While one might assume that Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Bunnies had it all, living it up in a giant mansion and partying all day, the truth is that the real lived experience of the women was much darker. In fact, many former Bunnies have come forward and claimed that they were abused and forced to take part in rather bizarre rituals with Hefner himself.
- Everyone who lived there had to have sex with him. According to Holly Madison in her tell-all book Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny, anyone who lived in the Playboy Mansion knew they were going to have to get down and dirty with Hef at some point.
- But that’s not the weirdest thing. The girls were expected to change into matching plaid pajamas before getting freaky with each other while Hefner watched porn, smoked weed, and got himself off looking at them. They all took turns doing things to Hugh, but he always finished himself off, Madison claimed. “There was zero intimacy involved. No kissing, nothing,” she wrote. “It was so brief that I can’t even recall what it felt like beyond having a heavy body on top of mine.” Kendra Wilkinson also agreed that these experiences were a bit traumatic, writing in her book Being Kendra: Cribs, Cocktails, and Getting My Sexy Back, “I had to be very drunk or smoke lots of weed to survive those nights – there was no way around it.” Yikes!
- Hefner was apparently very emotionally abusive. According to former Bunnies, he would regularly insult them about their appearance. Madison recalled one of many occasions in her book, writing, “‘Don’t ever wear red lipstick again,’ [Hefner] warned me in a low voice and turned toward the door. He paused and turned back around to survey my reaction. Deciding he hadn’t done enough damage, he served me one final blow before storming out of the room: ‘You look old, hard and cheap.'” Wilkinson corroborated this story, remembering that Hef once told her she had “gotten bigger” and should go to the gym to lose weight. “I had this whole mansion and a great life to enjoy, and all I was doing was lying around and eating. I felt so lazy and miserable. This was supposed to be paradise, but for me, it wasn’t,” she said.
- They had to beg for money they were owed. Each of the Playboy Bunnies is said to have received an “allowance” of $1,000 a week. However, when they went to collect it, they ended up feeling like beggars who were forced to listen to a list of complaints and suggestions from Hef before he handed over the cash. As Izabella St. James wrote in her book Bunny Tales: Behind Closed Doors at the Playboy Mansion, “We had to go to Hef’s room, wait while he picked up all the dog poo off the carpet — and then ask for our allowance. We all hated this process. Hef would always use the occasion to bring up anything he wasn’t happy about in the relationship. Most of the complaints were about the lack of harmony among the girlfriends — or your lack of sexual participation in the ‘parties’ he held in his bedroom. If we’d been out of town for any reason and missed one of the official ‘going out’ nights he wouldn’t want to give us the allowance. He used it as a weapon.”
- The women often felt trapped in the mansion. Each of the Playboy Bunnies had a 9 p.m. curfew by which time they had to be back in the house. “Nights were hard because while my Playmate friends got to go out and party, I would have to be home by 9 p.m.,” Wilkinson claimed. “I’d get a text message from a girl that read, ‘Having so much fun in Vegas. Wish you were here! Partying with all these football players’’ and that was devastating. I felt so trapped and angry when I was missing out on something good.” Needless to say, it wasn’t a great experience.