“All-new episodes return with some of the oddest, oldest, and rarest artifacts we’ve ever seen,” the “Pawn Stars” Instagram account claimed in 2021. That’s a tall order for a show on the air since 2009.
According to Reuters, “Pawn Stars” became “the most-watched program on ad-supported cable” within a year of its debut. The show also resulted in History’s highest-ever watching figures. As a result, despite the countless conflicts and scandals that have beset the show, the network has hesitated to discontinue its rating juggernaut.
While photographing open all-hours pawnbrokers in Las Vegas, Nevada, friction and ignominy are unavoidable. Then there’s Richard “Old Man” Harrison, his son Rick Harrison, grandson Corey “Big Hoss” Harrison, and Corey’s lifelong companion Austin “Chumlee” Russell from the Gold & Silver Pawn shop.
Given the cast, the nature of the business, and the decidedly colorful array of customers they deal with daily, “Pawn Stars” was always bound to deliver drama, both on and off-screen. Yet, the quantity of acting is much beyond all expectations. Prepare your popcorn because we’re breaking down the major scandals that rocked Pawn Stars.
The cast members of “Pawn Stars” have had their fair share of run-ins with the law. They were involved in another legal struggle in 2014, this time for allegedly melting down a stolen ancient coin collection. According to ABC News, David Walters claimed in a criminal complaint filed at Clark County Justice Court that his niece, Jennifer Beckman, took his expensive coin treasure in 2013 and sold it to the Gold & Silver Pawn business.
Walters claimed Beckman’s haul at Gold & Silver “netted a total of $12,375,” while the angry uncle claimed his collection was worth more than $50,000. When Walters discovered the coins were missing, he quickly notified the authorities, but when the cops approached Gold & Silver Pawn, the coins “were already gone.”
“To the best of my knowledge, the coins may have been melted down because they are unidentifiable,” a business spokeswoman told Fox News. “They may have been sold.” They might be in buckets with coins waiting to be assessed.”
The representative then disputed Walters’ $50,000 valuation figure. “These coins were significantly less valuable than the guy believed they were,” she explained before adding that none of the “Pawn Stars” cast members had done anything unlawful or illegal.
Pawnbrokers deal with a wide range of people: the cash-strapped, the desperate, the opportunists, and regular Joes seeking a good deal. Rick Harrison has seen them all and revealed his favorite “deals and thefts” in an interview with NPR.
Harrison revealed that the store is busiest during a big boxing bout. “I’m not sure what it is about fight fans,” he admitted. “They never wager more money than they can afford to lose.”
Harrison subsequently admitted to acting as an unofficial bail bondsman for a particular segment of his clientele – pimps. “Every time they get caught, they have someone bring their jewelry down to me,” he explained. “I’ll lend them half of what they spent for it – their bail money.”
Yet, just because he enjoys the pimp lifestyle does not imply that the second-generation pawnbroker is liberal in all parts of society. It’s the opposite. Harrison’s transphobia surfaced during a CNN interview about his affection for Marco Rubio.
“Certain cities say if a man feels like he’s a woman, he can use the women’s restroom,” he explained. “I guarantee you it will be exploited by some terrible males who want to go into a bathroom with young ladies.” That is what will happen if such a law is passed.”
Corey Harrison gave a performance that the appropriately titled Spectators Club will likely never forget on a booze-fueled Jefferson City night out in 2014. According to RadarOnline, Corey and several biker mates were on a sponsored motorcycle tour when they chose to stop in Missouri’s capital. Harrison supposedly had been partying hard for seven nights straight before going out.
“Corey had been riding with us all week and had gotten drunk every night.” But on this particular night, he was pretty drunk, according to one eyewitness. “You could sense when we came into the bar that things weren’t going to go well.” He was so sloppy, drunk, and rude that you knew it would be a nasty scenario.”
After downing “copious amounts of shots,” Harrison exposed himself and publicly urinated, maybe inspired by Missouri’s “Show Me State” moniker.
