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Is 'Gigolos' In Violation of Nevada Prostitution Laws?

They don't show money changing hands, but that may not matter to police

Is 'Gigolos' In Violation of Nevada Prostitution Laws?

LAS VEGAS—We still haven't yet seen an episode of Showtime's new series Gigolos, but apparently someone affiliated with the Las Vegas Police Department has ... and he/she is not happy about it.

According to a report in the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post, the show, which follows the exploits of "five hot guys in Vegas who like to hang out, have fun and get girls ... but in their case they get paid for it," may have run afoul of the fact that while prostitution is legal in most counties in Nevada, that isn't true for Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, nor Storey County, home to legendary divorce capital Reno. And since the HBO series Cathouse is filmed at the Moonlite Bunnyranch in Lyons County, it's never had to face similar problems.

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"Steven can't afford to send his son to camp," reads a typical episode synopsis, "so he takes on more clients than he can handle and the rest of the gigolos team up to help earn the money for him; a psychic gives the guys a look at their futures and Brace breaks down."

And of course, the way the guys "earn money" is by escorting—and we're pretty sure that anyone reading that word on this site knows what it means, sexually speaking. Obviously, the Vegas police do as well.

"Our vice section is aware of the situation and will be paying close attention," police spokesperson Marcus Martin told The Post. "The fact that they won't be showing the exchange of funds does leave some loophole, but it doesn't mean the show can't still face criminal sanctions later.  If we can show a pattern of pandering or participating in prostitution, the show could have to answer for that. People think it is a victimless crime. It is not."

Of course, though it's publicized as a "reality show," Gigolos may be more staged that its fans realize.

"No one depicted in this program was remunerated in exchange for engaging in sexual activity," reads a disclaimer in the show's end credits, and earlier this month, the show's creative director Garren James told Salon.com that the women "customers" were not all walk-ins to the Cowboys 4 Angels escort service, but that some were recruited participants.

But what's unclear is who gets paid, and by whom. Those familiar with reality shows differed as to whether they thought the women received the men's services free of charge, and the men were paid by the show's producers, or whether the women were paid by show producers to appear on camera, and part of those funds would then be paid to the gigolo. In either case, monies would not have been exchanged directly by either participant for sexual services, making it more akin to shooting an adult movie, where those having sex are both paid by the movie's producer—an arrangement that's been completely legal under California law since 1987.

Nevada, on the other hand, has no such Supreme Court ruling, and those found violating the state's prostitution laws face fines of $1,000 for each incident and/or up to six months in jail.

So only time will tell whether Showtime's mainstream "street cred" and high-priced legal talent will keep the show out of court.






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Mark Kernes

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