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tv   Larry King Live  CNN  July 23, 2010 12:00am-1:00am EDT

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tonight, hugh hefner is here been the mogul who made playboy a household name and gave millions to social causes stood up for african-americans long before the majority. what does hef think about race in 2010 america? and then, president obama calls shirley sherrod expressing regret over the flap that cost her her job.
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is it the end of a sorry chapter for the white house? the end of naacp and others who rushed to judgment? what does it mean for race relations? that's next on "larry king live." good evening. let's get it to. we welcome al sharpton and dana lash, organizer with the national tea party coalition, talk radio host of "the dana show." and magician and comedian, the star of "penn and teller live" in vegas. and peter barnhardt, senior political writer for the "the daily beast." president obama and shirley sherrod talked by phone today and here's what she told cnn's john king about that conversation. watch. >> i really did not want the president to say to me "i'm sorry." he's the president of the united states.
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i didn't really need to hear him say those words. i did need to hear them from the secretary and some others, but not necessarily from him. >> did he use those words? did the president say "i'm sorry?" >> he didn't come out and say "i'm sorry" but in every way, the words he did say to me, i think meant "i'm sorry." >> larry: let's go round robin on this. was this a two or three-day summer story or does it have large race implications? >> i think the implications here is when you have someone of her stature, she was married to one of the leaders of -- i can remember as a kid hearing the name. and someone who has served and someone who has telling a compelling story that i think is a healing story for america. how she grew. many of us have grown from
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bitterness and from things in 20, 24 years. and to see that distorted and used in an ugly way, that would cost her almost, her career, had it not been corrected, i think it's very scary and i think it will have more impact than two or three days because if you can do that to the sherrods and do that on such a blatant distortion, then it has to make a lot of people wonder, whether or not they're the next target. >> larry: dana, did the right wick go too far with this? >> i don't think in terms of going too far, no. i don't think so. and what reverend sharpton said, i totally know what it's like to be gone after as a member of a grassroots movement, i've been put on the dhs list and i've been called nazi and racist, along with millions of other conservative grassroots activists. and libertarians, too. we have a hyperracial paranoia
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environment going on. in part, that's been created by a political ideology that likes to eyes people as a voting bloc. the casualty was shirley sherrod and it's sad when i sit back and watch it. >> larry: peter was the right wing that broke this and had to apologize, right? >> if you step back and look at this in a larger context, it was a tragic thing for this woman and ridiculous that the white house overreacted like this without knowing all the facts. but if you step back and look at race relations and the politics of race in 2010, and compare that to 2010 or 20 years ago, we've made vast progress. we have an african-american president. we don't have riots in the country. we have an african-american head of the gop. when we step back and look, there's still enormous racial problems but the trajectory is really a positive one overall. >> larry: the president talked
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to abc news and address the tom vilsack's handling of the situation. >> he jumped the gun partly because we now live in this media culture where something goes up on youtube or a blog and everybody's scrambling. and i've told my team and told my agencies that we have to make sure that we're focusing on doing the right thing instead of what looks to be politically necessary at that very moment. we have to take our time and think these issues through. >> larry: reverend, is the president just trying to please everybody? >> well, i think he's the president for everyone. i don't think that it's about pleasing everyone. i think he's taking some very strong stands in some areas and other people might want stronger stands, depending on their point of view. i think he's correct about this media age and this quick reaction and i think a lot of us in public life have to pause and say -- wait a minute.
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let's get the facts. i also think a lot of progress has been made. none of us are denying we've made progress, but making progress does not mean you've arrived. martin luther king's dream is not a achieved by making progress. those that fought, black, white, latino, for civil rights is achieved when there's full civil rights. so we're right to say we made progress so show we can get there because look how far we've come. but we ought not relax now and we ought not let these distortions alert us that we still have to be vigilant and careful because this woman, a grandmother, this could happen to, is just scary and frightening. >> larry: let's bring in penn gillette in from san diego. is this a blip story or does it have larger meaning? >> i think that it is someone who did something terribly wrong. taking that clip out of context was evil and wrong and irresponsible.
