make me doubt that it happened, maybe. To make me forget about it — but you don't forget."
Who Said It: Krabacher, May 1983 Playmate of the Month

Claim: 1980 Playmate of the Year Dorothy Stratten was "brutalized" and "psychically destroyed" by Hefner. "There was a ledge around the grotto. Hefner propped her up and he started to rape her anally, and she was screaming. After we witnessed it, the security guard told me, he whispered in my ear [that] I should go back into the butlers' pantry and keep my mouth shut. And that's what I did. You had to follow the rules. You had to be discreet, be quiet, carry on. "
Who Said It: Stefan Tetenbaum, Hefner's valet from 1978–81 and a frequent guest at Playboy Mansion parties

Hugh Hefner


Originally aired: March 14, 2021
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Claim: "It's my personal belief that the love of Hef's life was my father. ... My father and Hef had a spiritual connection that I don't believe any of these wives or girlfriends could ever compete against. They had a physical relationship in the context of these different orgies. The orgies sort of started as something that was an opportunity for people to sort of experience their open sexuality, and then that sort of turned into something that was a little bit more sinister. It was just more of a transaction that was exciting, and that probably stemmed from their own childhood. Growing up, they were both these weird, nerdy guys who didn't date a lot of women. So having control and power over these types of women at the Mansion was something that was very exciting — you know, the breaking down of a woman."
Who Said It: Jennifer Saginor, who said she grew up in the Playboy Mansion because her father, Dr. Mark Saginor, was Hefner's primary physician

Claim: "If the girls didn't make the cut at Playboy, they were shuffled off into the 'shadow mansions.' At the shadow mansions, my father and the inner circle from Playboy created clones of the Playboy Mansion on a smaller scale to sort of lure these young girls in. It was very predatory. … They were setting up these fake photo shoots where the girls would feel like they were being given this opportunity to be a model. Maybe they were given a drink to relax, and whenever that sort of would kick in, then the girls were posing without their clothes on. I just remember walking in on them and being, like, horrified. These girls were clearly drugged and not coherent. Maybe they would also have somebody videotaping them, and then that videotape could be used as blackmail so they wouldn't tell anyone or so that they'd sort of fall into this underground system of being available. Basically any powerful, wealthy man in Los Angeles who was on the guest list to attend the mini-mansion parties was given an opportunity to 'spend time' with particular girls. 'Spending time' with her is code for having sex with her."
Who Said It: Saginor, who claimed one of her father's friends (whom she did not name) also drugged and sexually assaulted her

Claim: "The experience I had at the mini-mansion parties is, immediately walking in, having all the men glom onto you, offering you lines of coke or a bowl of ecstasy. If you refuse those, they're trying to shove champagne in your face — who knows what's in the champagne, if they've dropped anything in there. I've just seen it too many times. I just would refrain and get my own drink or my own water and make sure I opened it myself, and that's how I avoided being prey. So that's the first red flag. Second red flag is, they're promising you to come to this party, you're going to get a modeling contract. Who's signing a contract at night at a party? So the grooming that's happening at these mini-mansion parties is pretty obviously not for modeling."
Who Said It: Jennifer Hatten, a Playboy Mansion regular in the '90s

Claim: "I walked into the bathroom and saw [a European model named Paulina, who had been living at my father's house] laying down in a pool of blood. ... Security came and literally came and picked up her lifeless body and brought it into the back. ... They're like, 'We got it from here, kid.' And I never saw her again. ... I was too scared to say anything myself, or to tell anybody. I feel guilty that I watched these young girls, many of them that were drugged — I just knew what was going to happen to them, and I didn't do anything."
Who Said It: Saginor

Hugh Hefner, Bill Cosby
Hugh Hefner and Bill Cosby. Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty


Originally aired: March 7, 2022
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Claim: "I met [Bill Cosby] at seven o'clock, and he was in the penthouse. So he said to me, 'Well, come on up, and we'll have a drink before we go to dinner.' I went upstairs, and he says, 'What would you like to drink?' So I said, 'I'll take a Grand Marnier.' He gave me the glass, I took two sips and that's the last thing I remember until four o'clock the next morning. And I woke up in bed, naked, and I looked to my left, and there he was, naked, sleeping next to me, and I was in a panic. And I slithered out of the bed to try to collect my clothes that were all over the floor, and I had blood coming down my leg because he sodomized me. And blood was dripping on the floor … I dripped it all the way to the lobby of the hotel. [Weeps] And I went home in the shower, and I just screamed. I was in the shower for a good hour. And I knew I had to go to work because I had nobody to cover me. And I went to work, and about 11 o'clock in the morning, he calls my office — how he got that private line, I don't know, it was a private line. And he says, 'Why did you leave?' And I was like, Are you kidding me?"
Who Said It: PJ Masten, Playboy employee from 1972–82

