Hefner sees street named in his honor

Hefner sees street named in his honor


Medill News Service

CHICAGO -- Hugh Hefner got his Way on Tuesday.

After emotional testimony from aldermen and others, the City Council Finance

Committee voted to bestow the honorary title "Hugh Hefner Way" to the

intersection of Michigan Avenue and Walton Street.

The location is the site of the original Playboy Club and the Palmolive

Building, where Playboy used to have its offices. Supporters and opponents of

the honor appeared before the committee, chaired by 14th Ward Alderman Edward

M. Burke.

Hefner's daughter, Playboy Enterprises CEO Christie Hefner, 47, defended her

father, saying: "It's important that you understand the decades-long record

that my father and the magazine have accomplished and stand for in support of

economic justice for women, equality between the sexes and the Equal Rights


She added that both feminist author and activist Betty Friedan and slain civil

rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. published their views in the magazine,

which is popularly known for its photos of naked women.

Chairman Burke sided with Christie Hefner and, after later testimony denouncing

her father, he told her he was sorry she had to hear the attacks.

Alderman Carrie M. Austin, 34th, angrily objected to the proposal.

"It's my opinion as a female (and) as a representative of the City of Chicago

and the 34th Ward, that (Hefner]) should not be honored because he has made his

millions and millions of dollars on the backs of women from exploiting

females," she said.

A witness, University of Chicago law student James Madigan, agreed.

"I just want to expose a bit of truth: Mr. Hefner's success is due to one basic

business service," Madigan said. "He gets women to expose their genitalia for


Madigan brought a copy of Playboy and told the committee that it was the first

time he had ever bought one. He initially said that he would spare the

committee the sight of the magazine's pictures, but then invited committee

members to see them. When committee members urged him to hold up the

centerfold, Madigan did.

Burke called for a vote and quickly pronounced the motion approved.

Hours later, the action moved to the intersection of Michigan and Walton, where

a crowd watched as the sign went up.

Among them was 74-year-old Hugh Hefner himself, who said he was "struck and

saddened" by the negative statements made against him and called on citizens to

"embrace our sexuality." Twin Playboy models Mandy and Sandy Bentley, 21, who

are dating Hefner, arrived with him and said they were proud of his


Alderman Burton F. Natarus, 42nd, a friend and supporter of Hefner, proposed

the honor at a Transportation and Public Way Committee meeting Monday. The

committee voted against the proposal after hearing angry opposition from

aldermen and witnesses, who found it offensive to women.

When Finance Committee members questioned whether the move from Transportation

to Finance was allowed under City Council rules, Burke replied that Finance had

to consider the measure in the absence of any other committee meetings before

Wednesday's full Council meeting.

However, the Council had scheduled a police and fire committee meeting for

11:30 a.m. Tuesday and a license and consumer protection committee meeting for

1 p.m.

While the proposal must get the full Council's approval Wednesday to become

official, the city can post honorary signs for six months without Council



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