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we do a show called "b.s." and there's always a temptation to take things out of context and you simply can't do it so you just don't trust the people that took it out of context. but i'm not sure it says horrible things about our country. it says something about someone who did something very wrong and bad. >> larry: we'll have more right after this on this edition of "larry king live." still to come, hugh hefner. don't go away. ♪ [ woman ] when i grow up, i want to take him on his first flight. i want to run a marathon. i'm going to work with kids. i'm going to own my own restaurant. when i grow up, i'm going to start a band. [ female announcer ] at aarp we believe you're never done growing. thanks, mom. i just want to get my car back. [ female announcer ] together we can discover the best of what's next at
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>> larry: dana, is this all a product of our times? everybody, right, left, naacp, jumped the gun? >> oh, you nailed it, larry. it is a complete product of our times. what we've seen here, we saw the journalist and the department of justice case. i think what we saw was a political ideology that was desperate and this -- what is happening where everyone's just rock throwing with race? something's racist? everything is racist? the words almost lost all meaning and people who have really been rendered with true injustice, their needs go unmet and i kenneth glady and cedric crenshaw, i could go on and on. it is.
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a product of our times. i've heard the allegation that a lot of videos were taken out of context and i completely, wholeheartedly viciously disagree with the statement that they were taken out of context. i know that remark was made earlier. this is a hyperracial environment. this was supposed to be a post racial era. with all the progress that has been made this is doing a lot to dismantle that and it hurts the heart to see it. >> larry: peter, does the president have to make another speech about racism? >> no. the best thing that barack obama can ultimately do for race relations in the united states is to make america a more just society for poor people. the greatest achievements for african-americans have been general achievements for poor and working-class people in this country. the great society, the new deal, i think president obama needs to work on health care, for instance, in fact, is a genuine move toward greater equality
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which will particularly help african-americans along with poor people of all races and ethnicities. >> larry: penn, here's what euge robinson, african-american himself wrote in the washington post today. a cynical right-wing propaganda machine is pedalling the poisonous fiction that when african-americans or other minorities reach positions of power, they seek some kind of revenge against whites. you buy that? penn? >> i don't know. i'm pretty shocked. was it not out of context? everything i read although i didn't see the whole tape, said she was using this as an example of the way she was many, many years ago and she's changed since then. am i misinformed on that? if that's the case, then that story she was telling not being contemporary is really the whole issue, isn't it? i mean, this is one person's mistake not a nation's mistake. >> but then she went on to say at --
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>> larry: do you think that was out of context, dana? >> i watched the whole entire video twice. she talked about people who oppose health care as racist. this is the thing. shirley sherrod, this is what i want to so clearly get out. shirley sherrod talks about being oppressed by a system. if she were to escape from that system she wouldn't have the same criticisms that -- >> but that's not the tape that they used. that's not fair. you said it was out of context. what was played was definitely out of context because they took her in the middle of her explaining, a story of 24 years ago, and only put that out like it was present. they didn't use the part about health care. they didn't use the part about oppression. you go to other parts of the speech. >> and that was the worst part of it. >> but have you cannot have a difference of facts. the facts is the two minutes they put out was totally out of context.
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>> but the fact is, if you don't agree with other places. the fact that she says something you don't agree with other places does not excuse if that first two minutes -- when i first is off it i was not aware she was talking about 24 years ago and that seems like a vital piece of information. >> she was in the past tense with everything. you could hear her building up. >> but 24 years ago is different -- >> building up to the fact that she had a changes of heart was fantastic. but the thing is, i don't think -- i think she uses race to promote class warfare. i do think that. >> now we understand what this is really all about, right? when you pursue policies -- >> she talks about class warfare as social justice. how do you talk about oppression and the elimination of true opportunity for minority communities? how do you say that? >> larry: let me respond, dana, peter, go ahead. >> we have republican
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administrations for decades that dramatically increased disparities between rich and poor. that's not class welfare. when someone actually tries, in fact, to talk about the fact that we need to put our focus on economic policy on people at the bottom that becomes class warfare and if i understand you correctly, dana, that's grounds for dismissal. >> you don't understand the economics. >> thanks. >> you don't understand. >> explain it to me. >> you're talking about marxist principles. you think you can promote equality -- you think you can promote equality by oppression -- >> with all due respect, that's a laughably absurd statement. theodore roosevelt and -- >> don't preface it with "in all due respect" and then insult me. >> that's the biggest lie promoted to minority communities of this age.
