When ABC airs "A Bunny's Tale" at 9 tonight, the network will include a disclaimer saying that the TV movie, based on feminist Gloria Steinem's article about her experiences posing as a Playboy Club cocktail waitress in 1963, is a "dramatization."
ABC said that the advisory isn't running because of any complaint by Hugh Hefner, head of the Playboy empire, or because of the recent controversy over so-called "docudramas," such as CBS' "The Atlanta Child Murders," which meld fact with fiction.
CBS agreed to precede its "Murders" docudrama with an advisory after protests by Atlanta civic and business leaders. That advisory said in part that the program "is not a documentary, but a drama based on certain facts surrounding the murder and disappearance of children in Atlanta between 1979 and 1981," and that some of its "events and characters are fictionalized for dramatic purposes."
Tom Mackin, an ABC spokesman in New York, said that the ABC dramatization advisory "was planned early on" and did not result from the recent controversy over docudramas. "We've done it many times before," he said.
"A Bunny's Tale" is based on a Show magazine article that Steinem wrote as a struggling free-lance writer. She had been asked by an editor to get a job as a waitress at the Playboy Club in New York and write a lighthearted article about the life of the scantily clad cocktail waitresses there.
The TV movie tells of the callous working conditions, the leering, lecherous customers and the humiliation that she says she and the other waitresses endured.
Fran Zone, a spokeswoman for Hefner, said that the millionaire publisher had made no complaint to ABC about "Tale" and that "he hasn't seen the movie."
ABC's disclaimer, to be aired at the beginning of the film, says: "The following dramatization is inspired by Gloria Steinem's personal memories of her Playboy Club experience in 1963 and is told from her perspective."