“He pulled his trousers down and peed on a bar stool, and he was extremely pleased with it,” a source told Radar, adding that one of the staff had to wipe up after him with a towel. But the show wasn’t over yet. After posing for fan photos in his underwear, Harrison “picked up a bar stool and threw it,” which resulted in him being thrown out of the venue.
Corey afterward apologized for his inebriated misbehavior. “Not my finest hour,” he admitted to E! News. “I truly apologize to everyone for my inappropriate behavior.” I sincerely apologize.”
Austin “Chumlee” Russell is undoubtedly one of the shadiest members of the “Pawn Stars” cast. According to TMZ, he was captured on tape brawling with a man in Hollywood before fleeing the scene in 2012.
Chumlee claimed he acted in “self-defense” after the victim “threatened to draw a pistol” on him and his friends, even though the victim was battered and bleeding on the side of the road. “It was instinct that took over. “[The man] had no idea I was on TV or anything,” he told TMZ. “I just wanted to ride in our car and cause trouble.”
Therefore, there was no excuse for Chumlee’s involvement in the incident four years later. According to the Chicago Tribune, Russell was detained in 2016 “on suspicion of 20 offenses.”
Russell was arrested after authorities stormed his home to investigate sexual assault allegations against him. The sexual assault accusations were eventually dropped, but Chumlee now faced a new legal nightmare due to what was discovered during the raid.
According to TMZ, cops recovered “a massive laundry list of narcotics,” including marijuana, meth, and Xanax. They also uncovered cocaine residues and 12 weapons, eight of which were not registered.
Chumlee eventually pleaded guilty to avoid prison time. Russell pled “guilty to a felony weapons charge — unlawful possession of a firearm — and a gross misdemeanor of attempted narcotics possession,” according to USA Today.
According to the New York Post, Richard and Rick Harrison was accused of choking and abusing a 62-year-old crippled Vietnam veteran. Daniel Callahan argued with the two after bringing his Model 96B rifle in for an appraisal.
Things appear to have suddenly deteriorated. The Harrisons, according to Callahan, “put him in a chokehold, pulled him through the store, and tossed him onto the pavement.” He further stated that the alleged event damaged his rifle and walking stick.
According to “Right This Minute” (via NY Post), in April 2012, Callahan filed a complaint against Gold & Silver Pawn store, alleging the Harrisons of physical abuse and seeking $20,000 in damages. After hearing about the lawsuit, Rick’s son, Corey Harrison, struck down Callahan’s story.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Rick and Richard “were never in the room with [Callahan].”
” He said it was Callahan who was the aggressor. “With a weapon in his hand, [he was] incredibly enraged,” Corey stated. “‘I want to see the owner,’ he screamed.” He also asserted that his employees had done nothing illegal. “I’m going with my staff because if I were there, I would have done the same thing,” Corey explained. “With how he acted, we needed to get him out of there.”
Production companies get paid a lot of money in exchange for celebs discreetly endorsing brands’ items on camera — it’s a win-win situation for both parties. Product placement is a significant business, and it’s common in television and film. Nobody, however, is as open about it as “Pawn Stars.”
There’s a reason the ensemble appears to be continually devouring foot-longs, the counter is regularly littered with logo-covered wrappers, and scenes frequently take place inside a Subway restaurant.
According to Trend Chaser, the fast-food giant is “one of the show’s largest sponsors,” The relationship is anything but inconspicuous. Consider, for example, the moment when Corey Harrison picks up a Subway sandwich and “demonstrates how the auction will unfold later in the day” in the middle of a Subway, as Trend Chaser recounted.
Then there was the time Austin “Chumlee” Russell made a joke about Subway and the convicted sex offender who was the brand’s spokesman. According to Screen Rant, Russell joked about being “the next Jared from Subway” while boasting about his weight loss. No, Chumlee, simply no.