By now just about everyone has heard the rumor concerning Richard Gere’s rectum and a gerbil somehow getting trapped inside of it, but did Sylvester Stallone have anything to do with it? With Stallone’s new Rambo and Rocky pics coming soon, the question has been brought to my attention, so we’ll be attempting to answer it here, but first a primer on “gerbiling.” It involves sticking a tube of some sort into your anus and stuffing a gerbil past your sphincter — either in a bag, for the gerbil’s sake, or raw-dog style — and achieving some sort of pleasure from having the animal writhe around in your lower intestine.
Okay, now that we got that out of the way, let’s move on.
The story of Gere having to rush to Cedars-Sinai hospital to have a gerbil removed gained popularity in the early 90s, but scientific research suggests the tale originated sometime in the 80s. Whether it was true or not didn’t matter: it was hilarious, and pop culture latched onto it as evidenced by this live In Living Color skit that aired in 1992 opposite the Superbowl half time show.
And in case you thought this urban legend was forgotten, then you haven’t done a Twitter search recently.
Here’s the gist of the tale the way it passed through Hollywood and the rest of the world (yes, this was an international incident).
Several years ago, “they” say, Richard Gere was admitted into the emergency room of a Los Angeles hospital with a foreign object lodged in his rectum. Some say Gere was alone when he arrived, others say he was accompanied by a friend (former love interest Cindy Crawford tops the list). In any case, an x-ray was taken and it was determined that the foreign object was a gerbil (either alive or dead at that point, depending on who tells the story). Mr. Gere was rushed to surgery, where it literally took a team of doctors to extract the unfortunate animal.
Several stories date the impetus of the rumor back to the 80s, when supposedly some nefarious character (Sylvester Stallone?) faxed a faux hospital report claiming that Gere was admitted to Cedar-Sinai to have a creature extracted. There were even people who claimed to know people who claimed they “saw” Gere at the hospital either before or after said creature was removed. A commenter on a Dan Savage article from 2013 said the following…
1987, a friend of mine I was sharing a place with was an ER nurse in Vancouver, BC. Came back from work once, breathlessly excited because on the ER shift before hers! they had pulled a gerbil! out of Richard Gere’s ass! Top secret! She’d get fired if anyone knew she told! I’d like to think that my reply back then was “yeah, whatever…”
Since it’s on the internet, it must be true! But back to Stallone — what is his role in the whole fiasco, if any? Where did the whispers of Sly starting the rumors come from? Well, according to Stallone himself, they started with Richard Gere.
Gere and the Sly one were set to star in The Lords of Flatbush together, but the pair couldn’t make nice. Stallone addressed the issue with Ain’t It Cool news a few years back and how it led to Gere believing he started the awful rumor.
Yeah, the original part of Chico, which was played by Perry King, was originally supposed to be played by Richard Gere, but we never hit it off. He would strut around in his oversized motorcycle jacket like he was the baddest knight at the round table. One day, during an improv, he grabbed me (we were simulating a fight scene) and got a little carried away. I told him in a gentle fashion to lighten up, but he was completely in character and impossible to deal with. Then we were rehearsing at Coney Island and it was lunchtime, so we decided to take a break, and the only place that was warm was in the backseat of a Toyota. I was eating a hotdog and he climbs in with a half a chicken covered in mustard with grease nearly dripping out of the aluminum wrapper. I said, “That thing is going to drip all over the place.” He said, “Don’t worry about it.” I said, “If it gets on my pants you’re gonna know about it.” He proceeds to bite into the chicken and a small, greasy river of mustard lands on my thigh. I elbowed him in the side of the head and basically pushed him out of the car. The director had to make a choice: one of us had to go, one of us had to stay. Richard was given his walking papers and to this day seriously dislikes me. He even thinks I’m the individual responsible for the gerbil rumor. Not true… but that’s the rumor.
For the most part, Gere strayed from ever addressing the issue, but in an interview in 2008, he finally laid to rest the poor gerbil in the sky who has been on the receiving end of a rumor he entered Gere’s receiving end.
“I stopped reading the press a long time ago,” Gere said. “Lots of crazy things came up about me at first, especially from the tabloids. There is an infamous ‘Gere stuck a hamster up his bum’ urban myth.”
Now here’s what we know: Gere claims he never had a gerbil in his butt. Stallone claims he never started the rumor (although we must now investigate his hatred for chicken-mustard grease). No one can corroborate the definitive start of the rumor, nor the validity of it ever happening. And the world spins madly on.