Friday, July 1, 2022

‘Soul Train’ Creator Don Cornelius Accused of Violently Sexually Assaulting Playboy Bunnies

Don Cornelius
Don Cornelius (Photo by R. Diamond/WireImage for The Recording Academy (View ONLY))

*“Secrets of Playboy” is a new 10-part docuseries on A&E that unpacks the “real truth” behind Hugh Hefner’s empire.

In Monday’s episode, former Playboy “bunny mother”  P.J. Masten alleges that “Soul Train” creator, the late Don Cornelius, sexually assaulted two Playboy bunnies decades ago.

“It was probably the most horrific story I’ve ever heard at Playboy,” Masten said of Cornelius’ alleged actions, PEOPLE reports. “This story is the story of a massive cleanup that never hit the press.”

According to Masten, Cornelius was a Playboy VIP, and one night he invited two new recruits (sisters) to go back to his house where he was throwing a party.

“These two young girls got in his Rolls-Royce, went up to his house and we didn’t hear from them for three days,” Masten alleged in the episode. “We couldn’t figure out where they were.”

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Here’s more from PEOPLE:

That three-day silence was broken when one of the girls called a bunny mother at the Playboy Mansion, allegedly saying that she and her sister had been held at Cornelius’ house and she was finally able to get out. Joe Piastro, Playboy’s head of security, went to pick them up and found them “bloodied, battered [and] drugged,” Masten said.

According to Masten, the sisters — who are not named in the docuseries — reported that they had been locked in separate rooms at Cornelius’ house.

“They were tied up and bound,” Masten alleged. “There were wooden objects that they were sodomized with and [one sister] could hear [the] other sister being brutalized. It was horrible, horrible.”

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Masten said police were not notified about the alleged assault, as it was Playboy’s policy to handle such matters internally. The two bunnies were warned to keep quiet about their experience with Cornelius. 

“The thing that was so outrageous to me, that made me so angry,” Masten said, “was that no charges were filed and Don Cornelius’ privileges as a number one VIP were never suspended. He was back in the club the following week.”

“These young girls, what they went through, nobody has any idea,” Masten said through tears. “My job was to pick up the pieces. I had to pick up the pieces of these kids. They were kids!”

She continued: “I blame myself a lot, I have such guilt about not coming forward, but I knew that the establishment wouldn’t allow me to come forward. And who’s going to believe me? Nobody’s going to believe me.”

In a statement to PEOPLE, Cornelius’ son, Tony Cornelius, called Masten’s account “salaciousness” and an “unbelievable story without real proof.”

Cornelius hosted “Soul Train” from 1971 to 1993. Ten years ago to the day, he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Feb. 1, 2012.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.




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