The gay Atlanta bachelor at the center of Logo's new reality dating show "Finding Prince Charming" dismissed his work as a high-dollar escort and continues to tout his creation of a non-profit though it stopped operations months ago.
Logo announced last week that Robert Sepulveda Jr., a 33-year-old interior designer, was the leading man for "Finding Prince Charming," a "Bachelor"-like dating competition in which 13 men compete for Sepulveda's romantic attention. (Two of them have Atlanta ties.) But since Sepulveda was unveiled as Logo's Prince Charming, the internet has been abuzz with details unearthed about his past – and apparently not so past – as a sex worker.
And we thought Sepulveda was dating Marc Jacobs for real.
Much of the attention on Sepulveda has been to shame him for his sex work. But really, gay Atlanta ought to embrace it. After all, Atlanta queens love some kink, more than a few have been paid for sex and lots of them enjoy their porn. Sepulveda scores highly (NSFW) in all of those areas.
Some gays have reacted with mock contempt, clutching their pearls and exclaiming public amazement that Logo would put a gay man with a past as the central character in a reality TV show. All the while privately clicking through each and every video.
Sepulveda, for his part, brushed past a question about his escort work on Tuesday during an interview with the Huffington Post. Instead he tried to pivot attention back to "Finding Prince Charming."
"The past is the past. I was young and it helped with college. But what I want people to focus on is who I am today – 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," Sepulveda said.
Nevermind that Sepulveda's escort work likely continued after his stint at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. We won't quibble with his timeline.
Guilt, shame and 'the little things'
But where there is a problem is with Sepulveda's continued reference to his creation of Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks. Sepulveda touts the group in press interviews about the show as if he's running the non-profit now, which he is not. He did it again Tuesday with the Huffington Post, mentioning it over and over to puff up his resume and make him seem more worthy of his new role as Prince Charming.
"I worked with a non-profit, I was the president. I started ... um, I've done community activism. I've been on the television before. So it's not the first time that I've dealt with that. I think those little things have prepared me for this," Sepulveda said.
And if you question him, Sepulveda dismisses it as criticism he's heard before.
"This is not the first time. I've done ... I did a shoot with Rick Day a long time ago when I started modeling and those things started to come out. It's not the first time that I've ever had comments or this or that, whatever it is," he told the Huffington Post.
Last week, as Sepulveda referenced his work with the non-profit in a promotional video for the Logo show, Project Q Atlanta pointed out that Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks no longer exists. Sepulveda took exception to that.
"While filming the show I was running a nonprofit that I founded and I was thoughtfully picking locally organizations to give the rest of the funds to," Sepulveda said in a Facebook message to Project Q.
But that timeline is a bit shaky. Sepulveda went dark on social in late June when he was likely taping the show. That was weeks after Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks dished out its remaining funds in May – about $16,000 – to six non-profits and a church. Then the organization went quiet and didn't pursue any new projects or fundraising. Two of its three officers moved on, leaving Sepulveda as CEO.
The group is listed as "active/noncompliance" with the Georgia Secretary of State. It registered with that agency in August 2015 and hasn't renewed the annual registration for 2016.
After questions were raised by Project Q and other media outlets about the status of the organization – and Sepulveda's assertions that he is still its leader – he posted an explanation to the group's Facebook page on Sept. 1.
There seems to be some confusion on the nonprofit status of The Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks.
The Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks is still an ACTIVE nonprofit registered with the state of Georgia, with just no active projects. We do not plan to renew the nonprofit status in the coming year.
In that Facebook post, Sepulveda refers to himself as the group's "former president" – a description he has not used in press interviews about "Finding Prince Charming." He has also not mentioned in interviews that Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks has been inactive since May.
Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks did install temporary crosswalks during Pride in October, but only after a messy and public back-and-forth with city officials and a controversial fundraising campaign. The group fell short of Sepulveda's goal to permanently install rainbow crosswalks at the intersection of Piedmont Avenue and 10th Street.
To Sepulveda, details are the "little things" he brushes aside, knowing that it's likely viewers of the Logo show won't ever find out. But just in case, he issued a general disclaimer in his Huffington Post interview.
"On the show a lot of the guys deal with guilt and shame that things have happened to them in the past. And the show allowed me as well to close a lot of chapters in my life that I felt a lot of guilt around, a lot of shame and a lot of things I thought I couldn't share and express," Sepulveda said.
It's fine that Sepulveda travels across the globe to get paid to have sex. It's not OK that he portrays himself as an activist and non-profit leader when he's neither. No one needs a Prince Charming like that. Not even reality television.
UPDATE (Sept. 4) | This post has been revised to include additional details about the current status of Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks and Sepulveda's role with the organization.