August 10th, 2011
01:08 PM ET
NBC's "The Playboy Club" hasn't been without its share of controversy, and now Gloria Steinem is chiming in with her own call to boycott the show, but for a slightly different reason.
The women’s rights activist, 77, says she hopes viewers will refuse to watch the show, set in the first Playboy Club in Chicago, because it’s not a truthful representation of the time and place and it’s demeaning to women. She says in an interview with Reuters, "Clearly ‘The Playboy Club’ is not going to be accurate. It was the tackiest place on earth. It was not glamorous at all.
"It normalizes a passive dominant idea of gender,” the feminist leader explains. “So it normalizes prostitution and male dominance... I just know that over the years, women have called me and told me horror stories of what they experienced at the Playboy Club and at the Playboy Mansion."
Steinem has experience with the club – in 1963 she went undercover to work as a Bunny at the New York City Playboy Club. The result was a shocking expose about the conditions for women who worked there.
"One of the things they had to change because of my expose was that they required all the Bunnies, who were just waitresses, to have an internal exam and a test for venereal disease," she said. "I hope people boycott ['The Playboy Club']. It's just not telling the truth about the era."
Anti-pornography groups are also calling for a boycott. Pink Cross, a faith-based non-profit that reaches out to adult industry workers is participating in an online petition against the show. "What's shown in 'The Playboy Club' is not real - Playboy definitely damages people. It's pornography, it's sex trafficking and it exploits women," the group’s founder, Shelley Lubben told Fox411.com.
Execs for the show (and its stars) have been busy fighting the criticism, calling the series a “really fun soap opera,” and stating that it’s “all about empowering these women to be whatever they want to be.”
"The Playboy Club" debuts September 19 on NBC.
HBO will premiere “Gloria: In Her Own Words,” a documentary about Steinem, on August 15.
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