Interior designer Robert Sepulveda of Atlanta, as earlier reported, is the first bachelor on Logo's gay dating show "Finding Prince Charming." Debuting Sept. 8, the show features 13 single gay men seeking Sepulveda's love with Lance Bass as the host.
But in recent days, Sepulveda's past as a male escort has come out, with evidence of his work on various porn and gay dating websites. Sepulveda, in a clear act of damage control, spoke with the Huffington Post to acknowledge what happened in a superficial way and quickly pivot away from it.
“The past is the past,” Sepulveda told the website. “I was young and it helped through college. But what I want people to focus on is who I am today as an entrepreneur, as an activist. I started a non-profit and, you know, focusing on the show. That’s really what I want people to focus on.”
In other words, nothing to see here folks!
Logo management is embarrassed its vetting process overlooked this information until well into production, according to The Wrap. Of course, Sepulveda himself didn't bother to tell Logo upfront either. And now it's out just a few days' before the show's debut. So far, Logo is sticking with the show. Perhaps the publicity will generate more viewers.
I asked to talk to Sepulveda this week, but the publicist said he wasn't available to me.
He started a non-profit group last year called Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks and raised $44,911 last summer via a GoFundMe site to turn crosswalks into rainbows in Atlanta. The rainbow crosswalks he did paint in Atlanta did not last long. His group, according to the GoFundMe site, was seeking 501(c)3 non-profit status last summer and was using Georgia Equality to make the donations tax deductible.
But Queerty.com, a gay news website, questioned how active it really is. Another news site Project Q, more so than his sex work, wondered why he kept touting his non-profit work so much when he is hardly considered a big player in that world. It said the group folded in May.
In the past week, enterprising folks on the Web found his picture and profile on a now defunct site called RentBoy.com (which the FBI shut down for being a prostitution business) and daddyreviews.com. These profiles feature explicit pictures and videos from Sepulveda’s prostitute past.
“To call him ‘Prince Charming’ is a little reckless,” AIDS activist Tyler Curry told TheWrap, while cautioning against “shaming” people who become sex workers.
Late Thursday, a lawyer for Sepulveda told the Wrap his client has never done porn and a video sent to an ex-boyfriend 10 years ago was posted online without Sepulveda’s permission — and has since been removed from the site Xtube.
Spencer S. Barre, who said he had been a friend of Sepulveda for a long time, said the man has been escorting for 15 years, hardly a youthful indiscretion. He also believes Sepulveda's interior design business is not exactly thriving, which is why he had to resort to the prostitution business. (His site does not list clients and references.)
"As a gay man who has known him a long time," Barre said, "I don't think he's the best person to be promoted as a gay icon right now. He's more of a Rumplestiltskin than a Prince Charming."
UPDATE :On September 3, Sepulveda posted on the Logo FB page this note, sounding a wee bit defensive from the negativity of social media responses. Obviously, he's read some of it:
What's wrong with you people? What else do you want from me, a liver? An eye? Do you guys want to burn me at the stake?! What's wrong with you guys! I am a human being here - with feelings and a family that loves and cares for me. You should be ashamed at the way you are attacking me - attacking a member of your own community. I've made mistakes in my life - I own up to that - but I am no different then you! How many of you are on Grindr right now or other sex apps?! How many of you ask or send for dick pics on the daily?! Should we shame you?! Should we ridicule you?! But you want to attack me for taking control of my life when I had little to zero options about how I was going to survive, where I was going to live or even if I had enough money to eat. Such hypocrites! This isn't the, "America helps us Canonizes a Saint" show. This is a reality show where REAL men with REAL life issues and REAL pasts meet and see if they like each other and fall in love! THATS IT! We all want to be accepted, we all want to be loved - this show will bring visibility to real life issues! If you want a granola 50s fake show of what life should be then watch The Andy Griffith show. What else do you guys want from me - I've said it - I was an escort - it takes a lot of courage to own up to your past - why can't you guys just allow me to move on with my life?! How about we talk about the thousands of dollars I've been able to donate to charities through my nonprofit The Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks that is STILL an ACTIVE non profit. How about we talk about the many young students I've helped working with the NY Cares organization, or the 100 of dogs and cats we've saved working with no kill animal shelters?! How about you guys talk about the LGBTQ history that was made in Atlanta when I brought the rainbow crosswalks to Atlanta, and the visibility that was created which in-turn started a conversation that helped many young lgbtq kids start a dialogue about there sexuality with there loved ones in the Deep South. I'm such a multifaceted person, you'll see that on the show. I've had many experiences in my life good and bad, escorting was just one of them - am I a plastic Ken doll - absolutely not - I am human! You guys want a reality show, here it is, but now it's too real, or too gay or not gay enough or not diverse enough and you guys want to tear it down? You guys haven't even seen the first episode yet! Millions of men and women make money the best way they know how, sometimes there are no other choices. Life is a journey with many ups and downs. Shaming people is wrong! Period! And nothing anyone says will take away the fact that it doesn't matter what your circumstance is right now, today, you are worthy of being loved! I am worthy of finding love! You are worth of respect and dignity! You are so much more then your past! You are a unique and perfectly made human that can learn from your past choices and my past drives me everyday to be better, work harder and achieve more! If my words helps at least one person then continue to burn me at the steak! I am a willing sacrifice. But just know, all you haters out there I am moving on with my life with the knowledge that I have faced my fears, faced my past and can move through this world knowing that chapter of my life is closed. I won't allow the pain, guilt or shame of that experience to stop me from the trajectory my life is heading and I certainly won't allow trolls to use it against me as if it was some kind of ammunition I am afraid of, IM NOT! You guys are the ones that need to face it, and move on - it's over -closed chapter. If some of you sad individuals wanna keep blasting me, the show or anything else - my advice to you is to get over it and GET A LIFE!
What I want the world to know is that the idealistic image of a fairy tale prince is not relevant in this fast dynamic ever changing world we live in. Prince Charming of today is someone who is loving, accepting of others regardless of their past. Someone who is able to get through difficult times and using his experience to influence others by making better choices in life. Prince Charming of today is someone that understands the world we live in and knows through the wisdom of his heart that there is no place for hate especially in the gay community. We have witnessed segregation, abandonment and now killing of gay people in the hand of Isis simply because being gay is not ideal to those who hate us. I want my critics to know that there is no ideal. The only universal ideal is to love, accept and stand with each other against intolerance and hate. This is me and I'm not gonna coverup or go hide - I'm being my authentic self - I will celebrate who I am - we are never going to be good enough for anyone's standards. We should stop taking ownership of everyone else's life and start focusing on our own.
By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Friday, September 2, 2016