Sony Interactive Entertainment senior vice president George Cacioppo has been fired from the company after a YouTube-based sting operation allegedly netted him attempting to solicit sex from a 15-year old.
Cacioppo's surprise outing came mere hours after a video was posted by YouTube channel "People v. Preds," which filmed a man it claimed to be Cacioppo at his San Diego county home.
The People v. Preds channel operators claim that they had posed as a 15-year-old boy on dating app Grindr, and struck up a conversation with Cacioppo on the app. According to them, Cacioppo had claimed to be an "engineer" named "Jeff" and had invited their fake persona to his home for sex--despite the fact he'd been told the boy was 15 years old.
The video from People v. Preds is short--the channel operator approaches a house deep in the night and angrily confronts a man who responds to the name "Jeff." "Jeff" retreats into his home after realizing he is being filmed.
Damningly, "Jeff" is wearing a shirt with the PlayStation 5 logo.
Shortly after the video was posted, Sony told CNET that it had fired Cacioppo. "We are aware of the situation and the employee in question has been terminated from employment," the company said.
People v. Preds apparently passed information from this encounter on to the San Diego County police department, though it told Kotaku it posts videos like these to its channel because police does not "work with Cyber Groups like us."
Sony's dismissal of Cacioppo doesn't necessarily confirm if he committed any criminal acts (we'll see if the San Diego County DA's office presses any charges), but it does seem to indicate that he is the individual in the video. Assuming the rest of People v. Preds' allegations hold up, it does appear that the former executive attempted to solicit sex with a minor.
Sony is also fending off a lawsuit arguing that gender discrimination took place in its San Diego offices.