Multiple contestants on Logo TV’s gay “Bachelor”-like dating show, “Finding Prince Charming,” charge that show producers and network executives not only knew its leading man had worked as a male escort and appeared in a sex tape, they planned the entire scandal to drum up ratings for the ailing network.
One of the 13 suitors, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, insisted there is “no way” the network was unaware of the sketchy past of 33-year-old interior designer Robert Sepulveda Jr., as a Logo spokesperson claimed to TheWrap earlier this month.
“We all had to go through rigorous background checks for three weeks and another three days before the show even started taping,” he said.
“I don’t believe the network was blindsided. I don’t think anyone believes that,” another contestant, who also asked that his name not be used, told TheWrap.
The first contestant said that he confronted Logo producers after recognizing Sepulveda from a sex tape he remembered seeing — the Prince Charming has since claimed an ex-boyfriend posted a private video without his permission.
“As soon as I left the house and got my phone back” — contestants’ phones were confiscated for the duration of the shoot — “I Googled ‘Robert Sepulveda’ and the words ‘sex tape’ and there it was,” he said. “Didn’t even need to scroll down.”
The network ignored TheWrap’s repeated questions about the vetting process nor did it explain how it missed Sepulveda’s past, which was seemingly available to anyone with an internet connection. Two emails to Sepulveda’s lawyer went unanswered.
Logo did send TheWrap the same statement it has previously sent: “We are aware of Robert’s past and fully support him as he moves forward in his search for love on ‘Finding Prince Charming.'” A person close to the situation told TheWrap earlier this month that the network followed “standard protocol” when vetting Sepulveda and that “nothing came up during the background check.”
The second suitor said that Logo “wanted to churn up some drama to get attention,” but believes the network never expected the backlash that followed. One contestant, dubbed Chad Aaron S. on Logo’s website, claimed last week he had been fired from his real estate job because “of the liability of my TV venture.”
“There are videos of Robert out there that are quite disgusting. Now I’m associated with him,” the second contestant said. “Try explaining that to your mother.”
Ironically, he said, the show’s contract specifically stipulated that cast members should not appear in sex tapes or naked pictures that show contestants’ faces.
The first suitor said he went on the show for the experience, but not of the kind that has now emerged. “If I wanted to date a hooker, I’d hire one,” he told TheWrap. “I’m beyond livid.”
Many in the LGBT community have criticized Logo for its handling of its first same-sex dating show, which premiered last week and is hosted by former *NSYNC member Lance Bass.
“To call him ‘Prince Charming’ is a little reckless,” AIDS activist Tyler Curry told TheWrap. Gay news site Queerty noted its commenters were going “ballistic” about Seplveda’s casting, with some calling him “a disgrace to the community.”
Both contestants also dispute Sepulveda’s claims that he came clean about his past on the show — suggesting that he only opened up to a small group of people.
“We still haven’t taped the reunion show,” one contestant said. “He’s going to get a piece of my mind for sure.”