BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Years before interior designer Mikey Verdugo appeared on HGTV's Design Star, the Hollywood police officer apparently had a brush with video fame -- in a 1996 bondage flick called Rope Rituals, according to several gay bloggers who are now coming out of the woodwork.
From Charles Winters at Gay Socialites.com:
"I am starting to think that gay porn is a prerequisite for reality TV. Adding his name to the porn past hall of fame, Mikey Verdugo from HGTV's "Design Star," is evidently into bondage! The folks over at Dude Tube dug up some NSFW photos and some video of Mikey's porn performances. The "Design Star" cutie definitely knows how to work his tool, but who knew that he was into bondage?!"
Other websites this week also reported Verdugo's alleged porn past, including Gay Porn Blog.
On Wednesday, I left several phone messages for Verdugo, 34, a patrol officer who joined the Hollywood department about seven years ago. He didn't call back.
Hollywood police spokesman Lt. Manny Marino said he couldn't comment on the allegations or whether Verdugo could be fired if he appeared in the film.
"Obviously, we've never had anything like this," Marino said.
HGTV is conducting its own investigation, said Lynn Davis, the network's public relations director. "Our investigations and conversations about this are confidential," Davis said.
Here are the pictures posted at Gay Socialites.com. At left is Rope Rituals star Jeremy Wess; at right is Verdugo in a publicity shot from Design Star:
So, are Jeremy Wess and Mikey Verdugo the same person? Both faces look the same. And so do their tattoos:
Above is Wess' tattoo from 1996. Below is Verdugo's, from his current MySpace page.
Already, there has been much controversy about the postings: A few comments from Gay Porn Blog:
How exactly do you OUT someone who has done gay bondage porn??? LOL. Give me a break.
Posted by: Larry In Dallas at July 15, 2008 1:24 PM
The man is trying to make something of his life. The one who outed him just kicked him on his knees. He fell. I wish he will rise up and try again. Prayers go with him.
Posted by: Gressus001 at July 15, 2008 7:37 PM
Verdugo, a Hialeah High grad, has been the subject of much publicity since his recent appearances on Design Star. The Miami Herald profiled him June 8. On Sunday, judges voted Verdugo off the show, in which he competed for the chance to host his own show.
In October 2007, Broward-Palm Beach New Times published a story about Verdugo's problems within the Hollywood Police Department after he came out of the closet, following a domestic disturbance involving two gay men -- Verdugo and his partner, also a Hollywood cop.