It wasn't all bunny ears and star-studded parties in the Playboy world—at least not according to the women in this new docuseries.
Secrets of Playboy, premiering Jan. 24 on A&E, dives into what many women in that world have called the "dark sides" of Playboy. In the trailer, exclusive to E! News, the Bunny Mother, PJ Masten, says "there was a secret world" behind Hugh Hefner's billion-dollar empire.
The 10-episode documentary features archival footage of Hefner with Anna Nicole Smith, Pamela Anderson, the Girls Next Door and Jenny McCarthy. "Playboy was all about powerful men preying on beautiful young women," Masten said. "The Playmates, the Bunnies, let's not forget the girlfriends."
"It was a manipulation from the beginning," Sondra Theodore, Hefner's ex-girlfriend explained. "[Hefner] groomed us all."
"Really, he was a monster," Theodore recalled. "The things he got turned on by."
Playboy told E! News in a statement, "We trust and validate women and their stories and strongly support the individuals who have come forward to share their experiences in this documentary. As a brand with sex positivity at its core, we believe safety, security, and accountability are paramount."
The statement continued, "After nearly 70 years in business, there are many elements of Playboy's long history of which we are immensely proud, and there are elements we find unworthy of our principles. Today, we strive to live up to the positive aspects of our legacy, and are proud of the work we have done in recent years to stand for freedom and equality while advancing our mission of pleasure for all. The Hefner family is no longer associated with Playboy."
In the trailer for Secrets of Playboy, which "unravels the glamourous mythology behind the Playboy empire created over several decades," according to the series description, Hefner is accused of passing girls around to his friends. In addition, there are allegations that VIPs assaulted and raped young women.
The documentary series also includes interviews from Hefner's past girlfriends including Holly Madison and Bridget Marquardt, the author of Playground: A Childhood Lost Inside the Playboy Mansion and Playboy Mansion West resident Jennifer Saginor and former Playmates Rebekka Armstrong, Susie Krabacher, Dona Spier and Tylyn John.
In a statement, he responded, "Over the course of my life I've had more than my fair share of romantic relationships with wonderful women. Many moved on to live happy, healthy and productive lives, and I'm pleased to say remain dear friends today. Sadly, there are a few who have chosen to rewrite history in an attempt to stay in the spotlight. I guess, as the old saying goes: You can't win 'em all!"
Additionally, movie director Peter Bogdanovich accused the Playboy founder of forcing himself on Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten sexually in his Jacuzzi "grotto" on her first night at the Playboy Mansion, in his 1984 book The Killing of the Unicorn: Dorothy Stratten 1960-1980.
According to Rolling Stone, Hef said in response, "I am, publisher of Playboy or no, a very shy man. And I could no more force myself on a woman, psychologically or physically, than could the man on the moon," and no charges were filed.
The two-hour premiere of Secrets of Playboy airs Jan. 24 on A&E.
—Reporting by Holly Passalaqua