Naturi Naughton and Jenifer Lewis tried really hard last week to defend their upcoming NBC series “The Playboy Club” as a show that actually empowers young women. The pair joined other cast members and producers in arguing against critics who have seen the pilot and insist that it romanticizes 60s-era sexism and racism.
Iconic feminist Gloria Steinem is the latest to weigh in on the debate. The writer famously worked as a Playboy Bunny during her 20s in order to conduct research for an article, and is now hoping viewers will stay away from the NBC series.
“It was the tackiest place on earth. I expect that ‘The Playboy Club’ (TV show) will be a net minus and I hope people boycott it. It’s just not telling the truth about the era,” she tells Reuters. “I just know that over the years, women have called me and told me horror stories of what they experienced at the Playboy Club and at the Playboy Mansion.”
Steinem went undercover as a Playboy Bunny in the New York City club while writing an expose about the treatment of women in Hugh Hefner’s establishments. Her account of the Playboy Clubs was made into the 1985 movie “A Bunny’s Tale,” starring Kirstie Alley as Steinem.
Speaking to television critics in the audio bonus below, Steinem shares her thoughts about NBC basing a series on the very club she worked so hard to expose as a feminist’s worst nightmare.
“The Playboy Club” premieres Sept. 19 at 9 p.m. on NBC. Watch a scene with Naturi Naughton in the clip below.