Don Cornelius is being accused of locking up and sexually assaulting two Playboy Bunnies decades ago.The allegations were made by former "Bunny Mot
Don Cornelius is being accused of locking up and sexually assaulting two Playboy Bunnies decades ago.
The allegations were made by former “Bunny Mother” P.J. Masten on A&E’s 10-part docuseries “Secrets of Playboy,” which features new interviews with numerous members of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner’s staff and inner circle, as well as past girlfriends.
Masten worked for Playboy from 1972 until 1982.
“It was probably the most horrific story I’ve ever heard at Playboy,” Masten alleged in the most recent episode that aired Monday night, as quoted by People magazine. “This story is the story of a massive cleanup that never hit the press.”
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Masten alleged that the former host and creator of “Soul Train” was a Playboy VIP. One night, he was at a Hollywood dance bar where the Bunnies were known to hang out. She claimed Cornelius spotted two recruits who were sisters and invited them to join him in the bar’s VIP area. Masten alleged Cornelius asked the “Baby Bunnies” if they wanted to go back to his house where he was throwing a party.
“These two young girls got in his Rolls-Royce, went up to his house and we didn’t hear from them for three days,” Masten alleged, as quoted by the outlet. “We couldn’t figure out where they were.”
According to the outlet, one of the women called a Bunny Mother at the Playboy Mansion, allegedly saying she and her sister had been held at Cornelius’ house. Masten said that Joe Piastro, Playboy’s head of security, went to pick them up and found the women “bloodied, battered and drugged.”
Masten also alleged that the sisters had been locked up in separate rooms at Cornelius’ house.
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“They were tied up and bound,” Masten alleged. “There were wooden objects that they were sodomized with andcould hear [the] other sister being brutalized. It was horrible, horrible.”
Cornelius’ son, Tony Cornelius, as well as a spokesperson for The Don Cornelius Foundation, didn’t immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. The TV producer told the outlet that Masten’s account is an “unbelievable story without real proof” and “salacious.”
The women were never named in the docuseries. Masten also claimed that the sister who allegedly managed to get free didn’t notify the police in what she said was in accordance with Playboy policy. She also claimed that the company’s security team handled the matter internally and instructed the women to stay silent and avoid speaking to the press.
The outlet noted that Cornelius was never investigated for sexual assault against the Bunnies though he was convicted on unrelated domestic violence charges in 2008. He passed away from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Feb. 1, 2012, at age 75. His son shared that the patriarch experienced seizures for 15 years and suffered from “extreme pain.”
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Additionally, a disclaimer appeared during the doc, reminding viewers that “the vast majority of the allegations” made in the series “have not been the subject of criminal investigations or charges, and they do not constitute proof of guilt.”
In his lifetime, Cornelius hosted “Soul Train” from 1971 until 1993, which provided a platform for Black artists to reach mainstream audiences, such as Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin and James Brown, just to name a few.
In the doc, Masten said she didn’t come forward with her claim sooner because she didn’t think anyone would have believed her.
“I blame myself a lot,” she said. “I have such guilt about not coming forward, but I knew that the establishment wouldn’t allow me to come forward. And who’s going to believe me? Nobody’s going to believe me.”
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In response to the docuseries, a spokesperson for Playboy issued a statement to Fox News.
“Today’s Playboy is not Hugh Hefner’s Playboy,” the statement began. “We trust and validate these women and their stories and we strongly support those individuals who have come forward to share their experiences. As a brand with sex positivity at its core, we believe safety, security, and accountability are paramount.”
“The most important thing we can do right now is actively listen and learn from their experiences,” it continued. “We will never be afraid to confront the parts of our legacy as a company that do not reflect our values today.”
“As an organization with a more than 80% female workforce, we are committed to our ongoing evolution as a company and to driving positive change for our communities,” the statement concluded.
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Hefner’s son Cooper also took to Twitter to defend his late father.
“Some may not approve of the life my Dad chose, but my father was not a liar,” the 30-year-old tweeted. “However unconventional, he was sincere in his approach and lived honestly. He was generous in nature and cared deeply for people. These salacious stories are a case study of regret becoming revenge.”
Hefner passed away in 2017 at age 91.