Pop Culture

'Pee-wee' star insists he was innocent of porn charges

A scandal that temporarily put the brakes Paul Reubens’ career was based on unfounded allegations, according to the man behind late-80s kids’ comedy icon Pee-wee Herman. In an interview with Playboy magazine, Reubens recalled his 1991 arrest for indecent exposure in an adult theater and insisted the authorities had it all wrong.

Although Reubens elected to avoid a drawn out trial — not to mention the steady stream of late-night TV jokes that would have likely come with it — by pleading “no contest,” he believed he had all the evidence required to prove his innocence at the time.

“Had we gone to trial, we had ready an expert from the Masters and Johnson Institute who was going to testify that in 30 years of research on masturbation, the institute had never found one person who masturbated with his or her nondominant hand,” Reubens revealed. “I’m right-handed, and the police report said I was (masturbating) with my left hand. That would have been the end of the case right there, proof it couldn’t have been me.”

After already enduring humiliating headlines and the publication of a memorable mug shot Reubens himself described as “Charles Manson-y,” the star decided to simply lie low and get help for the shock he suffered as a result of the incident — an experience he claimed ultimately saved his life “when scandal number two happened,” a 2002 arrest for possession of child pornography.

"The police had been given a false tip in an alleged sting operation and came to my house,” Reubens explained. “They thought the wrong thing, and they were there for the wrong reason, and when that became clear, they should have left. Or they should have taken all my computers like they did but spent three minutes looking through them and realized they were wrong. … The state eventually realized I had nothing offensive, but the city attorney decided to put me through three years of hell anyway.”

Despite all that’s happened since, Reubens, who recently resurrected his Pee-wee character for a successful string of stage shows and an upcoming movie, knows he’ll never be completely free from the scandals.

“At the time people said, ‘The public has such a short memory,’ ” he said. “I knew it wasn’t true. The public has a memory like a steel trap. In some people’s minds I somehow retain this reputation of being a pervert. When you look me up on almost any website — IMDb or Wikipedia or anything — that insane allegation of child pornography is on there. Much as I like to pretend it’s not there or imagine most people know nothing about that one, it’s there. It’s always going to be a footnote. But you know what? At this point the footnote is neither here nor there for me. It has no effect on me. I’m cool with it.”

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    Dare to dream

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    Bye-ber? Bee-ber? Bay-ber?

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    Space-age shoes

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    Tip-toe time

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    Is this France, or Russia in the winter?

    With his head wrapped up against the winter chill, Bieber met fans at Citadium Store in Paris on Feb. 22, 2010. His appearance was cut short by police after a large group of fans swarmed the area.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • KIIS-FM Presents Justin Bieber At Nokia Plaza L.A. LIVE

    Justin Bieber

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    Guys who wear glasses

    Bieber performed a free concert presented by KIIS-FM at Nokia Plaza L.A. Live in Los Angeles on Feb. 13, 2010.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • BET-SOS Saving Ourselves - Help for Haiti Benefit Concert

    Justin Bieber

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    Helping Haiti

    Singers Chris Brown, left, Bieber, Sean Kingston and Monica posed backstage at the BET SOS Saving Ourselves -- Help for Haiti benefit concert and telethon at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Feb. 5, 2010. Bieber answered phones on the donation line and also performed.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • "We Are The World: 25 Years For Haiti" Recording Session

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    It's Bieber's 'World,' we just live in it

    Bieber performed at the "We Are the World 25 Years for Haiti" recording session held at Jim Henson Studios in Hollywood, Calif., on Feb. 1, 2010. Bieber sang the opening line, which was sung by Lionel Richie on the 1985 original. When that version of "We Are the World" was released in 1985, Bieber was still a decade away from being born.

    WireImage / WireImage
  • The 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards - Show

    Justin Bieber

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    He likes older women

    Singer Ke$ha and Bieber spoke onstage during the 52nd annual Grammy Awards held at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Jan. 31, 2010.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • The 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards - Arrivals

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    No. 1 fan

    Bieber and his mother, Pattie Mallette, attended the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Jan. 31, 2010.

    Getty Images for NARAS / Getty Images for NARAS
  • 2009 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals

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    Bright-eyed teen

    Bieber arrived at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York on Sept. 13, 2009.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Justin Bieber Performs

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    Kid with a dream

    Bieber is shown performing on the street in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, on Aug. 20, 2007.

    Getty Images / Getty Images

For Bieber, chatting with the 14-time Grammy winner was almost as unbelievable as the idea of working with him.

“Me, u, and the chef 2gether on a song = EPIC,” the 16-year-old replied. “Haha. Might sound crazy 2 u but even having this convo is living the dream. Thanks.”

Dish on the fly After taking a swipe at plastic surgery obsessed celebrities and calling out Madonna in particular, “Modern Family” star Sofia Vergara now hopes to distance herself from the comments she made to Esquire magazine. While Vergara hasn’t outright denied saying that such nip-tuck enthusiasts “end up looking like a freak,” she took to her Twitter account and declared, “That writer from that magazine is someone trying to cause problems. I will never give an interview to those people in my life.” And lest the Queen of Pop take any offense, Vergara added, “I love Madonna for gods sake!!!!!!!!!!.” … Theattack on former reality TV star at the annual Gathering of Juggalos left one non-fan laughing. Lindsay Lohan’s off-again on-again gal pal Samantha Ronson told a TMZ cameraman, “Karma’s a bitch.” When pressed for further comment about the incident, which left Tequila bruised and bloody, Ronson added, “I did laugh when I saw the photograph.”

Tabloid Tidbits is compiled by Ree Hines. Follow on Twitter to gab about the latest gossip.

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