Perhaps it's a little early to pass judgement on what really happened here, but the news of 21-year old Marston Hefner (son of Playboy's Hugh Hefner) allegedly kicking and punching now-former girlfriend/former Playmate of the Year 2011 Claire Sinclair is pretty outrageous.
After a conspicuous initial silence from Hugh Hefner and Playboy Enterprises, Sinclair has stated that she will not press charges as long as Marston Hefner publicly apologizes and receives psychiatric help for his anger and violence issues.
But Hugh Hefner's statement on the situation leaves so much to be desired: "If they care about each other, they'll patch it up."
Seriously? After all of Hugh's claims the past decades of how Playboy actually liberates and empowers women -- as opposed to exploiting or objectifying them -- this is a severely inadequate response to allegations of his own son beating down on a glorified Playmate. "No one's empathetic or concerned," Sinclair states. "It's more like cover it up and protect an image."
As a "liberated" woman myself, I've never been opposed to the concept or image of Playboy, and since I live in Los Angeles, I know lots of "bunnies" and Playmates. But regardless of one's stance on the company, it's obvious that the iconic but struggling American publication has been given tons of slack in recent years despite their sometimes disappointing and outdated approach to publishing, online content, art direction and overall style and sensibility.
But these issues are the problems of most publications that are on the front lines of the internet battle. What is especially uninspiring here is not only the highly disturbing allegations of domestic violence linked so closely to the Playboy empire, but the seemingly sketchy and hypocritical manner in which this situation is being handled by the company that proclaims to put women on a pedestal.
Like I stated earlier, it is still early to tell what will transpire. But so far this is an awful look for Playboy that will only further harm the brand the longer they fail to take a very strong and disciplinary position with Marston Hefner's alleged actions.
A few weeks ago, Darren Rovell tweeted his opinions on how the quality of Playboy Playmates has gone down in recent years, spurning stinging responses from some of the girls. Let's hope those same women step up and support their own in this strange case of domestic violence!
Whether or not Sinclair's allegations of abuse are correct, Playboy and Hugh Hefner need to gather their courage and back up their past statements on women's empowerment by addressing this messy issue as soon as possible. They're no longer in the safety of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, or even 1990s anymore -- and now with the internet, the ivory tower of publication can't hide a company's fumbling and archaic handling of issues it has once proudly claimed for its own social capital.