Claim: "Paige [Young] told me that a person that was a member of this Playboy Mansion entourage, or whatever it was, had filmed her having sex. Paige was so over-the-top upset about that tape. This was the end of the world for her. She didn't seem that shy, you know, about sex, and it made me wonder, What was on that tape? What I actually keep thinking is there's more on that than just sex. ... When I knew her, Paige was into clean living. I think more likely is that Bill [Cosby] drugged her."
Who Said It: Melanie Myers, celebrity astrologer and neighbor of November 1968 Playmate of the Month, who found the 30-year-old dead under a collage of photos and news clippings which featured the words "HUGH HEFNER IS THE DEVIL"

Claim: "[Jim Brown had a woman] on the sex chair [in Hefner's Grotto]. I could see him assaulting this woman and beating her. She was screaming in pain, begging him to stop. When he was finished, I had to help her, and I took her to the front of the Mansion and had one of Hefner's drivers take her to the hospital. I never saw her again there. After that, Hefner allowed Jim back on the property, where he would brutalize these girls. He cracked ribs, he dislocated jaws, but nobody was gonna come forward because nobody wanted Hefner to come after you.... It seemed that this was natural, that this was what they expected Hefner to allow them to do."
Who Said It: Tetenbaum, whose wife Stella was with him when they witnessed the assault and said that Brown was "just going bananas, bananas, violently on this girl"

Jim Brown
Jim Brown. Focus On Sport/Getty

Claim: "Hefner's interest in young girls had been evident throughout his adult life, epitomized by the fact that he seduced one of the girls that had been at his daughter's 16th birthday party."
Who Said It: Russell Miller, author of BUNNY

hugh hefner
Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images


Originally aired: Feb. 28, 2022
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Claim: "Playmate Promotions sent me to Alaska to model, and it turned out that there was no modeling gig. I ended up driving all around Alaska with this guy ... then he came looking for me later. He found out where I lived. I honestly don't know everything that happened, he drugged me. I don't know: What did he do to me? He did a lot of really horrific things. And when that was over, when I finally got away from him, I went right to the Playboy security team, and I told them about it. I didn't have to testify, I didn't have to do anything, they took care of it. That's all I know. As Playmates, we get put in situations that are almost impossible to get out of without conceding."
Who Said It: Rebekka Armstrong, September 1986 Playmate of the Month who recounted multiple "modeling" gigs that she was "actually just being sent there to go on a date" during her time with the Playmate Promotions department

Claim: "Sometimes they got the girls stoned, partied out, and then they'd hand them the [photo use] contract. They had their ways. Through this, you signed your life away forever."
Who Said It: Theodore, July 1977 Playmate of the Month

Claim: "Hefner sold us. He took our photos and put them on hardcore porn sites."
Who Said It: Miki Garcia, January 1972 Playmate of the Month

Claim: "Playboy pieced [nude outtake footage] together, released it in cable without telling me that it was going to be happening, not paying me for it — and that was soft porn. They had made me a porn star against my will."
Who Said It: Theodore

Julian Wasser/Online USA Inc./Getty.


Originally aired: Feb. 21, 2022
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Claim: "I wanted to warn Hef that Dorothy Stratten was with a very dangerous man. No one ever answered [a memo I wrote on Aug. 24, 1979], and security came back [saying] they knew nothing. Really? That's impossible, is impossible. They knew all along that [Paul Snider] was a dangerous pimp and he was attached to Dorothy. Hef didn't care, he just didn't care."
Who Said It: Garcia, Playboy Head of Promotions from 1973–82

Claim: "In order to get Playmate of the Year, you had to do some pretty wild things up in the bedroom with Hef and his friends. You had to vie for that position."
Who Said It: Masten, whose claim was corroborated by Garcia's personal experience as a Playmate of the Month, as well as by Hefner's ex Holly Madison, who shared that even when she was dating Hefner in the early 2000s, "Most of the women who were coming through and testing for Playmate felt like they had to sleep with him to get Playmate of the Year"

