Criminal Justice

Global general counsel fired after accusations of blackmailing woman he met online

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Steven Fabrizio, the global general counsel of the Motion Picture Association of America, has been fired after his arrest for allegedly blackmailing a woman he met on a “sugar daddies” online dating site.

Fabrizio, 55, was arrested Aug. 23 and charged with blackmail and second-degree sexual abuse through threats, report the Los Angeles Times, Corporate Counsel, Law360 and Variety.

The woman told police that Fabrizio had threatened to expose parts of her private life if she did not have sex with him, according to a police report and affidavit.

The woman told police that she had sex with Fabrizio on Aug. 19 after meeting on the website, and he gave her $400 before leaving her apartment. She said she thought Fabrizio had been scary and rough, and she “bawled her eyes out” after the encounter, according to the affidavit.

When she refused to meet Fabrizio a second time, he allegedly threatened to disclose that she took money for sex.

“I know where you live,” he allegedly wrote. “I know where you work. Don’t think Georgetown Hospital would be happy to know that [its] young nurses are having sexual for money. / Same for your landlord.”

Fabrizio allegedly told the woman that he wanted sex just “one more time,” and then he would delete their texts and pictures. The woman agreed to the encounter. The woman took screenshots of many of the text messages and sent them to her roommate before the second meeting, the affidavit alleged.

Later, the woman went to police. While officers were at the woman’s apartment, Fabrizio allegedly sent texts threatening to tell the woman’s parents about the arrangement.

A third meeting was arranged, and police were waiting. The woman was in the back seat of one of the unmarked police vehicles, the affidavit said. Police arrested Fabrizio after he parked his car.

Fabrizio began working at the MPAA in 2013 and led its efforts to fight online piracy. He was formerly the co-chair of Jenner & Block’s content, media and entertainment practice and a former in-house lawyer at the Recording Industry Association of America.

The MPAA said in a statement that it “had no prior knowledge of this behavior before these charges were publicly filed.”

“These charges, if true, are both shocking and intolerable to the association,” the statement said.

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