Published On: Fri, Sep 29th, 2017

‘Is this a great liberator?’: Hefner’s legacy put on trial during heated Newsnight debate

The author and political activist disputed the Playboy founder’s behaviour towards women and challenged his stature as a liberator.

She said: “I think that it’s weird to have all of this cultural hagiography of him as a great liberator, first amendment protector.

“What he did was innovate paying underpaid women really big sums of money that they couldn’t say no to, to take off their clothes, and you could say it was certainly liberating of part of a very reductive version of masculine libido to have this steady stream of naked women, cheap at that time.

“However, I think that you should reverse the genders for a minute and see ‘is this a great liberator?’”

The author was insistent that reversing the gender of Hefner to a “91 year old woman” who “made millions and millions of dollars putting young, underpaid twenty-something men of different races into chipmunk outfits and encouraging them to show women their genitals so the women could masturbate to them” to try and alter the common perception of the man as a hero.

Ms Wolf’s persistence to stain the legacy of Hefner stood in the face of the celebration of memories that have taken place since the icon passed away yesterday.

Brigitte Berman, Hugh Hefner’s biographer, was eager to snap back at Wolf and preserve the heritage of Playboy’s founder.

She asserted: “There was nothing pornographic at all in Playboy or you know, anywhere.

“He began by showing the girl next door, which was very important to him, he believed and he loved the beauty of women.

“But more than anything he believed in what was going on in the country, he believed in civil rights and he did many many things to further civil rights.”

The heated debate resulted in a litany of threats by Ms Wolf to leave the show while on air after Ms Berman persisted in protecting the legacy of Hefner.

The highly contested opinions resulted in an outburst by Ms Berman that quickly put an end to the argument.

She stated: “She’s on one side, I’m on the other.”

Playboy Enterprises confirmed yesterday that Hugh Hefner died aged 91.

Playboy magazine was founded more than 60 years ago to create a niche upscale men’s magazine, combining images of nude women with in-depth articles and interviews

A spokesman for the company said: “Hugh M. Hefner, the American icon who in 1953 introduced the world to Playboy magazine and built the company into one of the most recognisable American global brands in history, peacefully passed away today from natural causes at his home, The Playboy Mansion, surrounded by loved ones.”

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