'The Playboy Club' an 'insult' to women's rights advocates

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playboy-club-premiere.jpgThe NBC show "The Playboy Club" continues to court controversy before the first episode even airs.

The San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women has issued a non-binding resolution urging NBC and its affiliates to "replace the program with a series that, instead, depicts women's substantive achievements." The organization is a publicly-funded entity dedicated to securing equal economic, social, political and educational opportunities for San Francisco women.

The resolution, issued in late Aug., says the show "represents a major step backward for women who have struggled to earn an equal place in the workplace, in the community, and at home."

"The Playboy Club" focuses on the lives of the famed Bunnies as well as clientele of the original Playboy Club in 1960s. The show stars Amber Heard, Naturi Naughton, Laura Benanti and Eddie Cibrian.

Commission president Kay Gulbengay, admits to not having seen the program, only the commercials. But she still feels it does not respect the women's rights or civil rights leaders.

"It's an insult to their legacy to put this on TV," she says.

Gulbengay is attempting to get the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the city's governing entity, to issue a resolution on the matter as well.

This is just the latest outcry about the period drama. Previous complaints have come from the Parents Television Council, noted women's rights advocate Gloria Steinem and NBC's affiliate in Salt Lake City, which refuses to air the show.

An NBC spokesperson offered no comment.

"The Playboy Club" debuts on September 19 at 10 p.m. ET

Following is the full text of the resolution.

San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women Resolution Deploring "The Playboy Club" Television Series

BE IT KNOWN that the Commission on the Status of Women of the City and County of San Francisco hereby issues, and authorizes the execution, by the subscribing Commissioners, of the following resolution:

WHEREAS, NBC Television has announced a pilot television series called "The Playboy Club," to air primetime on Mondays, 10 - 11 pm beginning September 19, which is set in 1960s Chicago and glorifies the early years of the exclusive men's club where waitresses were required to wear form-fitting satin animal costumes including bunny ears and a tail while serving drinks and cigarettes to the all male clientele; and,

WHEREAS, The show represents a major step backward for women who have struggled to earn an equal place in the workplace, in the community, and at home; and,

WHEREAS, In particular, the episode that depicts the trials of an African American character in the show trying to become the first Playboy centerfold trivializes the real-world struggle for basic human rights that African Americans endured at the time; relegated to second-class citizen status, African Americans, including those in the Chicago area, were targets of racial discrimination and stereotyping that systematically denied the most basic human rights such as access to decent housing, quality education, and living wage jobs; and

WHEREAS, Gloria Steinem, the legendary leader of the feminist movement who went undercover posing as a Playboy bunny to expose the sexist and exploitive practices of the clubs (such as requiring waitresses to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases) has, this month, publicly called for an outright boycott of the television series;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED That the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women expresses its strongest objection to the new "Playboy Club" television series and urges NBC Television and its affiliates to replace the program with a series that, instead, depicts women's substantive achievements.

Kay Gulbengay, President    
Julie Soo, Vice President
Alicia Gamez    
Nancy Kirshner-Rodriguez    
Rebecca Prowda    
Stephanie Simmons    
Andrea Shorter

San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women August 24, 2011
Photo/Video credit: NBC