RIP Hugh Hefner


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So many sad bunnies


For all the times I eagerly waited for my parents to leave the house so I could look at my stash without fear, thanks.


Well, rest in peace. For the good things you did, thank you.

Scarab Sages

He had a good life, and brought joy to many. R.I.P., good sir!

Grand Lodge

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Hef and Margaret Sanger -- the two most important people in modern (though not contemporary) culture. Without them we'd still be in the pathetic, conservative Victorian Age regarding personal relationships. RIP Hef!


May he rest peacefully.

Scarab Sages

To the man who made smoking jackets the epitome of cool, thank you!

...I'm not missing the point or anything here, am I?


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I can only imagine what it must feel like to have begun when publishing images of a bare midriff were bordering on obscene, and lived until the excess of the modern internet. Yet despite that anything goes attitude that arose, he kept things classy at his own publishing house. Whether one agrees or disagrees with his pursuits, I can only think of a handful of people who have had such a great impact on the culture of the U.S.


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He was a serial rapist.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hef helped bring sexuality front-and-center in America, making it a subject to be openly acknowledged rather than shamefully hidden away. For this - and so many other things he's done - he will be gratefully remembered.


Evidence of this, Irontruth?

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Sissyl wrote:
Evidence of this, Irontruth?

I've seen a whole host of various hot takes and recent articles condemning his abuses and overall scummy behavior. I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to find a few.

Anyway, good riddance. An exploitative boss who's open and blatant about sexuality is still an exploitative boss.


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So "lots of people have written bad things about him and he has scummy behaviour" is enough to say "he is guilty of several rapes"? That's callous.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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When I say "condemning his abuses" I mean he was abusive in his relationships with women and as an employer.

Is that callous? Maybe, but maybe so is making this thread where I'm apparently expected to overlook the exploitation of a multi-millionaire just because he died recently. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


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I've heard and read lots of stories about him, detailing him as everything from a nonsensically wealthy pimp to a sexually liberated saint. No idea who to believe. I think it may just be a matter of who gets their story out first.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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There's never going to be just one story.

Anyway, I don't care how "sexually liberated" he was, he was a parasite who made a fortune off the backs of sex workers. That doesn't deserve a polite RIP thread imo.


mechaPoet wrote:

There's never going to be just one story.

Anyway, I don't care how "sexually liberated" he was, he was a parasite who made a fortune off the backs of sex workers. That doesn't deserve a polite RIP thread imo.

I think he was already rich.

I respect your right to dislike him, however. I am a bit confused as to how to feel about him. Lots of weird stories about him out there in general.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As far as I knew, modelling doesn't make you a "sex worker".


captain yesterday wrote:
As far as I knew, modelling doesn't make you a "sex worker".

Oh no there was a looooooot of sex work going on at the parties at the mansion itself. A whole lot.


It always seemed odd to me that Hef was so respected because he was a pornographer. I don't think he would have been so easily forgiven for his behavior if he was in any other line of work.


Scythia wrote:
I can only imagine what it must feel like to have begun when publishing images of a bare midriff were bordering on obscene, and lived until the excess of the modern internet. Yet despite that anything goes attitude that arose, he kept things classy at his own publishing house. Whether one agrees or disagrees with his pursuits, I can only think of a handful of people who have had such a great impact on the culture of the U.S.

So my philosophy professor pointed out yesterday the sufficient (though not sole) reason he has always despised HH and the PB motto:

Enjoy the "Class"


Sissyl wrote:
Evidence of this, Irontruth?

Not interested in debating you. If you want to feel sorry for him, that's your choice.

Liberty's Edge

How many people know there was a Playboy Mansion in Lake Geneva, Wisconson?

Scarab Sages

So here's something I noticed a day or two ago. It seems worth pointing out.


Yeah... No...

Guy was a creep. Did he have some positive effects on the world around him? Yeah but there is a pretty solid body of evidence damning him as a person. He did fight for a modicum of racial equality, free speech, and sexual liberation but a lot of the precedents he set also harmed to those causes.

(Take this with a grain of salt because I really don't feel like researching the man and sifting through effusive in memoriam puff pieces and venomous hard right anti-porn rhetoric)

His ideas about sexual liberation seemed hilariously lopsided, more about men's rights to look at porn than really encouraging healthy sexual dynamics. The paradigm he set with Playboy encouraged the legitimization of the porn industry in many respects but also set a tone of exploitative empires pretty much until the internet started breaking them back down into a cottage industry and shook up the power dynamic. It also served to encourage a specific body type as the standard of beauty and inspire generations of body image issues.