Claim: "It was rampant in Chicago with the sexual abuse of women. It changed my world, it changed my perception. This is the way the corporate executives were. They could do whatever they wanted to do, and they didn't answer to anybody — that's the thing."
Who Said It: Masten

Sondra Theodore, Hugh Hefner
Sondra Theodore and Hugh Hefner. Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images


Originally aired: Feb. 14, 2022
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Claim: "Every Thursday night, Hefner had two pimps bring up five or six girls each in their cars. It was called Pig Night. … One at a time, the girls were escorted into the front bathroom where the doctor inspected them for anything that would be detrimental to any of his friends. The girls that passed muster would have sex with the different friends of Hefner."
Who Said It: Stefan Tetenbaum, who was backed up by Stella, a Mansion hostess from 1978–79: "That was a really big thrill for a lot of people, and especially John Belushi. For some reason, that really turned him on."

Claim: "I walked in once, and he was [gestures to imply sex] to my dog, to our dog. And I said, 'What are you doing?' He says, 'Well dogs have needs.' I went, 'Stop that! Stop that.' I never left him alone with the dog again. I couldn't believe who I was seeing, I could not believe what I was seeing."
Who Said It: Theodore

Claim: "All the guys were laughing when Linda Lovelace got out of the limousine [at the Playboy Mansion]. And she was drunk and drugged, and all of a sudden out of nowhere, a German Shepherd shows up. They got her so messed up that they made her give the German Shepherd oral sex."
Who Said It: Masten (the story was also recounted by Mansion guest Melanie Myers and BUNNY author Russell Miller, who said the Deep Throat star "was treated like a piece of meat")

Linda Lovelace
Linda Lovelace. Suzan Carson/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Claim: "John Dante and Hugh Hefner lived together in the Playboy Mansion for more than 20 years, and Hefner would say, 'Come up to my bedroom, we'll watch a movie.' And then he'd have two TV screens filming the sex where you could stop it and play it back and see yourself in the act and so forth."
Who Said It: Anthony Valerio, author of John Dante's Inferno: A Playboy's Life, whose claims of orgies were corroborated by Theodore ("The group sex, it was at least five nights a week. They had a protocol. He liked to direct.")

Claim: "There were guys up there that ended up in situations that they didn't want to be in. It became apparent that Hef had more interest than I thought in John Dante — he wanted to sleep with him. When Hef would make advances on Dante, I could see Dante's face just fall ... and he couldn't stop it."
Who Said It: Theodore, who claimed an "obsessed" Hefner escalated from coaxing her to have sex with other women to bringing men into their bedroom that were "forced upon" her

Claim: "[Hef] asked me, he said, 'Do you like snuff films? ... It's a porn where, in the end, they kill the girl, and that's the big orgasm.' And I thought, 'Who'd watch that?!' And my reaction told him very clearly that he was not going down that highway with me. I thought, 'Who am I with? How can he like this? How can I care for him?' What kind of a mind is so far gone that it takes killing somebody to get them excited for that big release? It was opening my eyes to this monster — really, he was a monster."
Who Said It: Theodore, who described herself as "terrorized" by the time she ended her five-year relationship with Hefner at age 25

Playboy through the years
Hugh Hefner with the Playboy bunnies. Paul Harris/Getty


Originally aired: Feb. 7, 2022
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Claim: "Hef pretended he wasn't involved in any hard drug use at the mansion, but that was just a lie. … Quaaludes down the line were used for sex. Usually you just took a half. Now if you took two, you'd pass out. It was such a seduction, and the men knew this — that they could get girls to do just about anything they wanted if they gave them a quaalude."
Who Said It: Theodore, Hefner's girlfriend from 1976–81

Claim: "I was a drug mule for Hef. … Everybody did their own job, we all had to do exactly what he wanted, and we all did it like little puppets. If he gave you a job, it was almost an honor … it's crazy, but it made me feel like I was important to him. When you think about, here's a man 30 years older than me and he's sending a young girl for illegal substances — it was nothing to him, it was like sending me out for a quart of milk."
Who Said It: Theodore, who claimed she would pick up drugs "once a week"