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all of these policies will help to equalize everything and it doesn't. >> larry: dana, peter, if you keep interrupting each other we'll have to cut both microphones. al, do you want to comment? >> yes, we're talking about an edited tape that almost cost someone their job. not talking about dana's view of marxism. not talking about all other kinds of distractions. and i think that what they have done is go into name-calling and distractions rather than deal with the facts. the fact is those two minutes were out of context. that's one. number two, class warfare. i agree with peter. they had no problem when the upper class got the cuts. dr. king's last campaign was for poor people. he didn't call for class warfare. he was calling for equality in terms of wealth distribution. but that had nothing to do with why the tape was edited. it had nothing to do with the reaction and we should not allow her to change the conversation. >> no, no, no.
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it's being used to promote class warfare so yes, i have to disagree with you reverend sharpton it is related. >> so whoever edited the tape edited the tape to stop class warfare. >> it was not an edited tape. have neighbor i'm speaking to watched the entire 43.15 second tape? >> larry: she wasn't fired for the entire tape. she wasfired for the two minutes. >> and the two minutes is what was edited out of her speech. >> >> larry: we're taking a break and we'll come back and try to get everyone on. right after this.
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>> larry: penn jillette, we've come a long way. how do you react to the latest poll, obama, 93%. hispaniction 57%. whites, 37%.
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how do you read that? >> how long do we have to wait, larry, before polls aren't broken down that way? i don't know why that is. you could say that some people are rooting for people like themselves. that's why the approval ratings haven't gone down. you can spin that any way at all. i think that there's much more racial divide done by the media in these kinds of polls than i see day by day around me. but, again, i'm from western massachusetts. i have never -- i've never been discriminated against because of my race. and i have never been accused, luckry, of being a racist. so i don't really have -- i'm not really qualified to say but, boy, it would be nice now that we have an african-american president if we could just see those polls as a number of americans and what we all have in common. but -- i don't know. >> larry: peter, will it ever go away?
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>> you know, when you think about america's history, for how long it was that african-americans were slaves. how recent it was that african-americans really got the vote, really only 40 or 50 years ago, i think one shouldn't expect this these things will go away overnight. what strikes me, really, if you look at the long history of america's really, really terrible history on race relations, it's actually that we're in the best moment ever in american history by far. as reverend sharpton says, we have a long way to go but it's worth at least putting it in that context. >> larry: dana, do you believe it still exists to some fairly proportionate degree? >> that racism exists? yes, i do. i saw it most recently with cedric crenshaw in illinois. a black conservative woman being gotten off the ballot. i do see it. that's the thing. we shouldn't -- penn is so
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right. applaud what he just said. i'm tired of seeing polling data broken down like this. we are americans. we have american problems. not just with the black community. those are problems i see with the american community. educational inequality. problems with unemployment. all that stuff. we share that. when we can focus on that and quit trying to segregate everything we can take another step forward with race relations. >> al with is that right? >> i think that if we are realistic and say that the progress made was made because people struggled to make that progress, that we should engage in continuing, at this time, in the struggle to make that happen. i think that if we're honest we would have to say if a white child, a black child and a latino and asian child were born tonight they will not face the same life in terms of healthcare and education. we've got to fight until they do. it's a lot better than it was 40 years ago but it's not equal and i don't need marx to tell me
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that. i fight for the right for people to be wrong. >> larry: thank you all very much. another chapter in america's long and disturbing racial history. speaking of that, hugh hefner is with us. a lot of people know him from "playboy" and all the rest. he was one of the earliest fighters in america for civil rights. a new documentary out that covers that. and we'll meet hugh hefner right after these words.
