Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has weighed in on the sexual assault allegations plaguing comedian Bill Cosby, after a lawsuit accused Cosby of sexually attacking a then-15-year-old girl at the Playboy mansion in 1974 and a former cocktail waitress for the Playboy club alleged that Cosby raped her and up to 12 other women.
Hefner called the allegations “truly saddening,” adding that he would “never tolerate” such actions, from Cosby or anybody else, USA Today reports.
“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.”
Cosby and Hefner have a longstanding relationship; the former “The Cosby Show” star emceed the annual Playboy Jazz festival for decades, last handling those duties in 2012.
Earlier this week, Cosby was slapped with a lawsuit by Judy Huth, who claimed that, in 1974, Cosby brought her to the Playboy Mansion, instructing 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. 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.
On Friday, former Playboy bunny P.J. Masten told CNN that Cosby assaulted her in a Chicago hotel, where she was working as a cocktail waitress for the Playboy club.
Masten went on to claim 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.”
In recent weeks, Cosby has been besieged by allegations of sexual assault, with multiple women coming forward to say that he had violated them.
In the wake of the mounting accusations against the 77-year-old comedian, Singer released a statement saying: “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,” Singer said.
Since the allegations against Cosby surfaced, NBC has abandoned plans to develop a comedy that would have starred Cosby, while Netflix has postponed a comedy special featuring the comedian. The U.S. Navy has also revoked Cosby’s honorary title of Chief Petty Officer, which was bestowed to Cosby in 2011.