An openly gay US police officer who appeared in a design reality series has been suspended following claims that he starred in a gay adult film.

Thirty four year old Michael Verdugo was a contestant in the HGTV cable network show Design Star and has been accused by a number of websites of being featured in the 1996 S&M video Rope Rituals.

“Verdugo has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of a fact-finding Internal Affairs investigation,” a police spokesperson told the Miami Herald.

The claim came to light on the internet with web surfers hotly debating whether or not the actor in the film is the reality television contestant.

While Verdugo’s lawyer has refused to a confirm or deny that it is Verdugo in the film, according to the Herald, the video’s producer Christopher O’Neal has said that he does not believe it is the same man: “I think they’ve got the wrong guy.”

If he is found guilty of appearing in the video he could be fired from the Hollywood, Florida police force for bringing the department into disrepute.

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