STATEMENT: Hugh Hefner Leaves Behind a Legacy of Sexual Exploitation, and a Public Health Crisis

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Statement by Patrick Trueman, President of NCOSE

Washington, DC – Following Hugh Hefner’s death, the media has erupted in praise for his alleged championing of free speech through the pornographic magazine, Playboy. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation provides a stark contrasting perspective on the damage Hugh Hefner left in his wake.

“Hugh Hefner leaves behind a legacy of sexual exploitation and public health harms,” said Patrick Trueman, President of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “Playboy popularized the commodification of the female body in soft-core pornographic magazines in the 1950s, and it laid the groundwork for the public health crisis of Internet pornography that America is experiencing today. Reams of research show that Internet pornography is linked to neurological harms, sexual dysfunctions, and increases in rates of sexual violence.”

“Hugh Hefner was not a champion of free speech. He was a pioneer in the sexual objectification and use of women,” Trueman continued. “Research shows that Playboy historically portrays female sexuality as subordination and universal availability to the male gaze. How can our society accept, let alone applaud, these messages about the value of women when we are simultaneously struggling with campus sexual assault, military sexual assault, and the culture of sexual harassment in Silicon Valley?”

“It’s time to acknowledge the reality that Playboy is actually just another brand for old-fashioned misogyny.”

NCOSE wishes for peace for the surviving members of Hugh Hefner’s family.

Learn more about the public health harms of pornography at endsexualexploitation.org/publichealth

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The Numbers

300+

NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.

100+

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.

93

NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.

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