Steven Fabrizio, a high-level executive at the Motion Picture Assn. of America, has been fired by the organization following his arrest on charges he sexually abused and blackmailed a woman he contacted through an online dating service for “sugar daddies.”
Fabrizio, who was senior executive vice president and global general counsel for the MPAA, was arrested Aug. 23 after the woman told Washington, D.C., police he coerced her into sex by threatening her, according to a report filed by the officers. He has been charged with second-degree sexual abuse and blackmail, according to police documents.
MPAA Chairman and Chief Executive Charles Rivkin emailed the group’s board on Monday morning saying Fabrizio had been fired.
“This is to inform you that Steve Fabrizio’s employment with the MPAA has ended for violating certain terms of employment,” Rivkin said in the memo. “I’ve asked Daniel Robbins to be interim general counsel as we embark on a search for a permanent replacement.”
An attorney for Fabrizio could not be immediately reached for comment.
The MPAA is the Washington, D.C.-based lobbying arm of the major Hollywood film studios: Walt Disney Co., Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures and Netflix. The organization is heavily involved in copyright protection of movies and also rates films for content.
Fabrizio joined the MPAA in 2013 to lead its legal team when the group was run by former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd. In his role at the MPAA, Fabrizio oversaw the group’s anti-piracy activities around the world. He previously worked at the Recording Industry Assn. of America and was a co-chair of the content, media and entertainment practice at the firm Jenner & Block.
The woman told police she met Fabrizio through a website that connects wealthy men and women to “attractive individuals seeking a luxurious lifestyle,” according to the report. After meeting online and exchanging messages, they had consensual sex at the woman’s apartment, the complaint said. He gave her $400 before leaving, according to the document.
He texted her the next day to arrange another encounter and, when she refused, threatened to tell her employer and landlord that she was having sex for money.
“Don’t be like that,” he wrote, according to the report. “I know where you live. I know where you work. ... Once more tomorrow morning. ... I’ll never bother you again.”
The woman told police Fabrizo used the threats to coerce her into another sexual encounter at her apartment. She called 911 after the incident, and police came to her apartment, the report said.
The arrest was first reported by Breitbart News.
“These charges, if true, are both shocking and intolerable to the association,” an MPAA spokesman said in a statement. “We had no prior knowledge of this behavior before these charges were publicly filed.”