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>> larry: we go back a long ways. hugh hefner is the founder, editor-in-chief and chief creative officer of "playboy."
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the subject of a new documentary opening july 30th called "hugh hefner, playboy activist rebel." is this your documentary or was it some group producing it about you? >> it's produced by a young lady named bridget berman from canada. >> larry: who is she? she follows you around? >> not really. i think that what -- she won an academy award some years ago for a documentary on arty shah. and that's how we originally met. and what she was interested in doing was the part of my life that most people don't know about. >> are you happy with it? >> more than happy, yes. >> larry: let's look at the clip from the new documentary about he have her. you'll see it everywhere july 30th, watch. >> i was attracted to him because he was so committed to dr. king.
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and when dr. king was killed, i mean, the outpouring of support and affection coming from hef was significant in my mind at that time. >> we published the last piece ever written by martin luther king and we published it shortly after his death. his widow actually edited it. we should be sitting there in the hef pad listening to martin luther king's dream. yes, well, people don't recognize or realize the extent to which it was part of my dream, too. >> larry: how did you first become involved in this, we call it anti-segregation movement? >> well, i don't know -- >> larry: college, right? >> in a small way. i was never really part of a major movement as such. i think there were a couple of
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occasions i went to the university of illinois and i think there were a couple of occasions where there was some segregated restaurants and i was there with the students protesting that. but you know it comes from family. i think that bigotry comes from family. i was raised in a very conservative mid western methodist family. but there wasn't no racism. and i think that my part in terms of all this, really was related to the fact that when i did the television show it was a social setting. appeared to be a party in my apartment. and black and white, mixed as they did in my home. back in 1959, 1960, that was unusual for network television and the same thing when we opened the clubs. dick gregory was the first black performer who appeared in a club that wasn't a black club.
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and when we -- when there were clubs opened -- franchise clubs in miami and new orleans, we expect our black members to be accepted there and when they were not, we bout back the franchises even though it cost us a little money. >> larry: did you ever understand why people would not like people because of something like skin pigment? >> well, it's that crazy notion of, you know, birds of a feather flock together. the notion that if the person is a little different than somebody, they're suspicious of them and its one of sad things for me on this planet, race, religion or whatever, we live on one very small planet and we need to learn to live together. >> larry: you think it's fear? >> partly. fear of the unknown. >> larry: did anybody in television attack you for doing -- you did integrated television early.
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>> we simply didn't get any southern -- we were a syndicated and we were not distributed in the south. and i knew that was going to happen. >> larry: as he mentioned he pushed hard, hef, for blake entertainers, writers and musicians to get the recognition they deserve. another look at hugh hefner, playboy, activist, rebel. >> where you would see the great jazz folks or hear them other than their music, you know? and so he brought them alive. he saw another human side of them. >> listen, if you're going to give me this and there's only one way i know how to exit and that's -- ♪ we got a great street called state street ♪ ♪ i just want to say ♪ allow me to say that we do things that they wouldn't do on broadway ♪ >> larry: he was something. martin luther king went to the playboy mansion? >> true.
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>> larry: some say, yes, hef, you supported blacks but you set back the women's movement. >> well, it takes a very curious attitude toward playboy to come up with that conclusion. in other words, the notion that our sexuality, the fact that we're attracted to the opposite sex, that there are two sexes on the planet, is a blessing. and it's something that we ought to celebrate. the fact that there are hangups related to it is reflective of the fact that we are and still remain, essentially, a pure tan people. >> you don't think playboy made women objects rather than equals? >> i think that women in the best sense, and not in an negative sense, are objects of desire. that is a celebration of one's own sexuality and the fact that we are two sexes. and what playboy tried to the, quite frankly is to elevate it to another kind of level, you know, that did celebrate that.
