A woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by another guest at the famous Playboy Mansion made up the story because she arrived home late after a night of partying to find an angry boyfriend waiting, Hugh Hefner told TODAY during an exclusive interview that aired Monday.
“She invented a story. And that’s the story behind the story,” said Hefner, the founder of the men’s magazine with the distinctive bunny brand. “There was no sexual assault.”
Last week, prosecutors announced they would not file charges in connection with a sexual assault complaint made July 31, saying only there was insufficient evidence.
The real story, Hefner told TODAY’s Michael Okwu, is that a female guest he did not identify concocted the assault claim to assuage her angry boyfriend.
“A girl who came to the party without her boyfriend had a good time, came home very late to a very upset boyfriend,” Hefner said. “And that's the story behind the story ... I’m sure that a rape did not occur. There’s no question about it.”
The complaint was filed last week by a 22-year-old woman who claimed she had been assaulted at Hefner’s sybaritic playhouse by a 17-year-old male. She said she may have been unconscious when the assault began.
But by week’s end, the woman told police she didn’t want to pursue the complaint, and investigators could not corroborate her charges.
Hef settling down?
Hefner commented about the incident during a wide-ranging interview in which he discussed his lifestyle, the Playboy phenomenon and his plans to one day commit to one of his three live-in girlfriends.
Hefner founded Playboy magazine in 1953, and through a sexual revolution and the explosion of adult sites on the Internet, the 81-year-old unreformed hedonist has managed to remain a source of fascination.
In 2005, E! launched a reality series about Hefner’s girlfriends — Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson — and their lives in the mansion. Called “The Girls Next Door,” it became the highest-rated program on E! and breathed new life into the Playboy brand.
“Are you surprised by this?” Okwu asked Hefner.
“Yes, yes. Not only that it is so hugely popular, but also that 70 percent of the audience is women — young women fascinated with life at the Playboy Mansion,” he said.
“It’s a fantasy. You know, I think it’s a guilty pleasure and a fantasy for women.”
Hefner once had seven live-in girlfriends. “What I really did about four years ago is downsized to a very special three,” he said, adding that he fully appreciates the irony of the statement.
Ultimately, he said, he will get down to one girlfriend, Holly Madison.
“She is the love of my life,” Hefner said dreamily. “This is the sweetest time of my life.”