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Hefner is gone. But the debate about his legacy is here to stay

Playboy founder and publisher Hugh Hefner died on Wednesday at the age of 91. In later years, Hefner had become a familiar symbol of decadence and geriatric hedonism. But Playboy, in its early years, was revolutionary: It proposed a bold new way of life for the American male — and brought pornography into the mainstream.

Whether Hefner and his empire should be celebrated or reviled has always been a fiercely debated question. VICE News spoke on Thursday with two of the writers who helped shape the world’s view of Playboy: author and feminist Barbara Ehrenreich, and journalist Gay Talese.

This segment originally aired Sept. 28, 2017, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.