Hugh Hefner Wasn’t Just a Creep—He Was Also a Shitty Boss

To hear some tell it, Hugh Hefner changed what it meant to be a man in the 20th century. In place of God, country and family values, “Hef”—a persona so intensely branded that it’s hard to type without instinctively adding a (TM) to it—offered up cool jazz, hot chicks, weird bathrobes and the kind of literary sophistication that you could only get when a short story was printed directly opposite a close-up of some lady’s areolas.

The fact that women were mere props in this vision—luxury goods that men acquired to prove their swinging cred—seems not to bother those who embrace the ideal of Hefness. But in fact, the Playboy empire was built on the backs of female workers, who were expected to keep smiling and propping up Hefner’s brand through enormous amounts of grueling labor