Playboy Renews Commitment to 'Positive Change' Ahead of A&E Docuseries: 'Not Hugh Hefner's Playboy '


Brianna Alysse/Playboy Kehlani

Playboy is distancing itself from late founder Hugh Hefner as the company faces a social reckoning.

The iconic brand denounced the alleged "abhorrent actions" of Hefner and others named in the tell-all docuseries Secrets of Playboy, which premieres Monday on A&E, in an open letter that details their commitment to "positive change" under Playboy's new leadership.

"First and foremost, we want to say: we trust and validate women and their stories, and we strongly support the individuals who have come forward to share their experiences," the letter read. "As a brand with sex positivity at its core, we believe safety, security and accountability are paramount, and anything less is inexcusable."

RELATED: Holly Madison Says the Playboy Mansion Was 'Cult-Like': 'We Were All Gaslit'

The PLBY Group leadership team also reassured staff that the Hefner family is no longer associated with Playboy, which is now made up of more than 80 percent female employees. "Today's Playboy is not Hugh Hefner's Playboy," they wrote.

For more on the Secrets of Playboy docuseries, listen below to our daily podcast on PEOPLE Every Day.

"Together we are building upon the aspects of our legacy that have made a positive impact, including serving as a platform for free expression and a convener of safe conversations on sex, inclusion and freedom," they added. "We will continue to confront any parts of our legacy that do not reflect our values today, and to build upon the progress we have made as we evolve as a company so we can drive positive change for you and our communities.

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Brian Ziff

"Please join us in doing the most important thing we can do right now — listen. It is critically important that we listen as these women share their stories and continue to fight harassment and discrimination in all its forms, support healing and education, redefine tired and sexist definitions of beauty and advocate for inclusivity across gender, sexuality, race, age, ability and zip codes."

The leadership team has also ensured that they have "avenues for care" and recommended the Sexual Assault Hotline and BetterHelp for those in need of assistance.

The 10-part docuseries Secrets of Playboy features interviews with several of Hefner's staff, inner circle and past girlfriends, including Holly Madison. "I didn't realize that getting into the Playboy world was a dangerous choice," Madison, 42, said in one trailer.

RELATED VIDEO: Holly Madison Recalls 'Traumatic' First Night with Ex Hugh Hefner: He Was 'Pushed on Top of Me'

The Girls Next Door alum left the Playboy Mansion in 2008, later recounting her experience in her 2015 book Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny. She most recently recalled her "traumatic" first sexual encounter with Hefner on the Power: Hugh Hefner podcast.

Hefner founded Playboy in 1953 as a men's lifestyle publication known for its nude pictorials, having since grown into a global empire. Hugh stepped down in 2016 and his son, Cooper Hefner, briefly succeeded him before Hugh's death in 2017.

The brand published its last regular print edition in Spring 2020 and has since moved completely online.

Secrets of Playboy premieres Jan. 24 at 9 p.m. on A&E.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to