"nightline" is next. thanks for watching, everybody. this is "nightline." >> tonight, on the front lines and on the brink. >> was that a shot? >> yeah. >> the cold war style standoff between russia and the west. 100,000 russians massing at the ukraine border. now american troops on standby. where will the u.s. soldiers end up? plus, hugh hefner's the empire of glamour and excess that opened the door to a sexual revolution. >> he had charm, charm, charm, m. he was such a charming man. >> but inside, stories of emotional abuse, manipulation and drugs. how do you think the me too movement would have treated hefner today? >> they would have just strung
him up by his toenails. and "jeopardy!'s" amy schneider. >> you now have the second longest streak in "jeopardy!" history. >> how she is making history tonight. >> "nightline" will be right back. hello? gordon ramsay? this is a cold call! nfl teams are turning to cold with tide, will you? that will never work! if it works on nfl jerseys it'll work for you. seriously! just perfect! and it'll save up to $150 a year. and it's cold! so you will turn to cold? fine! i'll turn to cold! that guy needs to chill out! this was a cold call!
tonight american service personnel have been put on alert, ready for a possible deployment as tensions continue to rise on the ukraine border, where tens of thousands of russian troops are massed, waiting. abc's senior foreign correspondent ian pannell went to the front lines. >> here along the front lines telephone ukraine/russia crisis, the air can seem eerily quiet. the crunch of snow underfoot, occasionally interrupted by gunfire in the distance. >> is that a shot? >> yeah. yes. >> but the ukrainian troops here say they're under constant threat. this shell-shocked factory riddled with bullets and shrapnel, bearing witness to an eight-year struggle between the ukrainian military and russian-backed separatists. >> ian pannell, good morning, sir. how are you? >> fine. and you? >> the general has been fighting
and said now there is concerns that russia will invade is at an all-time high. do you feel there is a greater threat today than at any time recently? >> translator: we are waiting, and we're waiting calmly. if they come, we'll fight. behind us are our families, our homes. and so i think it will not be at all easy for them to take ukraine. >> over the past month, russian military presence along the border to the east has grown to around 100,000 troops. the russian defense ministry releasing footage showing troops practicing what they say are merely drills. >> mr. putin doesn't think of ukraine as a sovereign country, and yet ukraine is moving gradually and inexorably towards europe, and he wants to stop that. >> president putin says he doesn't plan to invade. he doesn't plan to attack. >> translator: first of all,
what putin says is never the truth. the force they've created is large, powerful, but it's not enough to seize ukraine. we have people who are ready to fight and will fight. if we will be given the weapons, the help that we need, i think putin will give up his ideas. >> the u.s. is delivering support. this shipment of 200,000 pounds of lethal aid landing over the weekend with another shipment expected soon. and today the pentagon announcing that 8,500 u.s. troops have been placed on heightened alert, preparing for deployment orders, although no final decisions have been made. >> the united states has taken steps to heighten the readiness of its forces at home and abroad so that they are prepared to respond to a range of contingencies. >> i don't think we should read too much into this announcement from the pentagon. i think this is a prudent decision today to increase the awareness of the readiness status of those forces.
>> diplomats from the u.s. and russia met last week to ease tensions, but they've only seemed to increase. secretary of state antony blinken promising a written response to russia's security demands, which include a guarantee that ukraine wouldn't join nato. the u.s. has ruled that out. insisting over the weekend on cnn that the letter is by no means a concession. >> if a single additional russian force goes into ukraine in an aggressive way, as i said, that would trigger a swift, a severe, and a united response from us and from europe. >> u.s. diplomats' families have been ordered to evacuate the country, and u.s. citizens advised to leave ukraine amid a do not travel advisory warning. and president biden holding a secure video call with european leaders earlier today. >> it's important that they have a common view and a common understanding of the situation
on the ground so that when decisions are made, and if a decision is made to use military capability, that all of the countries have been aligned from the top on down. >> but as nato defenses stiffen, these kinds of threats are just part of everyday life for so many ukrainians like alexei and his librarian wife svetlana, who we met in ukraine last month. have you had this conversation? what will you do as a family if god forbid the russians cross the border and come here? >> it's really difficult to plan because you don't know what to expect. >> the posters on the library wall give advice on how to identify land mines and grenades and what to do if shelling starts. do people talk about the russians being on the border? are people concerned? >> i would say -- i would say no. >> the fighting first began in 2014 after ukraine deposed its pro-russia president.
