A former Playboy Playmate of the Month has alleged that Hugh Hefner gave her a qualuude and raped her when she was just 18 — bringing back horrific memories of when her grandfather raped her as a child.
Susie Krabacher, then known as Susie Scott, was just 17 when she posed for Playboy — though the magazine would wait until she was 18 to publish the photos — and had moved in to the mansion by age 18 in 1983.
It was there, she alleges in A&E’s docuseries Secrets of Playboy, that Hefner once gave her a pill to ‘calm her down,’ and she woke up to him on top of her.
Krabacher, now 58, recalled details of the incident in Monday night’s episode, titled ‘Number One Predator.’
‘This old man with his mouth gaping open was a real thing. He was a real person, it was Hefner. He looked like Satan. He just looked so — just a creep,’ she said.
Former Playmate Susie Krabacher alleges in A&E’s docuseries Secrets of Playboy, that Hefner once gave her a pill to ‘calm her down,’ and she woke up to him on top of her
Then known as Susie Scott, she was just 17 when she posed for Playboy – though the magazine would wait until she was 18 to publish the photos
The A&E series has delved into several shocking allegations of abuse against Hefner, Playboy, and his associates, but the latest episode is the first to have an explicit allegation of rape against Hefner himself.
A&E advises viewers that the ‘vast majority of allegations have not been the subject of criminal investigations or charges, and they do not constitute proof of guilt.’
But Krabacher, speaking out about the rape for the first time, says that it took her years to feel ready to speak out.
‘I decided to tell in detail about the Hefner rape,’ she said. ‘I hate that word, but there’s no other way to describe it. Women who go through this feel that they’ll be stigmatized or thought of differently. It’s why they don’t talk about it, it’s why they don’t tell.’
Krabacher grew up on a farm in Alabama, where she was raised by ‘cult-like’ religious parents — but though they policed everything she did, they didn’t protect her from her grandfather, who raped her at as young as age eight.
‘He would take me into the woods and then he would take his pants off and he would rape me,’ she said. ‘And I remember when I was eight, he said, “Well, don’t you ever tell your mother, because she will kill you if you tell her.”‘
She claims Hefner (pictured in 1981) ‘had the same look that my grandfather had when he’ raped her
Others who appear in the episode say Hefner targeted young women, especially those from broken homes
She left home at 15, determined to work and save enough money to get her brother out of the house too.
So when she was approached to model, she thought it could be an opportunity to make good money, and soon a photographer had submitted her photos to Playboy.
‘I did believe that what I was doing was wrong, but I thought, you know, God’s gonna forgive me. I need this opportunity, and I’ll never be able to make this kind of money,’ she said.
Krabacher said she was only 17 when she posed for Playboy the first time, appearing at the Playmate of the Month centerfold in May 1983. The magazine held off publishing the photos until she was 18, which was not uncommon.
‘When I came to Playboy, I thought that doing the centerfold was kind of like getting my power back. I had it for a moment, but it was taken right back,’ she said.
That same year, she moved into the Playboy Mansion, but says that at first, she stayed in her room all the time.
‘When I came to Playboy, I thought that doing the centerfold was kind of like getting my power back. I had it for a moment, but it was taken right back,’ Krabacher said
‘The next morning, I was so ashamed, I wanted to just die,’ she said
She recalled Hefner trying to reassure her, saying: ‘Susie, I heard that you’re nervous, and you’ve been staying in your room. But I want you to know it’s safe here, and I want you to know that you can do anything you want. If there’s anything you want to experiment with, then you just need to let us know because we want you to be safe.’
She came out of her shell a bit more, and eventually — at the urging of another woman in the house — went to his bedroom to ask about being named Playmate of the Year.
She said that after inviting her in, Hefner remarked that she looked stressed and gave her a pill, ‘something to calm you down’
‘I just took it, not thinking much about it,’ she said. ‘At first, it didn’t dawn on me that it was a drug. At first, you’re thinking someone’s giving you a Tylenol or an Advil. And then I thought, OK, what did I just take? I didn’t even ask.’
Now, she thinks it was a Quaalude, citing how he used to carry them around and pass them out.
Her memories are foggy after that, but she recalls unquestioningly that he raped her.
‘I don’t remember laying down,’ she said. ‘I don’t remember if I even said anything to him about Playmate of the Year. I woke up with him on top of me.
Krabacher (pictured on Cheers in 1985) said that she told Playboy editor Marilyn Grabowski at the time, but Grabowski told her, ‘Oh that’s all? Don’t let it bother you. It’s nothing’
‘He was naked, and my pants were off, my pajama bottoms were off. I thought that I was having a nightmare because it didn’t seem possible,’ she said.
‘I thought I was reliving the last time that my grandfather had done this to me,’ she continued. ‘He honestly had the same look that my grandfather had when he did it. I can’t tell you. There must be, like, some common demon that gets in and looks the same because it was eerie, it was just eerie.’
Krabacher wonders if he targeted her because she ‘was one of the few who he had not slept with, and maybe he didn’t like that.’
When she came to, ‘I pushed him off of me, and it made him mad.
‘When I went back to my bedroom, all I wanted to do was lay back down, cry, think, and I just remember, “I’ve gotta tell somebody.”
