US president Trump has been a constant presence at the Playboy mansion for decades and even appeared on the cover of the magazine in the early nighties. To Hugh Hefner’s son, the association is a total embarrassment.
Hugh Hefner and Donald Trump bonded for years around scantily clad models and the hedonist lifestyle. Trump was a recurrent guest at their famous Playboy mansion parties and he even invited Hefner to his reality show The Apprentice to talk about his entrepreneurial experience building his adult entertainment brand.
Trump also made a cameo in Playboy’s softcore porn film, Moscow Golden Showers, oops sorry, Centerfold in 2000.
When Trump won the Republican candidate nomination in 2016, beating the ultra conservative Ted Cruz, known for his motto to “eliminate all sexual activity that doesn’t lead to procreation”, Hefner celebrated the victory in his magazine with an essay titled The Conservative Sex Movement.
The pipe smoking magnate wrote at the time: “Instead, voters nominated Donald Trump, a thrice-married New York entrepreneur who once owned the Miss USA pageant, over Cruz, the son of a pastor. It’s a sign of the massive changes in the ‘family values party’ and proof of…a sexual revolution in the Republican Party.”
The falling out between the two began when Trump started to align with the most retrograde religious factions in the party, appointing Mike Pence as his vice-president, a guy who’s known for advocating against pro-choice legislation and for being a vocal opponent of gay marriage.
However, the drop that spilled the cup came back in August when Trump rolled out his ban on transgender people serving in the military.
Hefner was a public supporter of civil and LGBT rights, using his magazine as a platform to speak out on high-profile issues like same-sex marriage and sodomy laws. In fact, his whole Playboy operation was a frontal attack on puritan views of the 1950s and his magazine was one of the cultural elements that helped spark the Sexual Revolution.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Hefner’s son Cooper said about the elected US president, “We don’t respect the guy”.
Cooper Hefner went on to compare the current political and cultural climate to the one his dad faced in 1958. And stated his dislike for their former association with the reality star turned president.
“There’s a personal embarrassment because Trump is somebody who has been on our cover.”
He explains: “Yes, there are lifestyle components to Playboy, but it’s really a philosophy about freedom and, right now, as history is repeating itself in real time, I want Playboy to be central to that conversation.”