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and prior to playboy, there were a lot of connections with sexuality in magazineless but they were connected to sin and sensationalism. playboy tried to give it some style and i think you need to talk to the women who posed for playboy and see how they feel about it. most of them continue to be friends, and that's more than half a century. and i get wonderful cards after the christmas and birthdays. >> they still want to pose, right? >> they still want to pose. >> larry: how do you feel, personally, after all you've seen and opposed and supported about seeing a black president? >> well i'm glad i lived long enough to see it. you know, i wish -- i was a obama supporter. i voted for him. i do wish he'd get on with it a little bit. i think we got a lot of things to do. >> but you still support him? >> absolutely. >> larry: has he disappoint you'd in some regards? >> just in the sense that, you
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know, we have the democrats are in control of both houses. we have a black president. and things are going very slowly. that's all. >> larry: we'll be right back with hugh hefner, the documentary opens july 30th. you're watching "larry king live." don't go away. oh, phillips' colon health probiotic plus fiber. how's it work? ok, she's gas. he's constipation... why am i constipation? ...he's diarrhea. and our special fiber helps our probiotics so that you can show those symptoms who's in charge. this isn't even my floor. [ elevator bell dings ]
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>> there's the hef and the pipe in the road and "playboy" that is his brand name. but then there's hef, the
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serious thinker, activist and the magazine was used as a tool. >> larry: it was. the documentary, hugh hefner, playboy activist rebel, opens on july 30th. you'll learn a lot about he. if you may not have known. we were discussing with the panel in the last segment. the recent poll came out, a lot of people attacked the poll but 93% of african-americans favor obama. only 37% of whites. does that bother you to see a poll like that? >> well, it indicates the racial divide that still exists and it's sad, sure. >> why doesn't it go away? maybe that's a simpleton question. >> larry: why hate? >> why, indeed? it is so destructive. destructive to the person who does the hating so economically destructive. >> on every level, yes. i hate the boundaries and the walls that separate us on every
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kind of level whether it's race, religion, national. we live on one very small planet and we need to find ways to live together. >> larry: was it tough to speak out? >> no. >> larry: no? >> never difficult. no. privileged to be in a position to be able to speak out and make some difference. i think that of all the many things that i'm grateful for in my life is the fact that i've been able to make a difference in the process, have a lot of fun doing it. >> and you used the magazine as a tool, did you not? >> absolutely. >> larry: the playboy forum? >> yeah. the magazine started in 1953 and it was really a lifestyle magazine but in the early '60s the magazine was so successful i knew i could do the other half that i'm about which is the social justice. it's not simply race. it had to do with sexual prejudice and drug prejudice. it had to do with -- >> larry: how about gays?
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>> very much recommended to gays. we did a piece that had been turned down by "esquire" called "the creeked -- the crooked man." normal was homosexual and the aberrations were heterosexual. very controversial at the time and some quarters, considered homophobic at the time and it was intended to be exactly opposite. >> larry: i had the honor of being a playboy interviewees in the mid 90s. >> the playboy if i logs if i and the playboy interview and the nonfiction on controversial subjects began, really, in the early 1960s and the first one we did was conducted by alex haley
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who did a bunch of them for us. and it was with miles davis and he didn't talk about jazz. he talked about race. that was the beginning of it and alex haley did martin luther king for us. and malcome x and did the american neo-nazi. >> rockwell, right? >> yes. >> larry: not norman. do you think we'll see a day when it's not an issue? when we'll be color blind? really color blind? >> i can't answer that. it certainly won't happen in our lifetime. you know, look at how separated we are by religions. religion is supposed to bring us together but religion becomes one of the major sources of conflict on the planet. how crazy is that?