protesters swarming the capital of kiev in an uprising known as the revolution of dignity, or the maidan revolution. >> we're are not terrorists. we are free people who want to live in a good country without corruption, with good laws, with good standards of living. >> the president was accused of corruption and trying to turn the country closer to putin's russia. ukraine, a former nuclear power that was part of the soviet union until 1991, was torn between protesters who said they wanted to become a modern european democracy and security forces, leading to months of violent clashes that left over 100 people dead and the president ousted. >> we must do win and we must build our new country, which will be a part of the civilized world. >> but in a swift response, russian forces invaded an annexed the crimean peninsula
from ukraine, and backed separatists in the east, although a 2015 peace agreement ended large scale fighting, the deadly conflict has smoldered on.p>> the actions that the russ took in 2014 were the first time that an armed force from one country invaded another country to change those borders since the nazis invaded to start world war ii. >> today the ukrainian army is much better equipped to fight back. but still here on the front line, soldiers like ivan are forced to make the most of rudimentary resources like this periscope. >> it's soviet union times optics, but now it's still working good. >> old-fashioned technology? >> yeah, old technology. >> if you and i were not stood down in this bunker, if we stood up there, what would happen? >> probably we will be killed by
sniper. >> it's that serious, that close? >> yeah. >> the troops here say they have the country behind them and are ready to fight to the death, knowing that if putin really intends to cross the border, they face overwhelming odds. >> our thanks to ian. up next, inside the playboy mansion. the women who were there describe a hidden dark side. plaque psoriasis, the tightness, stinging... ...the pain. emerge tremfyant®. with tremfya®, adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis... ...can uncover clearer skin and improve symptoms at 16 weeks. serious allergic reactions may occur. tremfya® may increase your risk of infections and lower your ability to fight them.
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you know, hugh hefner's playboy empire wasn't just a brand, it was a driving force in the sexual revolution of the last century. but on the inside, not everyone was happy. there are accusations of dark secrets, stories of abuse and manipulation. >> the minute we met, he saw this wholesome all american girl, and i fit the role. >> from the outside looking in, sondra theodore's life with hugh hefner was a fairy tale, flammer, parties with a real life prince charming. >> he had all the trappings. he had charm, charm, charm, charm. he was such a charming man. >> before the fairy tale was dashed, describe the trappings. what did the fairy tale consist of? >> first of all, there was the castle. he showed me romantic movies and
he played the part. and i was wrapped up in the fact that he told me that we were going to have children and we'd be together forever. and i believed him. >> but behind the gates inside the playboy mansion, sondra says she felt imprisoned in a cycle of emotional abuse, manipulation, and drugs. >> as the years went on, little things started scaring me about him, like how could he be like this? how could i love a man like this? >> hugh hefner opened the door for the sexual revolution, i will agree. >> he represents to this woman here freedom. but playboy has its dark side. >> there was a secret world. playboy was all about powerful men preying on beautiful young women. >> sondra's story and that of many other former playmates and bunnies, colleagues and friends part of a new docuseries from a&e.
"secrets of playboy," reexamining the controversial legacy of hugh hefner, who died in 2017. >> i really wasn't aware of the bigger allegations that are in this series when i began this research. i was really just wanting to ask the women of playboy to talk to me about their experiences in a really open, honest way. when you talk about the legacy of playboy, it's really mixed. and i wanted to be very honest about that. because playboy was a progressive beacon from the '50s on wards. >> at that point in time, i wasn't interested in marriage. but i was interested in playboy enterprises because women were taking their power. they were in command of themselves. so i thought well, wow, wow. >> playboy changed the world. it opened up the sexual revolution to be talked about, and it brought women to the forefront to explore that sexuality. >> jonathan baker, a hollywood director and long-time friend of hefner is also featured in the
series. >> because of the platform that was opened up to the world, women had more opportunity. >> my bunny name was bunny jackie, and i started working at playboy in 1967. for 11 1/2 years. we definitely got paid well, and i bought a car and i lived the way i wanted to. >> playboy was the place where a lot of people of color got great opportunities on television, in the magazine, in the clubs that were not being offered anywhere else. i didn't want to gloss over that. and i also wanted to notice how possible it is that there can be an entity that is this great progressive beacon that is also covering up a lot of darkness. sondra theodore is the interview that changed everything for me. and she's the reason that we will completely reframe how we see hefner in playboy.
