Chumlee of Pawn Stars fame is due in court on May 23 after he was arrested on drug and weapon-related charges. Chumlee (real name Austin Lee Russell) is facing 20 felony charges and could spend time behind bars if he is convicted.
Police entered Chumlee’s home after obtaining a search warrant in connection with a sexual assault claim. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, it is believed that the woman behind the claim is (or was) an employee at Rick Harrison’s Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas. While her name has not been released, there have been reports that this woman worked with Chumlee, and many speculate that the alleged assault occurred at the pawn shop (which was made famous by The History Channel’s reality series, Pawn Stars).
Chumlee has not been charged with anything in connection with the sexual assault claim, but investigators say that the case is still open. While searching the appraiser’s home for evidence of the alleged assault, police found various items that lead to his arrest.
“Police said 12 guns were seized, ranging from handguns to a shotgun and assault-style MP5 and.223-caliber rifles. Four of the handguns were registered to Russell, the report said. Most of the weapons were found in a bedroom vault safe, along with 17 multi-dose ‘bars’ of the anxiety drug Xanax and seven capsules containing small amounts of methamphetamine, police said. One loaded.45-caliber handgun was found in a master bedroom nightstand drawer,” according to the Associated Press.
Chumlee has not released any kind of public statement since his March 9 arrest, and many people have turned their curiosity to the fate of Pawn Stars. According to Fox News, The History Channel has chosen to stay quiet when it comes to commenting on Chumlee’s recent run-in with the law.
Other shows that have been affected by stars getting arrested or in other kinds of trouble (including Mama June on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo! or Josh Duggar on 19 Kids And Counting) have cancelled their respective series. However, without a conviction, it would be a little premature for The History Channel to cancel Pawn Stars, one of their most successful shows. It is believed that the network is waiting to hear more about the case before making a decision about the show.
“Any kind of statement or action taken by networks when a scandal arises may unnecessarily fan the flames of public interest in the scandal. Silence may be an effective strategy at times however, silence can also be detrimental,” said PR expert Ryan McCormick.
If Chumlee is found guilty on any or all of these charges, that could mean his reality television career is over. Judging by what has become of other reality shows that have had problems, however, it could also mean that Pawn Stars will be dropped for good.
“Networks may not comment on scandal because they are afraid of losing overall network viewers or because they may quietly hope that added attention will bring them added ratings. That said, not all press is good press,” said another PR expert, Ronn Torossian.
Do you think Chumlee’s arrest should have been enough for The History Channel to take Pawn Stars off the air? Do you think that the network will end up cancelling the show if Chumlee is convicted? Sound off in the comments below.
[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]