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you know, the thing that concerns me, quite frankly is that we live on a planet in which our technology and our science has gotten to such a level in which we can destroy the planet and one another, and we've not yet learned to live together. crazy. >> larry: technology is way ahead of humankind, right? >> absolutely. >> larry: it boggles the mind. >> yes, we're still superstitious savages in the jungle on that level. >> larry: but there's another side, though. we're still better than most, aren't we, as a country? >> yes. i any one looks back over the centuries we're certainly making progress and we're moving in the right direction. >> larry: yeah. >> there's hope for mankind. >> larry: do you feel like you've lived through it all? >> we've certainly lived through some interesting times. the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century was a fascinating time. >> larry: were you against the vietnam war? >> yes, and said so in the
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magazine. >> larry: we'll be back with more from hugh hefner. tomorrow night, we'll look at the prison system in america. don't go away. cccccccccccccccccc
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>> larry: let's check in with anderson cooper. what's our lead? >> well, larry, tonight president obama called shirley sherrod to express his regret and the president said the usda jumped the gun when they forced her resignation. we'll talk to ms. sherrod about the situation. the blogger is not apologizing and he says he's the victim. we'll talk about that as well. and breaking news from the gulf, instant commander thad allen announced that riggs and vessels working to stop will begin preparations tonight to move out of the gulf because the threat from tropical storm bonnie. we'll tell you what that means for the relief well efforts. those stories and a lot more at the top of the hour. >> larry: that's "ac 360" you'll
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live through another storm, anderson? >> it looks like it. >> larry: 10:00 eastern and 7:00 pacific. anderson cooper, if there are problems, he's there. what do you make of this whole shirley sherrod thing? >> a quick rush so judgment. sad. >> larry: taking a tape out of context? >> obviously, fed to us out of context. but you know, too quickly to rush to judgment, i think. >> larry: do you, over all these years, do you look at yourself, a successful man, do you look at as an underdog? >> no, i don't, really, no. i certainly am in areas of controversy, sometimes in the minority. but one follows one's heart and pursues what one believes in. and that's always been what it's all about for me.
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>> larry: there's -- i'm diverting a little. there's stories in newspapers that you want playboy's public company, you want to take it private and own it back yourself. first, why? >> well, not just for myself. i'm concerned about -- as a matter of fact, it really isn't that personal. it's really concerned about continuity in terms of the brand and a need to partner in a way that gives us more financial stability. i need to be sure, you know, i just celebrated my 84th birthday. i want to be sure that the brand and the magazine are secure and going in the right direction. >> larry: and if it stayed public that wouldn't be secure? >> then i think that it's unknown. certainly, the stock at present is undervalued. i just are concerned in terms for the future. >> larry: how about stories that someone may outbid you for your own company?
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>> it isn't possible to do that because i have -- i'm in a position of control. so all of these talks about the notion that the brand or the company is in play is simply untrue. it isn't and can't be because i control it. >> larry: when will you have it as a private company? >> i don't know. we'll see how it plays out. it will only happen if we reach a proper price that is satisfactory to the minority stock holders and is fair to everybody. >> larry: did you ever envision the success that "playboy" has become? >> no, how could i? i started the magazine on $600 borrowed dollars, a total investment from friends and relatives of $8,000, just enough to publish the first issue. >> what year was that? >> no notion of what lay ahead. >> larry: what year was that? >> 1953. >> larry: who was the cover? >> marilyn monroe. >> larry: a posed picture? >> it was a pick-up photo.
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most of the first year was pick-up material. >> larry: you bought it from a photographer? >> right. >> larry: was the first issue a success? >> yes. hugely successful or i wouldn't be around for the second issue. but the second issue didn't have marilyn in it and it sold more than the first. it caught the attention of the people. in other words, it was the monroe nude in that first issue that got the initial attention. what made the magazine successful was the message. it was a lifestyle magazine for single guys. back in the 1950s, that was a revolution. >> larry: was there a centerfold in the first issue? >> yes, although it was a single page. >> larry: was there a centerfold in the second issue? >> single page. we didn't get to the -- >> larry: foldout? >> we didn't get that until the second or third year. >> larry: magazine is in trouble now. the world has changed. >> yes. >> larry: the arrival of the internet, right? >> yes. >> larry: can you make money off the internet? >> does anybody? >> larry: i don't know. >> some people, i guess.
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no, i don't think we're making anything significant out of it yet. at the same time, you know, it's a very nice way to interconnect with your audience. you get a playback immediately. i became -- i got a gift from my girlfriend, crystal harris give me an ipad. >> larry: do you like it? >> i like it very much. and i'm now a twitter bug. when i was a kid, i was a jitter bug. now i'm a twitter bug. >> larry: speaking of girlfriend, how many have you had? >> how many? >> larry: girlfriends when you count up the number? >> i haven't been counting. >> larry: how many do you have now? >> just one. >> larry: ah. >> i'm settling down. >> larry: no more the threesomes, huh? >> no, no. very nice lady. >> larry: there's more to come with you, hefner. we'll ask the first african-american playmate. we'll get to that.
