Pawn Stars suffers from the same troubles as any other reality show. They’ve been accused of faking their plotlines and even some of their merchandise has been suspected to have been fraudulent from time to time. These are accusations that are sure to hurt the heart of any hardcore fan, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The behind-the-scenes personal lives of the Pawn Stars stars are so much messier than any scandal the show itself has ever faced. The cast members have continuously gotten into bushels of legal troubles over the years and we aren’t talking minor infractions-- these scandals have ranged from sex, drugs, to bar fights. These guys have truly done it all.
Clutch your pearls, because you’ve never even dreamed of these 15 Dark Secrets Behind The Making Of Pawn Stars.
15 The Network Was Sued By Their Agent For Breaking Their Contract
In 2012, accusations flew insisting that the stars of Pawn Stars had been unfairly squirreled away by rival agents after their sudden cable success. The cast’s original talent agency, Venture IAB Inc., claimed to have lost $5 million due to the loss of their clients.
Venture IAB Inc. had originally discovered and signed the Pawn Stars cast in 2006 and claimed responsibility for helping the crew score their History channel gig. Less than a year after the show debuted, they had left Venture for manager Michael Camacho.
Venture sued A&E-- along with executives Nancy Dubec and Mary Donahue-- for allegedly convincing their talent to terminate their contracts in order to sign with Camacho, who they insisted was a close and personal friend of the ladies.
14 The Show Was Accused Of Overworking Scriptwriters
Another day, another Hollywood money scandal. In 2013, The Writers Guild of America published a report alleging rampant abuse and overwork of reality TV scriptwriters. (Yeah. apparently, “reality” shows require scripts. Who knew?)
The report surveyed people who had worked in the industry in the six years leading up to 2013. The majority claimed to have been overworked and underpaid during that time frame. One of the most used methods was to give last-minute script rewrites, forcing the writer to work long hours in order to have the final draft turned in by the deadline.
While there were no numbers for the individual pay lost to writers put in these positions, the report estimated a total of $40 million per year that might be owed to these writers.
13 Some Of The Cast Was Sued For Allegedly Assaulting A Customer
Rick and Richard Harrison were sued by Vietnam veteran Daniel Callahan in 2012 after Callahan accused the shop’s workers of assaulting him on the premises. Callahan had brought in a rifle to sell to the pawn shop but the deal quickly soured and an argument erupted.
Callahan claimed to have been put in a chokehold and tossed out onto the sidewalk along with his goods. He also claimed that both his rifle and cane were busted during the skirmish.
Corey Harrison defended the decision to forcibly remove Callahan from the family business, saying that the potential customer had become irate while brandishing a dangerous weapon. He went on to make the claim that he would have made the same choices if put in a similar situation again.
12 The Show Got Into A War Over Its Title
Another pawn shop boasted the incredibly similar name of “Pawn Star” complete with a cute, little star right smack dab in the middle of the title. In 2011, A&E sent the little shop an “cease and desist” letter, telling them to change the name or be subjected to the wrath of copyright infringement law.
The shop’s owner, Frank Bishop, refused and pointed out that he had trademarked the name all the way back in 2006, long before the Vegas-based shop hit the big time on cable TV.
Eventually, Bishop did agree to give up the name if the price was right. There don’t appear to be any details on whether or not Bishop’s bid was successful. Was this settled out of court or were the charges finally dropped? We may never know.
11 Chumlee Has Been Busted For All Kinds Of Drugs
Austin “Chumlee” Russell was found to have all kinds of illegal substances in his house after police raided his residence on a sexual assault charge.
The sexual assault charge ended up being dropped, but the cops did manage to find several Ziploc bags and jars filled with marijuana, Xanax bars, and methamphetamine powder. Chumlee was suspected of being a drug dealer -- however, these were accusations that he staunchly denied.
Along with all the drugs, police found a stripper pole as well as 12 guns-- eight of which were not even registered. Amazingly, Chumlee was granted a plea deal that will keep him out of prison as long as he is able to behave until 2019. We still have a few years to go before we see how that works out.
10 Rick Made Uncomfortable Remarks About Transgender Women
Not one to hold his tongue, Rick Harrison made a gaffe when talking about his support for then-presidential nominee Marco Rubio. Harrison maintained that his support for Rubio had rubbed fans the wrong way. However, hearing his low opinion of these people could point to other reasons for their revolt.
Harrison went off on the viewers, explicitly calling out transgender women in his verbal assault. He didn’t attack the women directly, but he did help spread fear and misinformation around the hotly debated transgender bathroom bill issues at a critical time.
“You have some cities that are saying that if you have a man who feels like he's a woman, he can use the women's restroom. I guarantee you that will be taken advantage of by some very bad men who want to go into a bathroom where there's young ladies. That will happen if you pass a law like that. It's not a perfect world. You'll never make it a perfect world,” he told CNN.
This came on the heels of remarks claiming that the world is too PC and his admittance that he feared losing the show because of his political beliefs.
9 Rick Thinks Pimps Make The Best Customers
These guys just do not know when to stop talking. Again, this little remark was meant as a joke, and yet again, the joke fell terribly flat. During a podcast with NPR, Harrison revealed his all-time favorite pawn shop customers: pimps. Big hat-wearing, woman slapping, prostitution peddling pimps are the desired customers of the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop.
Harrison explained that pimps use pawn shops as sneaky ways to make money that can’t be confiscated by the cops. “When you get arrested for pandering, they take your cash — because the cash was obtained illegally — but they don’t take away your jewelry. And a pimp knows that if he buys jewelry in a pawn shop, if [he] brings it back to a pawn shop and gets a loan against it, [they’ll] always get half of what you paid for it — as opposed to buying it in a jewelry store, when [they] don’t know what [they’re] going to get,” he revealed.
