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.
There’s sure to be many “hot takes” in the days to come about Hefner’s life and the entertainment juggernaut he created 60 years ago, but the underlying theme is how much influence Hefner had over American life in both a positive and negative way.
For most, Hefner was a hero that lived their wildest fantasies inside his mansion full of beautiful people:
Others were quick to point out the complicated, controversial, and negative aspects of Hefner’s life:
And while the simple tributes and criticisms are expected, some expanded on the things that Hefner did away from Playboy magazine and his extravagant lifestyle. This includes his role with the civil rights movement, his treatment of social norms, and the various issues he supported over the years:
But as expected, the largest amount of people celebrated Hef’s career and lifestyle by making jokes:
Then there’s the select few who decided to use Hefner’s death as a way to continue their chatter about Twitter’s new character limit decision:
The interesting part of this events, both the celebratory and the tragic, is seeing where people seem to travel in their own minds and dump out on Twitter. Hefner’s death certainly brought out a wide array of reactions almost immediately, so it’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here.