Racially, as far as I can tell, it was more a matter of him running an entertainment magazine. This is not to denigrate the exposure Playboy gave PoC but honestly I'd put more emphasis on the writers and editors there, rather than a man willing to take a gamble with minimal risk and then sit back to rake in the bills when it paid off. It was an entertainment magazine writing about the most interesting things in entertainment news and at the time PoC were starting to establish themselves as being newsworthy despite the efforts of the white establishment.

Finally, free speech. This was clearly a man intent on building an empire on restricted media. Of course he is going to fight for free speech.

On the other hand there are accusations of him exploiting, manipulating and abusing his compensated girlfriends, pimping them out, and generally being a bit of a creep. Towards the end, he was something of an embarrassing dinosaur rendered mostly irrelevant by changing social mores but still good enough to throw money at causes that would likely benefit him.

I'm frankly ambivalent about him and his death but I definitely agree that the darker side of him should be remembered when speaking of him.

TL;DR: Had some good moments, had some bad moments, not a crusader for [insert cause here]


De mortuis nihil nisi bonum and De mortuis nil nisi bene


"We assume a special attitude towards the dead, something almost like admiration for one who has accomplished a very difficult feat. We suspend criticism of him, overlooking whatever wrongs he may have done, and issue the command, De mortuis nil nisi bene: we act as if we were justified in singing his praises at the funeral oration, and inscribe only what is to his advantage on the tombstone. This consideration for the dead, which he really no longer needs, is more important to us than the truth, and, to most of us, certainly, it is more important than consideration for the living."

-Sigmund Freud, Thoughts for the Times on War and Death

(I had to wiki up a translation and this was one of the first things to crop up. Pretty ironic considering.)

Hugh Hefner got plenty of good publicity in life and sold his image as America's charmingly libertine uncle and later grandpa. There are good things to remember him for doing but we should always remember the dead in their entirety.

A good articles on his dark side: VICE


Fair. I would probably wait till after the mourning period however.


Also fair, but when dealing with public figures and especially ones in the entertainment world relevance fades very quickly. If this sort of thing is held back until after a considerate mourning period you run the very real risk of people not caring anymore, having cemented their opinions on the subject already.

If it was someone the two of us were personally acquainted with who had passed away and you only had good memories of them and I happened to know of some shady things they had done, I would certainly be respecting that mourning period.

Like I said earlier, I'm pretty ambivalent about the whole thing. There was only one famous death that actually affected me in a personal way. I just felt it was important to provide some perspective on the man.

Edited: Cleaned up a bit of word soup and added some context.

Grand Lodge

Whenever a controversial figure dies there's a whole slew of false accusations/misinformation spread about them by people who want to push a personal agenda since they can no longer defend themself.

The truth is Hugh obviously wasn't a perfect person. He did some good things in the world along with some bad like most of us. But you're delusional if you believe every bad thing someone claims the guy did.

Scarab Sages

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Master Han Del of the Web wrote:

"We assume a special attitude towards the dead, something almost like admiration for one who has accomplished a very difficult feat. We suspend criticism of him, overlooking whatever wrongs he may have done, and issue the command, De mortuis nil nisi bene: we act as if we were justified in singing his praises at the funeral oration, and inscribe only what is to his advantage on the tombstone. This consideration for the dead, which he really no longer needs, is more important to us than the truth, and, to most of us, certainly, it is more important than consideration for the living."

-Sigmund Freud, Thoughts for the Times on War and Death

I'm definitely with you and Sigmund on this one; there's no reason on earth (or beyond it) a person's death should magically alter their reputation (though in the curious case of Michael Jackson, it might have actually been fair).

Regarding the article, I would caution against being quick to believe any negative claims made against any figure/group associated with social upheaval if those claims were made or gained traction in the 1980s - that was a period of mass confabulation in America, the same period when stories of child-murdering Satanists haunting the suburbs, scapegoating and slander against Vietnam War resisters, crypto-racist smears against "welfare queens," radical and sudden rewriting of the "Biblical view" of abortion, and of course, all manner of horrible conspiracy gossip surrounding role-playing games were all pushed into the mainstream and crystallized into a litany of toxic contemporary mythology, most of which continues to haunt us.

