Stefan Tetenbaum spent only one year as the valet/personal assistant to Hugh Hefner, but the 67-year-old has plenty of stories to share about sordid parties and the late Playboy founder’s alleged abusive behavior toward women.
In the wake of Hefner’s death this week, many figures from his past have come forward to share their stories about the man behind the racy magazine, speaking glowingly about Hefner’s work in tearing down social norms and advocating for civil rights. But Tetenbaum remembers Hugh Hefner much the same way generations of people have come to see him — as a sex-obsessed man with strong desires and some peculiar tastes.
Speaking to the New York Post, Stefan Tetenbaum recalled the time he spent in 1978 and 1979 serving as Hefner’s valet. Tetenbaum said he did much more than simply chauffeur the Playboy founder, with the report noting he would keep the refrigerator filled with Pepsi and even serve as the clean-up crew after “Pig Parties” where Hefner would summon prostitutes for his friends.
As Tetenbaum noted, Hefner loved to throw raucous parties for his friends but didn’t usually partake himself.
“Hugh sat there in his favorite chair, smoking a joint and eating red licorice and watching. I had to go into the room afterwards and if the girls couldn’t walk, I would have to escort them to the bedrooms so they could recuperate,” Tetenbaum recalled.
Tetenbaum also recalled Hugh Hefner as demanding and cold to his staff.
“Hef wasn’t a kind man. If he tasted the Pepsi and it wasn’t cold enough, he would throw it away and call me to replace it,” Tetenbaum recalled.
“I don’t know if he ever even knew my name. He would just call me ‘valet.’”
Tetenbaum added that Hefner cared little for the women who would entertain the rich and famous men at the parties, watching over the abuse that they often suffered.
Hugh Hefner did not love women. But all I can feel for him is pity. https://t.co/Dk8t8XqwOI— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) September 30, 2017
Stefan Tetenbaum is not the only one to recall the darker side of the Playboy founder after his death. The Guardian noted that many have remembered Hefner as a “controlling, emotionally abusive manipulator.” The report noted that Hefner was seen not only as abusive within his own relationships, but an enabler of other abuse that took place at the Playboy Mansion.
“More recently, in 2014, Chloe Goins, a model, claimed in a lawsuit that Bill Cosby drugged and raped her in 2008 and that the Playboy Mansion was the scene of the crime. The lawsuit named Hefner as a conspirator and claims his properties were in fact the site of multiple of Cosby’s attacks on young women. (Cosby has denied all the criminal accusations against him and has only been charged for one alleged incident. This summer, his trial ended in a hung jury. A retrial is expected next year.)”
Despite the recollections from Stefan Tetenbaum and others who knew a darker side to Hugh Hefner, there are still many who remember the Playboy founder more fondly. A number of celebrities have issued statements of condolences including Kendra Wilkinson, the former Playboy model who shot to fame through the reality show The Girls Next Door. In a statement released shortly after Hefner’s death, she noted that he “made me the person I am today.”
[Featured Image by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Playboy]