The Bill Cosby rape cases do not need any more drama, intrigue or star power, but they seem to be getting some, and it’s coming from a source that is guaranteed to grab headlines, something the defense certainly hopes to avoid.
According to an Associated Press report, an attorney for one woman suing Bill Cosby for sexual battery says Hugh Hefner has given sworn testimony in the case. That’s right, the founder of Playboy Magazine weighs in on the Cosby case.
Attorney Gloria Allred said Hef sat for a deposition on Wednesday at the Playboy Mansion. The contents of that testimony are currently sealed. The case is one of the more visceral of the many allegations against Cosby. The plaintiff, Judy Huth, says the comedian and actor forced her to perform a sex act on him back in 1974. Why is Hefner being deposed? Because Huth alleges this violation took place at the Playboy Mansion.
This revelation comes on the heels of another lawsuit alleging Cosby sexually abused her at the mansion in 2008. This case also names Hefner in the filing, though that allegation is unspecified in media reports. Cosby’s attorneys have flatly denied both allegations. His former attorneys have come out and essentially called Huth a gold digger, trying to extort Cosby before filing the lawsuit. Playboy has not commented on the case.
So, at this point it’s a lurid he said, she said, but the plaintiffs know exactly what they’re doing. Part of their argument is alleging there was an environment and culture of misogyny in the 70s and 80s that gave Cosby the justification he needed to commit the alleged crimes. Nobody quite embodies the high-testosterone, women-objectifying storyline they’re trying to create than Hefner, he of the constant bathrobe, surrounded by nubile young blondes.
The mere mention of Hefner, long a foil for high-powered feminists such as Allred, delivers strong reactions in jurors. Love him or hate him, the emotional reaction is tough to get past. It’s a smart move by the plaintiffs, but it’s also a high-risk maneuver. There’s no doubt people have strong opinions about Hefner, but they also have strong opinions about the women who hang out there.