Hugh Hefner On His Role In Fighting Segregation

Hef appeared on Larry King Live last night in support of the forthcoming documentary Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist, and Rebel. Here, he discusses how he fought racial segregation with his TV show Playboy After Dark, and denies setting feminism back.

The documentary—directed by Academy Award winner Brigitte Berman—chronicles how Hef's public image as a womanizer and party-er contrasted with his political activism for First Amendment rights, pro-choice, and social justice. Granted, I'm a sucker for any archival footage of the heyday of Playboy, but this film looks awesome.

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Playboy was one of the first companies to offer full tuition reimbursement to their female employees. Many of the Playboy Club Bunnies put themselves through college in an era where women of average means did not have this luxury. Hef was also instrumental in challenging laws restricting women's access to birth control and played a big part in Roe v. Wade.

Playboy has always been pro-women. I may loathe the idea of "beauty" that's come to define the magazine within the last three decades, and I can't stand to look at any of those idiots who played his girlfriends on that TV show, but I will always adore Hef.