Playboy Responds to 'Cult' Gaslighting Allegations From Holly Madison

Playboy is supporting Holly Madison after the former Girls Next Door star alleged she was "gaslit" during her time dating Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion. Madison shared in a sneak peek for A&E's upcoming docuseries Secrets of Playboy that she felt the mansion was "very cult-like" looking back on her time there, and that all of the women living there were meant to look at Hefner as "this really good guy."

"And you started to feel like, 'Oh, he's not what they say in the media, he's just a nice man,'" she says. "Another thing that reminds me of a cult is how easy it is to get so isolated from the outside world there. You had a 9 o'clock curfew. You were encouraged to not have friends over. You weren't really allowed to leave unless it was like a family holiday."

Playboy addressed Madison's experience in a statement to E! News, saying, "Today's Playboy is not Hugh Hefner's Playboy. We trust and validate these women and their stories and we strongly support those individuals who have come forward to share their experiences."

The company continued, "As a brand with sex positivity at its core, we believe safety, security, and accountability are paramount. The most important thing we can do right now is actively listen and learn from their experiences." Noting that the organization is comprised now of more than 80% women, Playboy continued, "We will never be afraid to confront the parts of our legacy as a company that do not reflect our values today" and "we are committed to our ongoing evolution as a company and to driving positive change for our communities."

Madison is not the only former Playmate to come forward recently about their experience. Hefner's third wife, Crystal Hefner, shared earlier this month on social media that she had removed "everything fake" from her body and was embracing her more authentic self. "I don't know whether I felt empowered by dressing scantily clad, showing cleavage, etc ...or if I just felt it was expected of me," she wrote on Instagram, "but now I can confidently and 100% proudly say, modesty is what empowers me these days."


The former Girls Next Door alum added of her time in the Playboy Mansion, "In a lot of ways it was a sanctuary to me, but in other ways, it was my prison. I'm still healing from certain experiences... It feels very contradictory at times to reflect back. I really want to start opening up and being honest with you guys about it all."