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time for this week's hero. thousands of children have been born into katherine hall trio's sisterhood, which she calls the underground railroad for new life. take a look. >> as a public health administrator, i use the words infant mortality every day but until i held a dead baby in my arms, i never realized that that meant counting dead babies. my name is katherine hall-trujillo and i remind women they're really sisters and can help each other have healthier babies. what we're saying is that you don't have to have this by yourself. >> it takes regular women in a community to work closely, whether it's figuring out how to pay your rent, do you have food in your house?
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it's all because i'm trying to make sure that you're not stressed in order for you to have a healthy baby. >> we've been doing this long enough now that you can hear a child say i was born into the birthing project. that means more to me than anything i may have given up because, in return, i have received a whole community. >> kathryn's project has welcomed babies in 94 communities across five countries. to nominate someone you think is changing the world go to we'll be back with hugh hefner after this. right now, there's a nurse saving a life in baltimore. 20 minutes later, she'll bring one into the world in seattle. later today, she'll help an accident victim in kansas.
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how can one nurse be in all these places? through the nurses she taught in this place. johnson & johnson knows, behind every nurse who touches a life... there's a nurse educator... who first touched them. ♪ you're a nurse ♪ you make a difference
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i feel that, you know, my being named playmate of the year for 1990, it's very special to me and i would hope that it would be a role model for other black women out there, who wanted to be in playboy or who wanted to be maybe in in vogue or whatever, just to take the initiative to do it.
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>> larry: that was renee tenison, who became the first african-american playmate of the year in 1990. that's 20 years ago. why did it take so long? >> well, we had the first black playmate was in the middle of the 1960s. you know, becoming a playmate of the year is a big thing. renee was an identical twin. she decided to pose and her sister didn't. after all the celebrity, et cetera, then her sister wanted to pose and they posed together. >> larry: do you keep up with the playmates? >> yes. one of the nice things -- they talk about playboy family, it's really true. i continue to hear from playmate friends from all the decades. >> larry: how is renee doing? do you hear from renee? >> absolutely. both she and her sister were here for the last big party. >> larry: are they married? >> they're both married. >> larry: you just celebrated
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your 84th birthday, trying to buy back the magazine. do you ever think of just -- as adelaide stevenson once said, go out on the beach, eat some strawberries and watch the dancers? >> i think that -- if you stop doing what you love, i think it is the first step towards the grave. i think that it is the combination of the work and play that keeps you alive, keeps you vital, keeps you connected. >> larry: health deteriorates if you permanently retire? >> i think so. >> larry: what do you want your legacy to be? hugh hefner, businessman, civil rights activist, philanthropist? >> somebody who played a valuable part in the social sexual changes in my time. i'm pretty secure in that. >> larry: do you still read every page of every issue? >> no, no. i used to in the very beginning. the magazine -- the major headquarters are in chicago. what i still do is pick the covers, pick the playmates, pick the pictorials, oversee the
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total package and see that it's together and making sense. >> larry: what's christy doing now? she left the magazine? >> she left the magazine but certainly isn't retired. she keeps showing up on cnn and cnbc and she's -- >> larry: what does she do? >> huh? >> larry: what does she do? >> a political pundit. she's a very bright lady and talks about whatever they ask, business affairs, politics or whatever. >> larry: beautiful girl. >> yes, inside and out. >> larry: how old are your boys now? >> my two kids are 20 and 19. they're both in college. martin and cooper. i'm very proud and very lucky. >> larry: what do they want to do? do they want to run the magazine? >> it's not clear at this particular point and that's probably a good thing at this particular age. they know that's certainly an option for them in terms of working for the magazine. but i think, you know, we have to wait and see. >> larry: continued good health, hugh. >> thank you. >> larry: you're a young 84 and you've changed america. >> thank you very much.


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