Fabian Basabe used to be known as the “male Paris Hilton” in tabloid circles, a cosmopolitan socialite famous for being famous (being the son of a wealthy Ecuadorian businessman probably helped, too). Now, as a Florida state representative known for pushing anti-LGBTQ policies, he is being accused of sexual harassment by two male former staffers.
On Thursday, the Miami Herald reported on the lawsuit, which said Basabe made repeated sexual comments and advances towards a legislative aide and an intern. The suit detailed accusations including Basabe nonconsensually slapping the aide’s butt while at an elementary school career day, and groping and trying to kiss a Florida State University graduate student before then going on to hire him as an intern.
The lawsuit, filed by former intern Jacob Cutbirth, former aide Nicolas Frevola, and his mother Janette Frevola, goes into great detail of what allegedly transpired. According to the accusations, Cutbirth first met Basabe and Frevola at a Tallahassee bar in December. Later, Cutbirth was asked to drive the drunk Florida representative back to his hotel.
While Cutbirth was driving, Basabe allegedly “began to physically touch and grope him and to grab at him to try to kiss him.” Cutbirth says he “repeatedly told Basabe to stop touching him” and refused a request to come back to Basabe’s hotel room. Cutbirth accepted a part-time unpaid internship in Basabe’s office just weeks later; he saw the opportunity as an “apology.”
But things did not end there. Cutbirth alleges that Basabe repeatedly requested that he “flirt with him” while in the office, and that Basabe described him as “eye candy” in front of other people. Basabe allegedly even suggested that Cutbirth should break off his engagement with his girlfriend and instead “explore his sexuality by having sex with men.”
In a different incident, Basabe allegedly told his aide, Frevola, that he wanted “all of that butt” before slapping Frevola’s buttocks in the back of a fifth grade classroom, while another aide spoke to students during career day.
On another occasion, Basabe allegedly showed Cutbirth and Frevola a photograph of a naked man on his phone, and told the two that he was a “bottom,” while they should be “tops.”
Cutbirth says he quit in March due to “pervasive sexual harassment.”
The lawsuit also carries a previous claim made by Frevola that Basabe slapped him across the face at an event hosted by one of the largest Tallahassee lobbying firms, following Ron DeSantis’s inauguration. Allegedly, while Frevola was talking to a lobbyist, Basabe—who had apparently been drinking all day—approached and asked Frevola if the lobbyist was the woman he had “slept with” a few weeks ago. The pair were both shocked by the question and denied the inquiry. Basabe apparently grew angry, saying “Oh, so you are cheating,” before slapping Frevola and telling him to stand in the corner.
Basabe has been criticized for running as a supposed social moderate, while supporting Florida’s slate of anti-LGBTQ bills. That includes the infamous Don’t Say Gay bill, a measure that prevents teachers from asking students their preferred pronouns, and another that makes it a crime to host drag shows with anyone under the age of 18 present.
Cutbirth and Frevola said they didn’t know what they could’ve done in response to all the alleged incidents, as Basabe apparently made them both sign Non-Disclosure Agreements. Asked earlier as to whether he had indeed required them to do so, Basabe simply said, “There’s an application package, whatever is in there is in there. I don’t deal with the hiring process.”
The Florida legislature doesn’t require or provide NDAs for staff. Basabe has since accepted forcing staff to sign NDAs, and defended doing so. Still, he has denied the broader allegations, even calling the accusations from Frevola a “false” one made by “lazy, entitled, unscrupulous, self-involved, ungrateful, lying scum.”
Basabe once appeared on the reality TV show Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive, which depicted privileged children of celebrities experiencing the rugged life of working on a Colorado cattle ranch. “I just can’t believe some of the stuff that comes out of [Fabian’s] mouth,” one viewer remarked in an IMDB review of Filthy Rich. “He is the most disrespectful, lazy, arrogant person I have [ever] come across.”
“Every week I am amazed at what a spoiled, immature, brat Fabian is,” another said.
In 2006, he was arrested in New York for drunk driving and running a red light in his Hummer. He sued a New York nightclub $2 million after the doorman, who he called a “sand negro,” didn’t allow he and his friends to enter.
In December 2019, Basabe reportedly called a Black Miami publicist the n-word at a party at the Bass Museum in Miami Beach.
“When he’s leaving, he starts screaming at the top of his lungs, ‘peasant,’ ‘whore,’ ‘bitch’ at me … When he’s 50 yards away, he screams, ‘F–k you [n-word] bitch,’” publicist Tayo Otiti said.
Basabe has since viewed himself as a reformed man. “[Raising my son] has made me realize and focus and make up for any wrongs in my past,” he said in 2021.