BUNNIES HOP BACK IN
Guess Playboy Club never heard of #MeToo movement
File this under things we definitely didn’t need right now.
Nearly a year after the #MeToo movement swept the globe, Playboy decided it was time to dig up an ancient relic from a far less empowering time: the Playboy Club.
The carnal corporation Wednesday launched its venue at 512 W. 42nd St. — a place that unabashedly bills the return of the “alluring” Playboy Bunnies who serve food and drinks to patrons as “by far the most attractive feature” of the club.
The sexualized establishment is back more than 30 years after the original Manhattan club shut down — but some things aren’t changing all these decades later. A spokesperson for Playboy told Eater that it’s upholding the same standards for the women working at the Playboy Club as it did back in the day, and that Playboy itself is the one training the Bunnies.
The club’s launch Wednesday featured a performance by pop star Robin Thicke that ended with him playing his controversial song “Blurred Lines.” The 2013 song was a commercial hit, but it also garnered considerable criticism from those found its lyrics — such as “I hate these blurred lines, I know you want it” — creepy and believed it made reference to nonconsensual sex. The music video for the song featured Thicke and his collaborators — T.I. and Pharrell Williams — dancing alongside three topless women, including Emily Ratajkowski.
Among the other celebrity attendees at Wednesday’s opening were Cooper Hefner — the son of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner — country artist Dierks Bentley, a number of Playboy Playmates and Ice T and Coco, who snapped photos with the Bunnies.
The biggest commotion of the night apparently came when Martha Stewart showed up and made way through a portion of the club called the Bunny Corridor.
Earlier this year, Playboy contended that its club fits into the ideals of today’s society.
“The brand always stood for freedom: freedom of choice, freedom of sexuality, freedom from discrimination,” a company spokeswoman said. “In this time, the Playboy brand is priding itself as a brand holding women on a high pedestal, never objectifying them and giving them a platform, a place to speak their minds. That’s what the brand has always defined itself around.”
But the original Playboy Club was at the center of controversy during the 1960s as well. Gloria Steinem took a job as a Playboy Bunny at the New York City club in 1963 in order to report on the conditions the employees there worked under.
She detailed her experience in an eye-opening article for Show magazine, contending the Bunnies were underpaid and exploited, and that the outfit they gave her was far too tight.
The brand new club has already experienced a minor scandal: Its membership director, rags-to-riches socialite author Suzanne Corso, was busted for shoplifting at Saks earlier this month.
The Playboy Club is back in New York for the first time since 1986. Hopefully Playboy realizes how much times have changed since then.
Bunnies offer warm greeting for clients at the opening of Playboy Club this week on W. 42nd St. GETTY IMAGES