>> theodore and hefner dated for five years. she was a playmate and centerfold, but she says as the years went on, the control became overwhelming. >> i was followed in the beginning and later. i could not be out having an evening for myself. i didn't have my own money. he kept me away from other people. when we would go out together, we were treated like royalty. so that kept me thinking okay, if everyone thinks he is so wonderful, it must be me. >> life with hefner, she says, pushed to a breaking point. >> the drugs fueled how many people you could get in your bed. and all of the sudden there is three of us. and three girls became five. it got ridiculous up there. he twisted my mind so much that if i loved him, that proved how much i loved him. >> so what do you think about what was happening back then? there was so much drugs.
were the women always able to give consent? >> no. no. and even when they didn't, some things continued. >> you also describe him as being a voyeur. and there were times when other men were brought into the situation. did you in your mind give consent to having sex with those other men? >> no, no. i hated it. i never wanted any of that. >> there was no coercion. there were no -- no one was feeding these girls drugs. yeah, in the '70s there were quaaludes. they were there. but they weren't being forced down people's throats. were there orgies? yes, there were. everybody participated. i was very conservative. i didn't participate in those acts. >> when you talk about playboy, we all kind of enjoyed that fact in a tongue and cheek way that happens at the mansion stays at the mansion like vegas. there is an aspect of consent. and i kept struggling with that as i was reporting this.
where is the abuse if you consented? where does the line begin? when you start to talk about someone like hef and he is slowly slowly slowly bringing the women around him into these extreme sexual acts, you realize that it's not about consent anymore because there is all this grooming going on, making them feel like the more extreme acts are normal, and that's something expected of them. >> hefner was a force throughout his life, continuing to push the norms of sexual liberation and free expression. in 2010, hefner spoke with my colleague john donvan to discuss the playboy brand. >> playboy products, that rabbit, that trademark is famous everywhere. maybe other people are looking back a little bit too. maybe they want a little piece of the wofrld they missed. >> you say there is a bit of a nostalgia. and what was there then that is not here now? >> a little more style, a little more class, a little more romantic connection. >> and even as he aged, a near constant stream of women who didn't on display in the
breakout series "the girls next door." one of those stars holly madison. >> as a girlfriend, i'm extremely devoted. >> i love you. >> i love you, darling. >> like sondra three decades before her, describes a controlling and traumatic life inside the mansion. >> another thing that reminds me of a cult is how it was so easy to get isolated from the outside world there. you had a 9:00 curfew. you were encouraged to not have friends over. you weren't really allowed to leave unless it was like a family holiday. >> was holly feeling the things that she was feeling? yes. but that's not hef's fault. i mean, the rules are what they are, right? yes, there was a curfew. and yes, the girls had to be in early. but hef was a jealous guy. >> by breaking their silence, these former playmates shedding new light on the complicated founder of an empire built on a fantasy.
>> i want young girls to know it's not good. it's not good. stand your ground and respect yourself and don't let anyone tell you if you love me, you will, you know, because if they love you, they will not ask this of you. >> "secrets of playboy" airs monday at nine p.m. on a&e. up next, "jeopardy!'s" amy schneider. the message she hopes to send with her winning ways. a lot of folks ask me why their dishwasher doesn't get everything clean. i tell them, it may be your detergent... that's why more dishwasher brands recommend cascade platinum. it's specially-designed with the soaking, scrubbing and rinsing built right in. cascade platinum's unique actionpacs dissolve quickly... ...to remove stuck-on food. . . for sparkling-clean dishes, the first time. choose the detergent that lets your dishwasher do the dishes! cascade platinum. the number one recommended brand in north america.
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and finally tonight, "jeopardy!'s" amy schneider. >> amy? >> what is mc hammer. what is a hedgehog? >> yes. >> what is 1999 bottles of beer on the wall? >> that's right. >> she has done it again. "jeopardy!" champion amy schneider with another record breaking night. >> 1,918,000. you now have the longest streak in "jeopardy!" history. >> clinching the number two spot for most consecutive wins,
raising the visibility of the trans community. >> the best part for me has been being on tv as my true self, expressing myself, and representing the entire community of trans people. and just kind of showing a smart, confident woman, and, you know, just doing something super normal like being on "jeopardy!." >> schneider aims to beat ken jennings' 74-game streak, a huge undertaking. but if anyone is up for it, she is. and that's "nightline" for tonight. you can watch all of our full episodes on hulu. we'll see you right back