A GUEST on the popular “Pawn Stars” series is embroiled in a heated, international scandal as he comes under blistering attack for being a grave robber.
A team of amateur “diggers” – led by Craig Gottlieb, one of the experts who frequently appears on “Pawn Stars’” – is being called to task by scientists for alleged looting and desecration of World War II graves.
Gottlieb – an ex-Marine and expert in Nazi-era artifacts – was chosen as a key participant in the new National Geographic series “Nazi War Diggers,” but the show offended so many people, it was yanked off the air after just one episode in Britain and upcoming-attraction trailers in the U.S.
“I feel that by selling things that are Nazi-related and for lots of money, I’m preserving a part of history that museums don’t want to bother with,” defended Gottlieb, who first appeared on “Pawn Stars” in 2012.
The show revolves around a unique Las Vegas-based pawn shop that handles unusual items, many of historical value, and Gottlieb is often called in to verify the authenticity and value of war-related memorabilia.
But unknown to the show’s millions of fans, Gottlieb has frequently been attacked as a war profiteer who cashes in on Nazi memorabilia.
His new TV venture instantly drew harsh criticism from experts and forensic scientists here and abroad – forcing National Geographic to pull the plug on its brand-new program.
(“Nazis Diggers”) is a “disgrace,” declared Dr. Tony Pollard, director of the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology at Glasgow University.
Dr. Pollard was particularly upset over the way human remains were handled. One segment shows a human femur (thigh bone) being roughly tugged from the ground and mistaken for a humerus (upper arm bone).
“This shows no evidence of even the most basic archaeological principles – this is treasure hunting not archaeology,” fumed Dr. Pollard.
“I have seen human remains brandished like trophies before, but in dodgy YouTube videos. The fact that this comes from a commissioned TV series is quite beyond belief.
“The trailer on the Internet was absolutely shocking and very damaging for National Geographic.”
Dr. Edward Liebow, executive director of the American Anthropological Association, told The ENQUIRER: “I believe it was a good thing that the show was canceled.
“We work together with a number of professional groups that represent anthropologists and archaeologists around the world. We want people to realize that the material they take out of the ground is absolutely meaningless if it’s done unprofessionally and information about it is not appropriately captured.”
What’s more, human remains must be handled with proper sensitivity, said Dr. Liebow. “Our mission is to be respectful of cultural heritage and to preserve for future generations this important resource.”