James Lipton as a pimp may have been one of the more shocking stories in entertainment this week, but the Inside The Actors’ Studio host is not ashamed of his pimptastic past.
While the term may be new to you (and us), Lipton explains that his function with sex workers was far removed from that of a pimp — a figure who is by and large an abuser.
He says he was more like an agent in the acting business than a sex peddler, and said in a subsequent interview:
“A pimp exploits and abuses the women who work for him … A macquereau does nothing of that sort. I’m talking about then. The macquereau works for the women. He’s a procurer. He’s an agent, so-to-speak.”
Recalling his relationship with a woman in France (which he describes as platonic) who had worked as a prostitute, he says:
“I’m not ashamed of it … She was my friend. I was of help to her. And we had some amazing adventures. And I did go through my ‘rit de passage’ in Paris.”
James Lipton even says it was she, and not he, who proposed the arrangement — when his seemingly impending return to the U.S. loomed due to lack of money.
“Months went by, finally, I ran out of money, and one night, I went back there and said, ‘I have to go back to America.’ And she said ‘Why,’ and I said, ‘Oh, I just have to go back.’ And she said, ‘You’re broke, aren’t ya?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’ And she said, ‘The problem is solved. You’re going to be my mac.’ ”
Were you surprised that James Lipton had a pimp-like past in the 50s?