I myself am kind of made of stone below the waist, so I guess I'm the farthest thing from a Hugh Hefner expert, but having seen for myself how ruthless, cruel, stupid, and insidiously effective social conservatives can be in defaming anyone or anything that catches their ire, I see a fair amount of reason to err on the skeptical side regarding the more damning accounts.


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Irontruth wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
Evidence of this, Irontruth?
Not interested in debating you. If you want to feel sorry for him, that's your choice.

What a surprise. You're just claiming he was a serial rapist, not bothering to provide evidence. Nice.

That he was a sleazeball, I completely agree. Precisely everything I have seen about him has been extremely clear on that.

He still did some important things, and if he did rape somebody, it would be good to see more than unsubstantiated claims. If a number of the women who came forward would have reported things to the police instead, this discussion would have been easier.


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Jurassic Pratt wrote:

Whenever a controversial figure dies there's a whole slew of false accusations/misinformation spread about them by people who want to push a personal agenda since they can no longer defend themself.

The truth is Hugh obviously wasn't a perfect person. He did some good things in the world along with some bad like most of us. But you're delusional if you believe every bad thing someone claims the guy did.

Whenever a controversial figure dies there's a whole slew of defenders eulogizing his virtues (real or imagined) and trashing anyone pointing out his flaws for speaking ill of the dead.


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No expert, but I haven't seen any accusations of rape, just that he was an R. Kelly-style creep (in fact, while reading about accounts of life on the Ranch, it reminded me of nothing so much as Jim DeRogatis's reporting on the latter's "sex cult.")

The most damning, well in this respect anyway, thing I've read is the account of Holly Madison's in which he unsuccessfully tried to ply her with quaaludes and, when rebuffed, remarked how he normally didn't approve of drugs, but 'ludes used to be called 'thigh-openers' in the seventies. Or something like that. Pretty suggestive, but there's enough levels of ambiguity there. ("They used to be called..." instead of "I used to call them, etc.") Also, there was apparently some kind of Hefner-quaalude-Bill Cosby connection. Although, I can't pretend that I have read any more than a fraction of what's circulating around.

Personally, my only worry after reading some of these articles is that I will never be able to watch The House Bunny in good conscience again.


thejeff wrote:
Jurassic Pratt wrote:

Whenever a controversial figure dies there's a whole slew of false accusations/misinformation spread about them by people who want to push a personal agenda since they can no longer defend themself.

The truth is Hugh obviously wasn't a perfect person. He did some good things in the world along with some bad like most of us. But you're delusional if you believe every bad thing someone claims the guy did.

Whenever a controversial figure dies there's a whole slew of defenders eulogizing his virtues (real or imagined) and trashing anyone pointing out his flaws for speaking ill of the dead.

And rightly so. Credit where credit is due. The bad stuff people did, it's a bit late to bring it up after they are dead. You want to nail s@~~ to someone, do it while they live. Or accept that not doing so reflects badly on you.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

That doesn't change the fact they did bad stuff.


Sissyl wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Jurassic Pratt wrote:

Whenever a controversial figure dies there's a whole slew of false accusations/misinformation spread about them by people who want to push a personal agenda since they can no longer defend themself.

The truth is Hugh obviously wasn't a perfect person. He did some good things in the world along with some bad like most of us. But you're delusional if you believe every bad thing someone claims the guy did.

Whenever a controversial figure dies there's a whole slew of defenders eulogizing his virtues (real or imagined) and trashing anyone pointing out his flaws for speaking ill of the dead.
And rightly so. Credit where credit is due. The bad stuff people did, it's a bit late to bring it up after they are dead. You want to nail s!@+ to someone, do it while they live. Or accept that not doing so reflects badly on you.

And if you did bring it up while they were alive? Do you still have to shut up and let the praise go unchallenged?


If you did bring it up when they were alive, good on you. It still doesn't excuse blaming dead people for anything without a shred of evidence. That is just vicious.


I'm just trying to imagine another employer telling his employees that if they ever decided to stop participating in his drug fueled sex orgies then they would be fired. How many people would defend any other publisher that had kind of policy?


I got the sense from the half-dozen article I read that the "if you stop participating in drug fueled sex orgies you get fired" line was employed with his personal harem. I also got the sense, from the $1,000 weekly "allowance" (minus fines for such "infractions" as staying out past curfew, etc.) and other such talk that they weren't, technically, his employees, so I'm guessing that's how he got around any pesky labor/sexual harassment laws.

But that's just a guess. I don't know how that played out in the publishing empire or the clubs. I'm not really much up on the life of Hugh Hefner and only just discovered, like, three minutes ago, that he had a five-year long reality show that aired during the years I lived without television.


