How do we put this story in Hollywood terms? Think Pretty Woman meets Sleeping With the Enemy by way of Harvey Weinstein. A top executive at the Motion Picture Association of America, the body that assigns ratings to all films released in the US, has been arrested in a rape-extortion case. The MPAA fired executive VP and general counsel Steven Fabrizio after Breitbart News first reported the arrest:
A top executive at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), a top trade association representing heavy hitters and power players from Hollywood in Washington, D.C., has been arrested by Metropolitan Police Department detectives for alleged “rape and blackmail,” a police report reviewed by Breitbart News states.
The police report describes how Steven Fabrizio, who according to his LinkedIn page is the Senior Executive Vice President and Global General Counsel for the MPAA, struck up a relationship with a woman on a “dating website.”
After what the detectives describe as a series of encounters between the woman and Fabrizio, which she claims she attempted to end multiple times, the report says she called the police for help. The report then describes messages sent by the woman to Fabrizio that “were largely composed and sent in consultation with members of the Metropolitan Police Department.”
Variety described the case in more detail later. Fabrizio paid $400 for sex from a girl he met on a “sugar daddy” site, and then decided to extort more for free by threatening to expose her. If she didn’t have sex with him, Fabrizio threatened to ruin her career and her family life, which sounds a bit familiar in Hollywood’s #MeToo era:
According to a police affidavit, Fabrizio is accused of threatening a woman he met on a “sugar daddy” dating site. The police allege that Fabrizio and the woman had consensual sex once on Aug. 19, after which he paid her $400. After that, she did not want to see him again. According to the affidavit, Fabrizio sent numerous texts insisting on a second meeting, and threatening to expose her if she did not comply.
“I know where you live,” he allegedly wrote. “I know where you work. Don’t think — Hospital would be happy to know that it’s young nurses are having sexual for money / Same for your landlord.”
Fabrizio allegedly used those threats to coerce her into having sex again, according to the affidavit. The police allege that he then sent additional texts threatening to tell her parents if she did not continue to have sex with him a couple times a month. The woman called the police. After arranging for another meeting, Fabrizio was arrested outside the woman’s apartment on Friday morning, according to the document.
Sex by fraud or extortion is rape, which means Fabrizio will face a long prison sentence if convicted. Whether he gets convicted remains to be seen, of course, as Fabrizio is considered innocent until proven guilty.
And these circumstances are sooooo unbelievable to have reason to keep a skeptical attitude until all the evidence comes out. Let’s try to parse this out. An attorney who rose to the upper echelon of Hollywood seeks out “companionship” on a sugar daddy website, which seems a little tough to believe on its own. (Is it that tough for the rich and powerful to find dates?) After spending $400 on sex — probably less than he spends on business lunches — Fabrizio then allegedly won’t pay for sex again or look for a more willing partner. Instead, he extorts the girl he met once for more sex by sending oh-so-traceable e-mail threats. Then he is apparently stupid and/or desperate enough to step right into a sting operation because he can’t take no for an answer.
One might say that only in Hollywood could this be possible. As a bad comedy or melodrama.
The MPAA has fired Fabrizio for violating the “behavior” clause in his contract. They should be answering questions about how someone this reckless and foolish got into that position of power in the first place. For the past six years, Fabrizio has lobbied around the world on rights-management issues and anti-piracy initiatives; how many of those places did Fabrizio decide to seek a little company? And how many other lives has Fabrizio threatened to ruin to save a few bucks? With his arrest, more victims might come forward, assuming that any more exist. You can bet that if there are any other victims, they’ll be coming after the MPAA to determine just how much they knew about Fabrizio’s activities, whether there’s a case for damages or not.