The Free Speech Coalition, the leading trade group in adult entertainment, published a statement about the death of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner:
The adult community today mourns the loss of Hugh Hefner: free speech advocate, activist, philanthropist, businessman, legend, and friend.
“It would be impossible in a single statement to sum up the effect Hugh had, not only on our industry, but on the generations that followed in his wake,” said Eric Paul Leue, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition.
“Every adult performer, producer, publisher and retailer working in the industry today owes Mr. Hefner a debt of gratitude. Not only did the battles he fought clear the way for the modern adult industry, his work and advocacy was crucial in destigmatizing sex and sexuality. While those outside the industry will remember him for the bunnies and the mansion, we’ll remember the true Hugh: a tireless advocate for reproductive rights, women’s sexuality, and civil rights.”
“Our thoughts are with his family, his colleagues and friends at this difficult time. He will be sorely missed.”
Some of the key members of the Speech Coalition published their individual memories about The Hef:
Jeffrey Douglas, attorney and board chair of Free Speech Coalition: »Like all those who broke new cultural ground, Hefner was both lionized and criticized. He was essential in ushering in the sexual revolution. We honor his memory.«
Tim Valenti, president of the Free Speech Coalition and CEO of Falcon Studio Group: »Hugh Hefner built an empire and a brand recognized around the world. He was a fierce advocate of free speech, but beyond the beautiful centerfolds, Hefner embraced investigative journalism, non-fiction, fictional literature, controversial interviews and even the iconic cartoons which made Playboy one of the most important publications of the 20th Century.«
Kelly Holland, vice president of the Free Speech Coalition and CEO of Penthouse Global Media: »Our name, Penthouse, was inspired by an early Playboy TV Show called Playboy’s Penthouse. Our early logo, a macho little turtle, was based on the parable of the Tortoise & the Hare. We have always been the delinquent younger brother of the bunny as we are defined as much by our competitors as our own vision. RIP Mr. Hefner.«
Bob Christian, treasurer of the Free Speech Coalition and director of new Business development for Adam and Eve: »Hef’s influence was profound in the industry and in the world. He was quirky, but he made a contribution. His passing marks an end to an era, and he will be missed.«
Alec Helmy, board member of the Free Speech Coalition and founder and publisher of XBIZ: »A legend in every sense of the word, Hugh Hefner was an extraordinary visionary force who did for our industry what no one else has done in terms of mainstreaming adult entertainment. And for that we owe him infinite gratitude.«