The drama around Robert Sepulveda, the star of Logo TV’s gay The Bachelor knock-off Finding Prince Charming continues to deepen as two of the show’s contestants have anonymously come forward accusing the network of knowing about Sepulveda’s sex-worker past and hiding it from the contestants to create promotional buzz around the show without their informed consent.
TheWrap talked with an anonymous Prince Charming contestant who says there’s “no way” that Logo didn’t know about Sepulveda’s past as a sex worker since all the contestants had to undergo “rigorous background checks for three weeks and another three days before the show even started taping”; the contestant also says he found out about Sepulveda now-famous sex tapes using a simple Google search. He claims to have approached the show’s producers about them; Sepulveda has said an ex leaked the videos without his consent.
“If I wanted to date a hooker, I’d hire one. I’m beyond livid,” the anonymous contestant told TheWrap.
A second suitor told TheWrap that he thinks that Logo knew about Prince Charming’s sex work and kept it secret to drum up excitement about the show. He said, “There are videos of Robert out there that are quite disgusting. Now I’m associated with him. Try explaining that to your mother.”
One of the contestants (we’re unsure if it’s one of the two above or a third) claims that Sepulveda only told a few contestants about his sex-worker past rather than everyone. He said, “We still haven’t taped the reunion show. He’s going to get a piece of my mind for sure.”
So, as supporters of sex work we have to say that we’re disappointed but not surprised by the contestants’ reactions, and we wonder whether they’ll have the guts them to Sepulveda’s face during the reunion show (presuming there IS one).
Truth is, sex work is labor — it helps people survive in an unfair economic system and helps bring sexual pleasure to those who could not otherwise access it (like the disabled and the elderly). The idea that it carries some sort of moral offensiveness that taints you just by being near or attracted to it is priggish and slut-shaming.
Would these anonymous contestants feel the same way if Sepulveda’s sexual past just didn’t involve money? We can’t imagine them getting as outraged over someone who had been just as slutty and placed their personal ads somewhere other than Rentboy.
Let’s compare it to a weed dealer. Cannabis, like sex, is legal to sell in some parts of the world and illegal in other parts and it helps bring pleasure and healing to people who can’t access them via other medical means. It’s entirely reasonable that a person could go on a date and, upon learning that their date was “a drug dealer”, want nothing to do with them because the illegality leaves a moral distaste in their mouths. It’s priggish, but it’s their right.
The comparison would be apt except that sex carries an additional societal shame because it contradicts the conservative consumer narrative that we should save it for the one we love, for our “Prince Charming.” It’s an outdated concept and one we’re sad to hear other gay men reinforcing as a means of shame.
While it’s unclear whether Logo TV knew about Sepulveda’s sex work (they claim they didn’t find out about it until midway through production), who cares that Prince Charming used to fuck for money? And to be honest, was it really Logo TV’s place to give every contestant Sepulveda’s complete resume and life history? Does that ever happen before dating anyone? Isn’t the thrill of the show supposed to be seeing Sepulveda forming relationships with each guy and individually deciding which ones he’ll let into his past? If anything, these guys sound upset that they didn’t get close enough for him to share.
Sorry suitors, that’s just how dating goes — while we might not like it, there’s no pre-set time when someone is supposed to reveal the parts of their lives that you might dislike. And if your mom or friends judge you for being attracted to a dude who just happened to be a sex worker, that’s their problem; don’t make it yours or anyone else’s.
(Featured image via LOGO)