My understanding was his "girlfriends" were exclusively drawn from the models he employed and deciding to no longer be his girlfriend also meant no longer being one of his models.


Knight who says Meh wrote:
My understanding was his "girlfriends" were exclusively drawn from the models he employed and deciding to no longer be his girlfriend also meant no longer being one of his models.

Having a hard time finding any "class" in that either, regardless of its legality.


Sissyl wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
Evidence of this, Irontruth?
Not interested in debating you. If you want to feel sorry for him, that's your choice.

What a surprise. You're just claiming he was a serial rapist, not bothering to provide evidence. Nice.

That he was a sleazeball, I completely agree. Precisely everything I have seen about him has been extremely clear on that.

He still did some important things, and if he did rape somebody, it would be good to see more than unsubstantiated claims. If a number of the women who came forward would have reported things to the police instead, this discussion would have been easier.

I can provide you with evidence of him publishing nude photos of a ten year old Brooke Shields but I don't think Paizo would appreciate it.


I just read more depressing articles and wikipedia pages.

Chose to go with the small sample of women who appeared on The Girls Next Door. Three of the women on the show, apparently, weren't in the magazine, became part of his harem, and then were featured in the magazine as publicity for the show. One of them, the one he married, had appeared in the magazine, then joined the harem, then appeared on the show. The twins, apparently, joined the harem, then appeared in the magazine, then quit the harem, while continuing to appear on the show.

I also read that one of the "rules" of the harem were that they weren't allowed to work, but how that fits in with being a model in the magazine or appearing on the show, I have no idea. I presume they must have gotten paid for the show (they had contracts), but, I'm guessing, not by him.

Anyway, I agree, this is just a technicality; Sir Meh's post got me to wondering how he got away with the obvious labor/sexual harassment issues. Regardless of legality, he seems like he was pretty gross.

(Although I did feel some sympathy towards him on account of the tales of the dogs always going potty on his carpets; reminds me of the dogs with whom I currently live.)


Knight who says Meh wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
Evidence of this, Irontruth?
Not interested in debating you. If you want to feel sorry for him, that's your choice.

What a surprise. You're just claiming he was a serial rapist, not bothering to provide evidence. Nice.

That he was a sleazeball, I completely agree. Precisely everything I have seen about him has been extremely clear on that.

He still did some important things, and if he did rape somebody, it would be good to see more than unsubstantiated claims. If a number of the women who came forward would have reported things to the police instead, this discussion would have been easier.

I can provide you with evidence of him publishing nude photos of a ten year old Brooke Shields but I don't think Paizo would appreciate it.

Wikipedia's got an account that's SFW:

Brooke Shields photograph controversy

Craziest part, I think, is that when an older Brooke Shields tried to prevent the photo from being used in the future, a judge ruled that it wasn't kiddie porn and that she had to abide by the contract signed by her mother.


I had completely forgotten about the Dorothy Stratten story:

Hugh Hefner, the murder of Dorothy Stratten and the dark side of Playboy

After she was dead, film director Peter Bogdanovich, (The Last Picture Show, years later Lorraine Bracco's therapist on The Sopranos), who was dating her at the time of her murder, accused Hefner of raping Stratten in his '84 account of her death The Killing of the Unicorn. Hefner fired back with accusations that Bogdanovich had seduced her 12-year-old sister. A public relations and litigation war then broke out between the two, with both sides essentially retracting their accusations.

Beats me.

[Postscript to this seems to be that Bogdanovich married Louise Stratten eight years later and were married for twelve years before divorcing.]


Sissyl wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
Evidence of this, Irontruth?
Not interested in debating you. If you want to feel sorry for him, that's your choice.

What a surprise. You're just claiming he was a serial rapist, not bothering to provide evidence. Nice.

That he was a sleazeball, I completely agree. Precisely everything I have seen about him has been extremely clear on that.

He still did some important things, and if he did rape somebody, it would be good to see more than unsubstantiated claims. If a number of the women who came forward would have reported things to the police instead, this discussion would have been easier.

I'm not here for you, I don't owe you anything.

Besides, have I ever said anything that's changed your mind on a topic? How many times do I should I try before I realize it's not going to do anything? (and on the flip side, how many times do you have to fail at changing my mind to realize that it doesn't work?)

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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There are plenty of more applicable places on the internet to eulogize this person than paizo.com.

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