With the death of Hugh Hefner, a complicated discussion is sure to follow. While the Playboy founder created a brand that is almost as iconic today as Coke and Pepsi and led a life that many consider “the dream,” he also courted controversy with his lifestyle, the content he produced, and the empire he helped establish at The Playboy Mansion.
Taking a quick look through the reactions to his passing at 91, you see many different opinions already grabbing hold and spreading in reference to Hefner’s life. To some, he’s a hero that created a brand that helped shape them over the years. To others, he’s a villain that exploited women and used their bodies to make a fortune. And then mixed in are the people willing to look at him as a complicated character in American life that represented some of its best qualities and some of its worst qualities.