Eddie Murphy: Sinner or Saint?

Bondage may not be Eddie Murphy's favorite kind of sex, but the movie star-comedian sure has gotten himself in a bind.

For the last 8 years, I've investigated rumors that Eddie Murphy was seen with transvestites. I've also tracked down allegations that he'd been arrested or detained by police after picking up cross-dressing prostitutes.

When I hear the same story from a variety of sources over a long period of time, I tend to think there's some fire behind all the smoke. Still, I've never been able to confirm any of these rumors and allegations. There's been no hard evidence. My sources haven't even been able to tell me which division of the LAPD handled these incidents--much less produce any record that Eddie Murphy had been arrested or detained.

All that changed at about 4:45 a.m. on May 2. Murphy was driving his wife's Land Cruiser on a part of Santa Monica Blvd. where homosexual prostitutes congregate. After a few moments, he stopped to pick up a a 20-year-old transsexual hooker named Atisone Seiuli, who goes by the name of Shalomar. Murphy's exotic passenger gave the following account of her brief interaction with the 36-year-old superstar to a reporter:

"[Eddie Murphy] put two $100 bills on my leg and said, 'Here's $200. He asked me if I did this for a living, being a transsexual prostitute. I said yes.

"Eddie said, 'Do you like to wear lingerie?' I said yes. He said, 'Can I see you in lingerie?' I told him, 'Whenever I have the time.' He said, 'I'll make the time.'

"Then he asked me, 'What type of sex do you like?' I said I was into everything."

Before anything else could transpire, a police spotlight zeroed in on Murphy's vehicle-and two officers from the LA Sheriff's Department pulled him over.

When the cops approached, Eddie claimed that he was just giving his friend a ride home. According to Shalomar, the cops chuckled and said, "Yeah, right!" They then spent some thirty minutes talking amiably to the man who'd played a cop in the hit film 48 Hours.

Not surprisingly, the officers wound up letting Murphy go, without pressing charges. Shalomar was another story. After running a computer check, the cops found that there was a warrant out for the he/she hooker for violating probation on an earlier prostitution charge. Before hauling Shalomar off to jail, the cops smiled and shook hands with Murphy, who must have figured he'd dodged another bullet. Not this time!

A magazine photographer with a well-deserved reputation for sniffing out a hot story had videotaped the entire incident. Without that tape, I have no doubt that the sheriff's department would have denied all knowledge of this incident, but now there was tangible proof of what had been swept under the rug for so long. Time for Eddie Murphy and his spin doctors to do their version of the Hollywood Shuffle.

One of Murphy's publicists insisted that his client was a good Samaritan, who'd simply offered a downtrodden prostitute a ride home. "Nothing happened at all, the publicist claimed, "but Eddie said he will never do this again."

Sorry, I'm not buying such a lame excuse, and I doubt that too many people will. I'm not trying to paint Eddie Murphy as a criminal. In terms of being a pervert who needs to be locked up, he's certainly nowhere in the same category as Michael Jackson. However, there was a sting operation in place--and he should have been arrested for soliciting prostitution.

The double standard in the way stars are treated hardly comes as news. But the thing that bothers me is the man's hypocrisy in trying to explain the incident away. Listen to what Murphy told a reporter from STAR.

"If I had a fascination and curiosity with transsexuals and transvestites, I'd put on high heel shoes, a pretty dress and some lipstick and I would do it at my house and not on some street corner.

"I've always felt bad for people in these situations, homeless, working the streets. "I have given away hundreds of thousands of dollars to help out those who need help the most."

Don't get me wrong. I've got nothing against Eddie Murphy. I've run into him a number of times, and found him to by a pretty nice guy. Still, this "I'm a saint" act turns my stomach.

Eddie Murphy has never been known as a great altruist, and his comedy act has included a good deal of humor that some have labeled anti-gay. Beyond that, a hip guy like Eddie knows as well as anyone what's going on at that particular corner of Santa Monica Blvd. at 4:45 a.m. But, as I've said, the poor SOB now finds himself in quite a bind.

When Hugh Grant got busted on Sunset Blvd. having sex in his car with a hooker named Divine Brown, he came on The Tonite Show and amicably fessed up his sins to Jay Leno and several million viewers. Hugh Grant was soon forgiven, and even complimented for being honest and forthcoming.

Think about the huge media event that took place when Ellen DeGeneres confessed that she was gay--both on her TV show and in real life. There was some outcry by a religious groups, but most people had little problem accepting this very public coming out.

Eddie Murphy is in a far more difficult situation than either Ellen or Hugh Grant. He's always had a macho image, and has been especially popular among teens. He can hardly be expected to go on Oprah and admit to having a thing for transvestite hookers. Instead, he's going to paint himself as the second coming of Mother Theresa.

Meanwhile, all sorts of transvestites have already started coming out of the woodwork with Eddie Murphy stories. Several claim to have had sex with him, and at least one has passed a polygraph test. Also, a number of cops on both coasts who claim to have stopped Eddie with male hookers have been talking to the press. True or false, I fully expect many more embarrassing stories to surface in the future--which will keep Eddie and his spin doctors working around the clock.

Murphy, who has a beautiful wife and three children, knows how to say to say all the right things about being a devoted husband and father. "When you have a family, and you're spiritually grounded, everything kind of fixes itself," Murphy remarked in a recent interview. "If you have God in your life, it makes all the difference."

Maybe so, Eddie. On the other hand, when a superstar's secret perversions become the subject of a major sex scandal, that can also wind up making a very big difference.