Holly Madison, former Playboy Playmate, and girlfriend to Hugh Hefner is blazing her own path. After speaking out about the abuse she endured during her time at the Playboy Mansion, Madison is now producing a new true-crime series about the iconic sex entertainment brand. The Playboy Murders features true stories of real, horrific murders involving Playboy models and associates. Each story will be featured in its own episode.
From Playmate to Producer: Holly Madison & Investigation Discovery Present The Playboy Murders
The Playboy Murders begins with the story of Jasmine Fiore. While Fiore was certainly Playmate material, it’s not clear if she ever posed for the magazine. However, she worked for Playboy — until she went missing. Her mutilated remains were found stuffed into a suitcase after she was strangled in 2009.
Fiore’s husband, Ryan Alexander Jenkins, was the only suspect. He was a former reality TV star on the show Megan Wants a Millionaire. After being charged with murder, Jenkins committed suicide, just over a week after Fiore’s remains were discovered.
Other true-crime murder stories featured on Holly Madison’s Playboy Murders include Stacy Arthur and Carol Gold.
Stacy Arthur was Playboy’s Playmate of the month in January 1991. While Stacy is still alive, it was her husband that suffered a dark and terrible fate — at the hands of one of Stacy’s fans. In October of 1991, less than a year after Stacy became Playmate of the Month, her husband James Alan Arthur became the victim of a murder-suicide. Obsessed fan James Lindberg shot James Arthur out on the street in front of his home before killing himself.
Stacy subsequently tried to sue Playboy, claiming that she was raped and sodomized at the Mansion 3 weeks before her husband was killed. She tried to link the two incidents together, claiming negligence on Playboy’s part. However, it doesn’t seem that her lawsuit was successful.
At Least One of the Murders Was Orchestrated by a Former Playmate
Carol Gold was a former Playboy model who was sentenced to life in prison for murder and conspiracy in 1997. She and her son, Kenneth Cottini, were accused of hiring a hit man to gun down Gold’s husband, Charles. Charles Gold was a Wild West performer who was known by the name of Black Bart.
The hitman who actually made the kill, Dan Goddard, was given immunity in exchange for testimony. Cottini was charged with 2nd-degree murder and sentenced up to 20 years in prison. But Carol Gold, who was allegedly the mastermind behind the scheme, was given life. She was accused of murdering her husband so she could collect his $150,000 life insurance policy.
Madison’s Playboy Murders also features the story of Christina Carlin-Kraft. Christina was a former online Playboy model who was brutally beaten and tortured by Jonathan Wesley Harris in 2018. Harris claimed that the two had consensual sex and that he lost his mind when Christina refused to pay for an ounce of cocaine. He then tied her up, strangled her, and punched her repeatedly. She was found dead, with broken bones in her face and blood everywhere.
Playboy’s history has long seemed alluring and mysterious. Holly Madison told Us Weekly that “there was something about the Playboy brand that had a little bit more of a mystique to it.”
But in the trailer for The Playboy Murders, Madison elaborated that there was a dark side as well.
“When you pose nude a lot of people think it grants some sort of ownership to you,” she said. “These horrible things could really happen to anyone. These were real people with real families.”
Madison Has Spoken Out About Her Time at the Playboy Mansion for Years
The Girls Next Door alum has previously come out against the late Hugh Hefner’s Playboy empire to talk about psychological, sexual, and even drug abuse that occurred during her time at the Mansion. In the A&E series Secrets of Playboy, Madison called Playboy “cult like.” She admitted to being asked to participate in regular bi-weekly orgies with Hefner, abiding by a 9pm curfew, and living in continuous distrust of the other women around her.
Madison said that she tried to keep her 1 day/week waitressing job so she could have an alternative in case her Playboy lifestyle fell through. But she said that Hef became jealous and asked her to quit her job, offering her a $1,000/week stipend instead.
Madison is just one of many women who have spoken out about the shady side of Playboy and the Mansion.
Holly Madison touched on some of the misogynistic pitting of women against women in her 2016 memoir Down the Rabbit Hole.
“Throughout the seven years I was with Hef I always tried to be the best girlfriend I could, and only focused on his positive features,” she wrote. “I blamed any unhappiness or problems I had on the other girls. When the other girls were no longer a part of the picture, I couldn’t make excuses anymore.”
Holly Madison is now a mother of two, whom she shares with her ex-husband Pasquale Rotella. They married in 2013 and divorced in 2019. Prior to that, she dated Hugh Hefner and was often depicted as somewhat of the leader of his harem, from 2001 to 2008. Madison has previously expressed gratitude that Hefner never impregnated her, even though they tried to via IVF.
The Playboy Murders, executive produced by Holly Madison, premieres January 23 on Investigation Discovery.