USA Today reports the Playboy founder’s response comes amid accusations from a lawsuit that claims Cosby sexually attacked a then-15-year-old Judy Huth at the Playboy mansion in 1974 and a former cocktail Playboy club waitress, who alleges the comedian raped her and up to 12 other women.
“Bill Cosby has been a good friend for many years and the mere thought of these allegations is truly saddening,” Hefner said. “I would never tolerate this kind of behavior, regardless of who was involved.”
Hefner’s friendship with Cosby dates back to when the entertainer emceed the annual Playboy Jazz festival for many years. The last time Cosby served MC for the event was 2012.
In the lawsuit, which was made known earlier this week, Huth claims that Cosby brought her to the Playboy Mansion in 1974 and instructed her to say that she was 19 if anyone asked.
“While at the Playboy Mansion, plaintiff told Cosby that she needed to use the bathroom,” Huth’s lawsuit reads. “Cosby directed her to a bathroom within a bedroom suite near the game room. When plaintiff emerged from the bathroom, she found Cosby sitting on the bed. He asked her to sit beside him. He then proceeded to sexually molest her by attempting to put his hand down her pants, and then taking her hand in his hand and performing a sex act on himself without her consent.”
The Los Angeles Police Department has said that it will investigate those claims, USA Today noted, adding that Cosby’s attorney, Martin Singer, has filed a response to the lawsuit, calling Huth’s claims “absolutely false” and accusing her of trying to extort Cosby.
Regarding the other Playboy-related situation, P.J. Masten, a former Playboy bunny, told CNN on Friday that Cosby assaulted her in the Chicago hotel she was worked at while serving as a cocktail waitress for the (Chicago) Playboy club.
Despite her coming forward, Masten claimed that a dozen former Playboy bunnies had also been attacked by Cosby, but were reluctant to tell their tales.
“Twelve former bunnies that I know of that are ashamed to come forward, frightened to come forward, married with families, don’t want to come forward.” Masten said. “But they were also drugged and raped by Bill Cosby.”
The two incidents are the latest in a series of sexual assault allegations that have been made against Cosby from various women. Since news of the accusations surfaced, the 77-year-old comic has been hit with a massive backlash that includes the postponement of a comedy special on Netflix, the abandonment of plans to develop a sitcom on NBC and negative feedback on social media. Most recently, Cosby’s honorary title of Chief Petty Officer, which was bestowed to him in 2011, was revoked by the U.S. Navy.
Although Cosby himself has remained mostly silent on the allegations, Singer released the following statement:
“The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40, or even 50 years ago have escalated far past the point of absurdity.
“These brand new claims about alleged decades-old events are becoming increasingly ridiculous, and it is completely illogical that so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years.”