Can Playboy Survive?
Steve’s breakdown: Selling of the Playboy Mansion + taking the nudes out of the magazine = What?
I’m not sure what the vision is but someone is going to have to help realize it because they can’t do it themselves.
Check out how Hugh’s son feels about it below.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA: Playboy founder Hugh Hefner’s 24-year-old son believes it was a big mistake for the iconic men’s magazine to stop publishing photos of naked women — ditto for putting the famed Playboy Mansion on the market.
Cooper Hefner — who never sat on the board of his father’s company but claimed to participate in meetings as a “board observer” and act as a brand ambassador — said he was basically forced out of Playboy because he didn’t see eye to eye with CEO Scott Flanders.
“I was essentially asked to no longer participate in the board meetings because I didn’t agree with his vision for the company,” Cooper said in an interview with Business Insider.
Starting with the redesigned March issue, Playboy still features scantily clad women in provocative poses, but they are no longer fully nude. Like rival Penthouse, Playboy blamed the rise of digital porn in announcing the decision in October.
The 89-year-old Hugh Hefner, who launched the magazine in 1953 with Marilyn Monroe on the cover, blessed the move, Flanders and other executives said at the time.
But Hugh Hefner’s youngest son doesn’t agree with him.
The issue wasn’t nudity, according to Cooper, so much as “the way in which the nudity and the girls were portrayed.”
“When you have a company and the founder is responsible for kick-starting the sexual revolution and then you pluck out that aspect of the company’s DNA by removing the nudity, it makes a lot of people including me sit and say, ‘What the hell is the company doing?’ ” Cooper said.
He also disagrees with the company’s decision to list the Playboy Mansion for $200 million in a bid to raise cash. The 20,000-square-foot Los Angeles home that sits on five acres is currently the most expensive listing in the US.
The sale would be structured so that the elder Hefner and his “girlfriends” can continue to live in the home, where he threw his famous bunny bashes.
While the property has seen better days and is in need of a major overhaul, it remains “one of the most famous residences in the world,” Cooper said.
“It really represents the brand, and to take that asset away from the company is really devastating,” he told Business Insider.
Because his family still holds a stake in the company, Cooper said he can’t be pushed out completely and continues to talk to the board and to his father about the business. He also suggested that he wouldn’t take it lying down.
“But I’m currently participating in little to no capacity due to difference in vision,” he said.
Cooper is the founder of Hop, a news and pop culture site that appears to be geared toward millennials, a la Vice. One of the top postings on Wednesday is a story titled “Playboy Without a Hefner,” in which he slams Flanders’ leadership.
He also posted a “blueprint” outlining his ideas for revitalizing the Playboy brand. Those include bringing back nude models, but focusing on “their personality as much as their sexuality.”