Claim: "We would have prescriptions in some of our names. There were prescriptions in Sondra's name and Hef's name and my name. … We kept a desk calendar that would say 'Lisa's Q' or 'Hef's Q' or 'Sondra's Q' that enabled certainly four and sometimes five different prescriptions for the same medication to feed the machine. [All of those went] to Hef's bedroom, to his personal drawer — he had a drawer that none of us had access to, we gave them directly to Hef."
Who Said It: Lisa Loving Barrett, Hefner's executive assistant from 1977–89, who called sedatives "a necessary evil" to perpetuate Hefner and Playboy's partying lifestyle

Claim: Playboy Bunny "Adrienne [Pollack, who died of a quaalude overdose in 1973] and [his social secretary] Bobbie Arnstein supplied drugs for the Chicago mansion for parties for Hefner and his VIPs."
Who Said It: Masten, who worked in six Playboy Clubs across the country (Pollack's sister Beverly Enright also affirmed, "I firmly believe quite a bit that she was involved with the drug trafficking")

Claim: After Arnstein's 1974 conviction for intent to distribute cocaine, "I remember being in a large room crowded with men, and Bobbie and I were there. And the government told her that they had information that there was a contract out on her life and that she needed to be 'very careful of friend and foe.' So I don't think for either of us there was any question of how we were supposed to interpret that odd message."
Who Said It: Arnstein's defense lawyer Judge Joan B. Gottschall, recalling one of the tactics used by federal officers. In a news conference at the time, Hefner decried the "transparent and incredible pressure [campaign] on Bobbie" to make her fearful of him so that she would flip and help the government take down Playboy


Originally aired: Jan. 31, 2022
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Playboy through the years
Victor Blackman/Daily Express/FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty

Claim: "In the 10 years that I worked for Playboy, I would venture to say that there were probably 40 to 50 young women that were silenced by Playboy because of abuse, sexual abuse. ... It was a big thing for Hefner to not have that kind of heat, he did not want the LAPD coming down on him."
Who Said It: Masten, who trained new Playboy Club hires in her role as "Bunny Mother" starting in 1976

Claim: "Two young Bunnies were at [Soul Train host] Don Cornelius' house and they were separated. One was locked in one room and the other was in another room. They were tied up and bound, and the sister could hear her screaming. There were wooden objects that you were sodomized with and she could hear her other sister being brutalized."
Who Said It: Masten, who also dated Playboy security head Joe Piastro during her tenure with the company

(Cornelius' son, Tony Cornelius, told PEOPLE, in part, that Masten's account is an "unbelievable story without real proof" and "salaciousness.")

Claim: A group of Bunnies from the Playboy Club located in Great Gorge, New Jersey, "were drugged. And they were raped. And they videotaped them. They were kept there for a couple of days and then they were released. They were told if they told anybody that the videos would go out and broadcast the videos and that their career would be over and their lives would be over."
Who Said It: Suzanne Charneski, a Great Gorge Bunny from 1979–82

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.

Claim: "If you didn't get [your weight] down for next month, you were suspended until you got your weight down. ... A lot of girls had kidney infections 'cause you were cinched in. We used to go into the ladies room and take our shoes off, which were encrusted with blood, and stick them in the toilet bowl and keep flushing it with, like, a whirlpool to get the swelling down hope that your shoes could fit back in."
Who Said It: Masten, whose painful memories of the Bunny costume were echoed by Charneski and Susanne Singer, who worked at the Playboy Club in Century City, California, from 1972–84


Originally aired: Jan. 24, 2022
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Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner
Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner. Michael Bezjian/WireImage

Claim: "I was sitting next to Hef, he leaned over and he asked me if I wanted to take a quaalude. I said something like, 'No I don't do drugs.' And he goes, 'Yeah I typically don't either but they used to call these thigh openers in the '70s.' ... [Sex with Hefner was] all very mechanical and robotic. ... It was really gross to me how Hef didn't want to use protection. The impact it had on me was so heavy. I never expected to be the first person to have sex that night or pushed into it."
Who Said It: Madison, one of Hefner's multiple girlfriends from 2001–08

Claim: "The reason I think the mansion was very cult-like is because we were all kind of gaslit and expected to think of Hef as like this really good guy. And you started to feel like 'Oh, he's not what they say in the media, he's just a nice man,' " she continued. "Another thing that reminds me of a cult is how it was so easy to get isolated from the outside world there. You had a 9 o'clock curfew. You were encouraged to not have friends over — you weren't really allowed to leave unless it was like a family holiday."
Who Said It: Madison, who was Hefner's "No. 1 girlfriend" during her time starring on E!'s The Girls Next Door

