In response to the letter, A&E said in a statement to E! News, “The stories shared in Secrets of Playboy are the personal experiences of the documentary’s participants and deserve to be told despite how difficult they may be for some to hear. Signatures on a letter, or a different experience with Mr. Hefner or the Playboy culture, do not negate the experiences of those who have come forward to share their truth on the series and we look forward to continuing to bring these stories to light.”

Almost 90 percent of the signees are women. In addition, more than half of the people who signed the letter worked for Playboy in the ’70s and ’80s. Only about 10 percent of the signees were affiliated with Hefner in the ’00s, when the company, whose flagship magazine was marketed to men, drew more female fans thanks to the success of The Girls Next Door.

One of the reality show’s stars, Hefner’s former lead girlfriend Holly Madison, is featured in Secrets of Playboy and talks about how unhappy she felt during their relationship. She said she suffered “Stockholm Syndrome” when she was with him and called his Playboy Mansion “cultlike.” Another ex, Sondra Theodore, who dated Hefner in the late ’70s and early ’80s, said on the A&E docuseries that the mogul “groomed us all” and that she remains traumatized by the things she witnessed in his presence.

“Really, he was a monster,” Theodore recalled. “The things he got turned on by.”

Episode three of the series, which aired on Jan. 31, focuses on the Playboy Bunnies. Former security guard Jim Ellis and bunny mother PJ Maste claim the Bunnies were often drugged and assaulted by male customers, with the latter saying she was a member of the “cleanup crew” that made sure such incidents didn’t hit the press.

A day before the docuseries premiered, Hefner and Kimberly’s son Cooper Hefner, 30, tweeted, “Some may not approve of the life my Dad chose, but my father was not a liar. However unconventional, he was sincere in his approach and lived honestly. He was generous in nature and cared deeply for people. These salacious stories are a case study of regret becoming revenge.

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