Celebrity Stomach Pump

From the urban legends mailbag

Rod Stewart In Concert - New York, NY
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Have you ever heard the legend about Rod Stewart passing out on stage? He was subsequently taken to the hospital and had his stomach pumped. From within his stomach, they allegedly siphoned many ounces of fresh semen, enough to fill a pint glass. 

All the Versions of This Myth

You may be interested to know that precisely the same story, give or take a pint or two, has been told of Elton John, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Jon Bon Jovi, Alanis Morissette, Britney Spears, and Lil' Kim, to name but a few. Rod Stewart just happened to be the main target of the rumor when it was going around in the 1980s. Apparently, it was assumed by many people that he's gay, which is contrary to such evidence as we have regarding the matter.

The origin of the story dates back to the early '70s, when seemingly every high school and college campus across the United States could claim a "Promiscuous Cheerleader" who, rumor had it, was rushed to the emergency room to have her stomach pumped after servicing the entire football team (or basketball team, etc.) at a party.​

Clearly, the moral focus of this cautionary tale has changed over time, with female rock stars replacing gay-seeming male rock stars as the "slutty cheerleaders" of the moment.

As to the fundamental credibility of the story, well — never mind the practicalities of how a person might manage to ingest so much semen in one sitting when the average volume of male ejaculate, according to experts, is one-half to one teaspoon and there are 96 teaspoons in a pint (do the math) — what I'd like to know is, can semen really be so toxic that emergency stomach pumping is required?

Given that it consists only of water, sugar, proteins, and some harmless trace ingredients, we suspect not.

Stewart's 2012 Update

Kudos to Rod Stewart, who took it upon himself to address the stomach pump allegations in his book, Rod: The Autobiography, published Oct. 23, 2012:

I have never orally pleasured even a solitary sailor, let alone a ship's worth in one evening. And I have never had my stomach pumped, either of naval-issue semen or of any other kind of semen. Nor of anything else, for that matter.

Interestingly, Stewart describes the rumor as an act of revenge by an employee he had fired, his personal assistant Tony Toon. 

"Toon's revenge was absolutely inspired," Stewart wrote. "He fed the press a story in which, as a consequence of an evening spent orally servicing a gang of sailors in a gay bar in San Diego, I had been required to check into a hospital emergency room to have my stomach pumped."

Though he acknowledges that the rumor has dogged him ever after, Stewart reflects upon the experience with surprising grace and forgiveness. "Say what you like about Tony Toon — and God rest his soul," he wrote, "but he was good at his job."

It's a cautionary tale after all.