By NATE DERRENBACHER
On Wednesday, the estate of Hugh Hefner released a statement that the Playboy founder passed away, age 91, in his infamous Playboy Mansion. Known for many things, Hefner was most recognized for his lifestyle that encompassed his Playboy brand.
But through the years, Hefner was in the spotlight for some negative things, including loss of some of his fortune, how he treated his beloved “Playmates” and scrutiny for his sometimes “dangerous” lifestyle. As referred to by many of those close to him, “Hef” was so focused on his Playboy image that as he aged, he retreated from the spotlight in his final years.
Until the sale of his popular LA home for $100 million in 2016, Hefner was shying away from public appearances, hosted fewer Playboy parties and was not featured in the news.
But following his death, the world has been pouring out their memories and reflections on the late Playboy founder. Every news station, every newspaper and every social media site is covering his death nonstop. More than just a magazine publisher, Hefner started a new revolution of sexual acceptance and extravagant living – shifting the Playboy brand from just a magazine to a brand and lifestyle.
All news outlets, celebrities and everyone in between has been sharing kind words and remembrances of Hefner, and a total disregard for the criticisms that many shared in recent times.
Hefner is not the first celebrity to experience this kind of coverage post-mortem. Before his death in 2009, Michael Jackson was in the news media for scandal after scandal and legal and personal problems. Immediately following his death, the world came together to remember his profound impact on the music industry, and nothing else.
It seems that, especially with the era of “fake news” and social media, scandals and rumors overshadow some celebrities’ work and careers until they are dead. With so much competition, all media outlets need to stay current, and get viewers and readers engaged, so, sometimes coverage of trivial celebrity drama is the best thing to achieve this.
Once celebrities die, it is newsworthy in itself, so media outlets have the time and flexibility to dig deeper into their lives and appreciate what made them famous. The coverage of Hugh Hefner shows that media is on this path, and doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.