Say What Now? Soul Train Creator Don Cornelius Accused of Tying Up, Sexually Assaulting Playboy Bunnies in New Docuseries

Iconic ‘Soul Train’ host and creator Don Cornelius has been accused of locking up and sexually assaulting two Playboy bunnies several decades ago.

via People:

Former “bunny mother” P.J. Masten made the allegations against the television producer — who died in 2012 — during Monday night’s episode of Secrets of Playboy, an A&E documentary series that explores the very dark side of Playboy as told by the women who worked alongside founder Hugh Hefner and his friends.

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

According to Masten, Cornelius was a Playboy VIP and familiar face to the girls. One night at a Hollywood dance bar where the bunnies were known to hang out, Cornelius spotted two new recruits — sisters — and invited them to join him in the bar’s VIP area, she said. Later that evening, he allegedly asked the “baby bunnies” if they wanted to go back to his house with him, where he said 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.”

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.”

Cornelius’ son, Tony Cornelius, tells PEOPLE, in part, that Masten’s account is an “unbelievable story without real proof” and “salaciousness.”

Masten said that the sister who allegedly managed to get free didn’t notify the police in accordance with Playboy policy, and claimed that the company’s security team handled the matter internally, telling the bunnies to keep quiet and avoid speaking to the press.

If the allegations are true, then Playboy succeeded at covering them up: Cornelius was never investigated for sexual assault against the bunnies, though he was convicted on unrelated domestic violence charges in 2008.

“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.”

Cornelius hosted Soul Train from 1971 to 1993, providing a platform for Black musicians to reach mainstream audiences and helping artists such as Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, James Brown and Michael Jackson gain exposure.

He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Feb. 1, 2012, after experiencing seizures for 15 years and suffering “extreme pain,” according to his son.

Following Monday’s episode of Secrets of Playboy, a disclaimer appeared on-screen reminding viewers that “the vast majority of the allegations” made in the docuseries “have not been the subject of criminal investigations or charges, and they do not constitute proof of guilt.”

You never know what people do behind closed doors.

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