The arrest and termination of now former Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Executive Vice President and Global General Counsel Steven Fabrizio has shined a spotlight on Hollywood’s man in Washington’s political donations, most of which went to Democrats.
Fabrizio was before his arrest and termination the second in command at Hollywood’s top trade association in Washington, D.C. His role there was to push various legal and policy preferences of Hollywood’s various top studios that are members of the MPAA to lawmakers and policymakers.
The MPAA is an organization that also rates films, determining for which audience age group they are appropriate. The MPAA rates films NC-17, R, PG-13, PG, or G.
But it also represents Hollywood’s most powerful studios in policy battles with Congress over issues that deal with the movie and entertainment industry, as well as engaging with regulatory agencies around D.C. In other words, the MPAA is Hollywood’s representation in the Washington, D.C., swamp, and Fabrizio was until Monday, when he was fired after his Friday arrest, Hollywood’s point man for in-the-trenches legal fights in the nation’s capital.
Studios that MPAA represents include: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Netflix Studios LLC, Paramount Pictures Corporation, Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., Universal City Studios LLC, and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
As Breitbart News reportedly exclusively on Monday evening, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) detectives arrested Fabrizio on Friday on alleged “rape and blackmail” charges, according to a police report obtained by Breitbart News. The police report describes how Fabrizio 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.”
Detectives then orchestrated Mr. Fabrizio’s arrest outside the woman’s home.
The police report reviewed by Breitbart News reads:
Once the Defendant had parked his vehicle, Detectives [redacted] and [redacted] pulled up behind the Defendant’s vehicle. Detective [redacted] approached the defendant’s vehicle and asked the defendant for his driver’s license to confirm the defendant’s identity. The defendant provided Detective [redacted] his driver’s license, and the defendant’s identity was confirmed by his Maryland Driver’s License to be Steven Bernard Fabrizio born on [date redacted here]. The defendant was asked to step out of his vehicle. The Defendant walked to the rear of his vehicle and was placed in handcuffs. Sergeant [redacted] was already on scene as Detectives [redacted] and [redacted] walked up. As Detective [redacted] approached the defendant the defendant was heard asking Detective [redacted] to retrieve his cell phone from inside the vehicle. Detective retrieved the defendant’s cellphone and placed it in the defendant’s left cargo pocket. The defendant asked why he was stopped and he was advised by Detective [redacted] that he was being arrested for Rape and Blackmail and that if there were something he wished to tell the Detectives they would take him to the Detectives’ Office, mirandize him and interview him. The suspect declined, and asked if he could call a lawyer. The defendant was informed that he could make a phone call once he was at the police station. The defendant, Steven Bernard Fabrizio, was placed under arrest and transported to the Second District for processing.
The Metropolitan Police Department has since confirmed the authenticity of the police report to Breitbart News, and provided a statement confirming the arrest.
“Steven Bernard Fabrizio, 55, of Chevy Chase, MD, was arrested on Friday, August 23, 2019, for a Second Degree Sex Abuse-threats and a Blackmail offense that occurred in the 4000 block of Benton Street, Northwest, DC, on Tuesday, August 20, 2019,” an MPD spokesperson told Breitbart News.
Fabrizio, according to tax documents that the MPAA filed with the IRS in recent years, was making a salary of north of $1 million serving as the top lawyer for Hollywood’s trade association.
After Breitbart News’s original report on the arrest and charges against Fabrizio, Variety followed with more details, including the revelation that the MPAA had fired Fabrizio as a result of the charges. The MPAA has since confirmed to Breitbart News that Fabrizio has been terminated, adding in a statement from an organization spokesperson that it is shocked by the charges and had no prior knowledge of Fabrizio’s behavior.
“These charges, if true, are both shocking and intolerable to the Association,” an MPAA spokesperson told Breitbart News. “We had no prior knowledge of this behavior before these charges were publicly filed.”
The MPAA also provided Breitbart News with the text of an email its chairman, Charles Rivkin, sent to its board on Monday about the matter. “This is to inform you that Steve Fabrizio’s employment with the MPAA has ended for violating certain terms of employment,” Rivkin wrote to the MPAA board. “I’ve asked Daniel Robbins to be interim General Counsel as we embark on a search for a permanent replacement.”
Rivkin, who served as former President Barack Obama’s ambassador to France, as well as having served in a senior State Department position during the Obama administration, took over the helm of the MPAA in 2017 when former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT)–a one-time Democrat presidential candidate who served as a Democrat in the U.S. Senate for 30 years before taking over the MPAA in 2011–stepped down to helm a D.C. law firm.
Part of being the nation’s entertainment industry’s top legal representative in Washington involves schmoozing with lawmakers and building clout with key players in the policy arena. Most of that more political responsibility falls to the chairman of MPAA, like Rivkin now or Dodd before him, but Fabrizio was definitely a player in the political donation game, Federal Election Commission (FEC) donor records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics show.
Top conservatives are questioning whether Democrats will face heat for these donations they have received from Fabrizio, or if the media will give them a pass on this.
“For years, Democrat mobs have demanded Republicans return donations from anyone who gets a negative story about them in the press,” Charlie Kirk, the president of Turning Point USA, told Breitbart News. “Now, there is actual criminal activity regarding a top Democrat donor. Will the media demand these generous contributions are returned?”
Fabrizio made at least three donations, the records show, to his own firm, the Motion Picture Association of America’s political action committee, totaling $15,000 over the course of 2014 through 2016. A spokesman for the MPAA declined to comment to Breitbart News when asked about Fabrizio’s donations and whether MPAA would give them back to him, or donate the money to charity.
Similarly, Fabrizio has donated several thousand dollars to former President Barack Obama’s various campaigns over the years. In fact, since 2004 and spanning many years–including during the 2008 and 2012 presidential cycles–Fabrizio donated more than $10,000 to Obama himself. A spokesperson for the former president has not replied to a request for comment from Breitbart News sent to the former president’s team on his website.
Fabrizio also donated between two installments a total of $6,000 to the Democratic National Committee (DNC). He made a $5,000 donation to the DNC in 2008, and a $1,000 donation to the party in 2012. In 2010, he donated $500 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), which helps elect Democrats to the U.S. Senate. Spokespersons for both the DNC and DSCC have not replied to Breitbart News’s request for comment on Fabrizio’s arrest and termination from the MPAA.
Former Rep. John Delaney (D-MD), now a 2020 Democrat presidential candidate, received $2,500 from Fabrizio in 2012. Delaney’s 2020 presidential campaign has not replied to Breitbart News’s request for comment on Fabrizio’s donation.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) also received a 2015 donation worth $2,300 from Fabrizio. His office has not commented on the record for this piece.
In 2006, Fabrizio gave $250 to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), the records show. His office has not responded to Breitbart News’s request for comment on the matter.
The only Republican Fabrizio donated to is the now retired former House Judiciary Committee chairman, former Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), to whom he donated $2,500 in 2013. Efforts to track down Goodlatte for comment were unsuccessful, since he is no longer in federal elected office and is retired.