Design Star’s Mikey Verdugo did gay porn, is an openly gay police officer

Design Star contestant Mikey Verdugo, the 34-year-old who works as a police officer in Florida, appeared years ago in a gay porn bondage video. Perhaps more interestingly, he’s out as a gay man at his job.

He appeared in “bondage videos for Tom ‘Ropes’ McGurk! McGurk is the pre-eminent king of really hardcore bondage videos,” Gay Porn Blog reports.

In very NSFW pictures and video clip taken from a movie called Rope Rituals, he’s shown tied up, being stimulated by and making out with a guy. He’s known as “Jeremy Wess.” Is it really him? While the tattoos on the man in the videos don’t match his, as his current tattoos are much larger and more intricate, Gay Porn Blog found a Sun-Sentinel photo in which he has the same tattoos as in the video, although there’s an additional one on his left arm in the photo.

Interestingly, this doesn’t exactly out him, as he was already open about his sexual orientation, even though it hasn’t come up on the show, nor does his bio mention that he’s gay.

However, a Broward-Palm Beach New Times article published last fall reveals that detective Michael Verdugo is gay and discusses discrimination he faced. In a statement released to the paper, he said,

“I love my job, and I think there is a place for me here at the Hollywood Police Department. I think it’s important for me to stand up to anti-gay discrimination so that other gay and lesbian officers know that they can come out at work without fear of reprisal. I’m hoping the system works for me so that no one has to go through this again.”

His sexual orientation was revealed when “In 2004 Hollywood cops responded to a domestic disturbance call involving two gay men. Both were Hollywood cops. One was Verdugo, who had been working in the department for three years but had not come out to his co-workers.” The paper says that “Chief Scarberry was concerned Verdugo would be harassed. During lineup on the morning after the incident, according to department sources, Scarberry delivered a stern warning: Any officer who teased Verdugo or the other gay officer could expect a suspension and possible dismissal,” but Verdugo says he still later faced harassment.

HGTV Design Star’s Bondage Porn Past [Gay Porn Blog]
Badge-ered [Broward-Palm Beach New Times]

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.