Claim: Hefner felt "more in control if we all looked identical. ... I got to a point not too far into my time there, I think it was only like six months in, where I kind of broke under that pressure and was being made to feel like I needed to look exactly like everybody else. My hair was really long naturally. And I was just like, I'm gonna go chop my hair off so I can at least look a little different. I came back with short hair. And he flipped out on me. And he was screaming at me and said it made me look old, hard and cheap."
Who Said It: Madison, whose increasingly tense dynamic with Hefner (including when he allegedly called her a "c---") was corroborated by Girls Next Door costar Bridget Marquardt

Playboy through the years
Paul Hawthorne/Getty

Claim: "When I lived at the mansion, I was afraid to leave. Something that was always lingering in the back of my mind, I think since the very beginning, was that if I left there was just this mountain of revenge porn just waiting to come out. When you would go out with Hef, he's taking all kinds of naked pictures of these women when we're wasted out of our minds. And he would print out like eight copies for him and all the women, you pass them around. It was just gross."
Who Said It: Madison, who first spoke out about her past relationship in her 2015 book Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny

Playboy through the years


Originally aired: Jan. 24, 2022
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Claim: "Hugh Hefner was in his own world. If you look at photos, he thought he was the king, the emperor. We were just servants. Everybody else was invisible. He didn't want to know us, he just gave us directions, we had to memorize them. He drank around 35, 40 Pepsis a day. I had to wrap them in a special red napkin according to the instruction. He ate mostly M&Ms — 2 or 3 lbs. a day — and red licorice. His condoms were stacked in a certain place in the headboard. There were 150 rules. We had to follow them exactly. We were told, 'You cannot talk to the girls, you're not their friend. You don't work for the girls, you work for Mr. Hefner.'"
Who Said It: Tetenbaum

Claim: "I didn't realize what was going on at the time, that Playboy really wasn't about freedom of expression. This wasn't about, like, female empowerment, this was something that was much deeper, that was much more sinister. ... I was allowed to sit with [the men]. I would see the men looking at different negatives of girls from different shoots. They would sort of quiz me on how to critique a girl that they would consider up to their standards. And so I would rattle off what I knew they were looking for ... what [a woman's] entire physique should look like, and what size everything should be — for sure, it was a size 0. I was trained to view women in the way they did: as commodities."
Who Said It: Saginor, who claimed she got her first plastic surgery at age 15

Claim: "As I got older, I would creep out of my bedroom more and more. I was just very curious what was happening in all the bedrooms down the hall. And I would see some of these girls doing things that I didn't recognize. I would see them naked with men all around them, and I would see them on the floor on all fours, and they were on drugs. And it just really, it scared me. The men were laughing, and I just remember thinking, 'I never want to be like these girls, running around like they're animals.' ... This wasn't about the empowerment of women, it was the breaking down of a woman."
Who Said It: Saginor, who detailed her experiences — including an alleged sexual affair with a Playmate when Saginor was under the age of 18 — in 2005's Playground: A Childhood Lost Inside the Playboy Mansion

Claim: "It was cult-like. The women had been groomed and led to believe they were part of this family. And he really did believe he owned these women. We had Playmates that overdosed, there were Playmates that committed suicide. I really thought that if I wrote a book, maybe all of this stuff would go away, maybe it would stop. Hefner even sent someone to buy me off. When you get someone that powerful to be that fearful, anything could happen — anything. I had a bodyguard. I was that afraid."
Who Said It: Garcia, whose claim was backed up by Tetenbaum and Saginor based on their experiences writing Playboy tell-alls

In a statement just before the docuseries' premiere, Playboy's current leadership denounced Hefner's alleged "abhorrent actions" and detailed a commitment to "positive change" under new leadership. "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," the statement read. "As a brand with sex positivity at its core, we believe safety, security and accountability are paramount, and anything less is inexcusable."

The statement also noted that "Today's Playboy is not Hugh Hefner's Playboy," with the PLBY Group leadership team reassuring staff that the Hefner family is no longer associated with Playboy, which is now made up of more than 80 percent female employees.

Secrets of Playboy airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on A&E.

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