In 2017, the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner clearly had lost some of its luster. Not only did the President and first lady not attend the annual dinner at the Washington Hilton Hotel, many of the news outlets that held glamorous after-parties ditched DC as well. The 2018 WHCD evening was shaping up to look about the same in terms of parties and panache — until Wednesday, when Playboy Magazine announced it would be throwing its first-ever WHCD bash.
In an announcement about the party, which will occur at a downtown Washington nightclub after the dinner on April 28, a representative for the adult magazine said, “Playboy was at the front lines when being progressive first became politicized,” and added that the publication has long-been a “passionate defender of the First Amendment and a free press.” Cooper Hefner, son of the late Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and now Chief Creative Officer for Playboy Enterprises, made the decision to throw the WHCD party. In addition, Hefner and several unnamed invited guests, will attend the dinner itself, seated at a table purchased by Playboy. Tables at WHCD are difficult to come by, unless a publication has an approved White House correspondent; funds raised by the sale of tables go back into the White House Correspondents’ Association, towards scholarships for aspiring journalists.
For several years, the glitzy parties associated with WHCD weekend became more of a draw than the dinner itself, with dozens of celebrities flying into the nation’s capital for a chance to party with politicos. The events were often a mashup of politics and pop culture, with the most coveted afterparty ticket arguably belonging to Vanity Fair, which for many consecutive years hosted with Bloomberg a glitzy affair at the sprawling mansion of the French Ambassador. But the parties that were the heyday of WHCD coincided with the heady celebrity-friendly Obama era — when it wasn’t all that unusual to peep Beyoncé at the White House Easter Egg Roll, or Steven Spielberg and John Legend toasting Barack Obama on his birthday. The Trump presidency has been markedly more sedate when it comes to Hollywood draw.
Invitations for the Playboy event, dubbed the “No Tie Party,” were distributed to a private list on Wednesday.