‘The next morning, I was so ashamed, I wanted to just die,’ she said.
‘This whole thing had to be a secret, a secret that I had to see all the time. You know, I looked up that hallway and I’d think about it, but then I’d have to put that smile on and when I saw Hef give him a hug. He never mentioned it. The only explanation is that he was hiding it from me. To make me doubt that it happened, maybe. To make me forget about it — but you don’t forget.
After that, she said, her weight got down to just 90 pounds. ‘I was just completely depressed. I didn’t feel of value,’ she said
Krabacher said that she told Playboy editor Marilyn Grabowski at the time, but Grabowski told her, ‘Oh that’s all? Don’t let it bother you. It’s nothing. It’s nothing, he won’t even remember it.’
‘And I’m like, “But I will never forget it,” she said, but was instructed not to think about it.
A&E notes that Grabowski has stated that the allegations about her comments are untrue.
‘He was so good at making you feel like you were the only thing in the world, and the most beautiful thing in the world — until the next Playmate came along, and he didn’t care if you were broken, anorexic, addicted,’ Krabacher said.
After that, she said, her weight got down to just 90 pounds.
‘I was just completely depressed. I didn’t feel of value,’ she said. ‘This thing that happened with Hef set me back a long way.
‘I was disappointed in myself that I put myself in the position that he could have had access to me. I tried so hard for so long to not be the stereotype.
‘I could’ve left that world thinking he was a great guy. That he was never inappropriate with me. He paid us well. Some doors that maybe I never would have stood before opened. But I can’t say that.’
One of Hefner’s ex-girlfriends, Sondra Theodore (pictured), claims she watched him let himself into a sleeping girl’s bedroom and force himself on her
Krabacher said that, hearing about her experiences, people have asked her why she kept going back.
‘I just think it was a complete [situation where] you want him not to have ruined your life by also taking your employment,’ she said.
There was also fear that Hefner made have had a recording of the rape that he would use to hurt her, as he was known to illicitly record encounters.
‘It haunted me that he might have a video of me when he was on top of me,’ she said. ‘I pray that because I was unconscious he would not show it to anyone because it’s illegal. My saving thought is that he had to have destroyed it because he’s showing himself committing a crime.’
Monday night’s episode included several other allegations of rape against Hefner from people who claim they witnessed it
One of Hefner’s ex-girlfriends, Sondra Theodore, recalled that he at a skeleton key that let him into every room in the house.
One night, she claimed, he let himself into a room with a sleeping woman and sat down on her bed.
‘She kept saying no,’ Theodore recalled, crying. ‘The minute she said no, he continued and forced himself on her.’
The episode also includes an allegation that Hefner anally raped Playmate Dorothy Stratten (pictured in 1980). Stratten was killed at age 20
After, he told her: ‘Well, did they think that they were going to come stay at my house and not sleep with me?’
‘Whether they consented or not, if he wanted something, he would take it,’ she said.
She noted that he liked the girls ‘young,’ especially if they were ‘from a broken family where there wasn’t a father involved because he could impress them and control them more, because they would be more likely to please him or please his friends.’
‘Hefner enjoyed taking these fresh girls and breaking them,’ added Stefan Tetenbaum, Hefner’s valet from 1978–81.
Tetenbaum had his own story, claiming he once saw Hefner anally raping Playmate Dorothy Stratten, who would be murdered by her husband at age 20.
‘There was a ledge around the Grotto. Hefner propped her up and he started to rape her anally, and she was screaming,’ he said.
‘After we witnessed it, the security guard … whispered in my ear [that] I should go back into the butlers’ pantry and keep my mouth shut. And that’s what I did. You had to follow the rules. You had to be discreet, be quiet, carry on. Nobody was going to come forward because nobody wanted Hefner to come after you.’
Playboy addresses ‘allegations of abhorrent actions’ by Hefner in open letter ahead of docuseries
‘Dear Team, Partners & Community,
We want to reach out to you in light of the forthcoming A&E docuseries that we understand will recount allegations of abhorrent actions by Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and others.
First and foremost, we want to say: we trust and validate women and their stories, and we strongly support the 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, and anything less is inexcusable.
As you know, the Hefner family is no longer associated with Playboy, and today’s Playboy is not Hugh Hefner’s Playboy. Today, our organization is run by a workforce that is more than 80% female, and together we are building upon the aspects of our legacy that have made a positive impact, including serving as a platform for free expression and a convener of safe conversations on sex, inclusion and freedom. We will continue to confront any parts of our legacy that do not reflect our values today, and to build upon the progress we have made as we evolve as a company so we can drive positive change for you and our communities.
Please join us in doing the most important thing we can do right now — listen. It is critically important that we listen as these women share their stories and that we continue to fight harassment and discrimination in all its forms, support healing and education, redefine tired and sexist definitions of beauty and advocate for inclusivity across gender, sexuality, race, age, ability and zip codes.
We also recognize that these allegations are difficult to hear and that sexual violence affects victims everywhere. Help exists if you need it. We’ve ensured that our team has avenues for care and suggest the Sexual Assault Hotline or BetterHelp for anyone needing assistance.
Thank you for listening,
The PLBY Group Leadership Team’