He followed up this statement by openly acknowledging that, by buying the pimps’ jewelry, his shop was essentially posting their bail money.
8 Chumlee Made A Bad Joke With Gross Connotations
Even though the sexual assault charge was dropped, you would think Chumlee would be very careful not to make off-color references to statutory rape. Especially when those references put himself in the role of the abuser. Howwver, you’d be wrong. He did make such a “joke,” and let’s just say it was totally gross.
Chumlee famously lost 100 pounds after being inspired by costar Corey Harrison’s phenomenal weight loss. Chumlee celebrated his success by comparing himself to another celebrity famous for their weight loss.
The newly fit reality TV star lifted up his shirt and proudly proclaimed himself the next Jared from Subway. Given Chumlee’s former brush with sexual abuse accusations, this joke was in very, very poor taste.
7 Olivia Was Fired For Revealing Photos
Olivia Black was fired from Pawn Stars in 2012 after the History Channel discovered her past as a nude model.
Though Rick Harrison supported his former co-star and felt her past modeling career was her own business, the network felt uncomfortable with the newly discovered photos and made the decision to let Black go.
Black had been a model for the alternative site Suicide Girls. She was never told explicitly that her past as a nude model had led to her firing, but the incident upset her so much that she created an online petition in an attempt to get reinstated on the show.
RadarOnline reported that Black had sued the production company for discrimination, though it would appear nothing ever came of that lawsuit.
6 Corey Got In Trouble For Public Urination
In 2014, Corey Harrison and a group of friends took a sponsored motorcycle cruise through Missouri before ending up in the Spectators bar in Jefferson City.
Naturally, Harrison and his crew got super drunk during this trip. However, Harrison’s inebriated state led to some bad decisions and one very awkward photo op.
At one point during the drunken evening, Harrison pulled down his pants and began to relieve himself publically. Yeah, he peed in front of everyone right in the middle of the bar. Harrison wasn’t embarrassed by his actions, however. He took the opportunity to pose for a photo sans pants.
A few weeks after the incident Harrison did finally realize the error of his ways and made a public apology for the ill-advised act.
5 Johnny Was Arrested For Fighting With His Girlfriend
Relationships are hard work and sometimes people fight-- especially if one or both members happen to be drunk at the time. However, for Johnny Jimenez Jr., what could have been a simple relationship spat became so much more when Jimenez got way out of control.
After responding to a reported assault, police reviewed surveillance footage of the Las Vegas restaurant that the reality star and his girlfriend had been fighting at. Jimenez’s girlfriend appeared to be very drunk and at first glance Jimenez looked like he was trying to calm her down.
However, in his attempt to get his girlfriend back inside the restaurant, Jimenez grabbed the strap of his girlfriend’s purse and sent her tumbling to the ground. He later assured police that her fall was a complete accident and that he had only been trying to get her to eat so she could sober up a little bit.
4 Corey Was Arrested For A Bar Fight
In 2011, Corey Harrison got into an argument with another patron at Murray's Saloon and Eatery in California. Security was called in and the entire situation went south pretty quickly.
Harrison was accused of shoving both a deputy and a security guard during the incident. The very drunk reality TV star was then arrested for battery and resisting arrest.
Harrison’s time in jail was short-lived, with the police department reporting his release only a few hours after his arrival. They said he just needed to sober up a bit.
Despite official reports, Harrison maintained that he had never actually touched anyone and that he had been arrested for simply refusing to apologize to the patron who he had been arguing with after police officials ordered him to do so.
3 Johnny Was Accused Of Physically Assaulting A Woman
In 2011, the Pawn Stars co-star was accused of some serious domestic abuse charges. Johnny Jimenez Jr. reportedly accused his then-girlfriend of stealing $1,000 from him, causing a horrific fight to break out.
The anonymous woman claimed that Jimenez threatened to kill her and had left marks on her neck after attempting to choke her. She also accused him of holding a knife to her throat during the violent incident.
However, the woman’s story came under scrutiny when one of Jimenez's coworkers claimed that she was actually the star’s housekeeper and not his girlfriend. Despite this, the accuser maintained that she had been dating Jimenez for some time and had been cleaning his home as a favor to him.
2 The Shop Once Bought And Destroyed A Stolen Coin Collection
This one may not totally have been the shop’s fault, but it certainly led to all kinds of headaches for the police and one unsuspecting uncle. Jennifer Beckman sold a coin collection to the store over the course of three separate visits for around $10,000 per visit.
The Gold and Silver Pawn Shop did what they do best -- they sold the coins, while others were melted down to scrap, and a few went missing. At least, that’s the Harrisons’ representative told the press later on.
The actual owner of the collection, Jennifer’s uncle, tried to reclaim his stolen belongings, only to discover their scattered whereabouts. Law enforcement had not reported the theft to the shop’s employees, so they had no reason to preserve the pilfered cash.
1 Rick's Wife Was Married To A Sex Offender
To be fair, this isn’t about Rich Harrison himself, or even his wife. However, it is just another messy legal battle surrounding the show.
When Rick Harrison married wife Deanna Burditt he inherited her ex-husband’s awful legal baggage. Sources claimed the stress of her ex-husband’s legal troubles weighed heavily on anyone connected to them. This is completely understandable, given the circumstances.
Burditt’s ex had openly admitted to sexual assault and dealing materials harmful to minors. Yet he managed to continually escape jail time. The same sources spread rumors stating that Harrison had been very upset with those developments. He only wanted to keep his wife safe and see justice served after years of avoiding a sentence.
Can you think of any other secrets behind Pawn Stars? Let us know in the comments.