A top Hearst executive has left the company after becoming ensnared in what’s being described as an extortion plot involving sexting with a Los Angeles stripper.
The New York Post’s Page Six reports that Scott Sassa, president of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, resigned after allegedly sexting the stripper, who then forwarded the texts to the company’s conservative top executives.
Sassa managed the company’s stakes in ESPN, Lifetime and other entertainment properties. He previously worked at NBC, where he served in various roles including president of NBC West Coast, and at Turner Broadcasting and Fox.
Sassa, 53, met the stripper in December and the pair started sexting, with the executive reportedly "using words you absolutely would not want your bosses to see," the story says, citing an unnamed source. Sassa, a single farther of two daughters, was also reportedly communicating with other women in New York.
The stripper allegedly tried to blackmail Sassa, telling him that she would expose their texts if he didn’t pay up. When he didn’t accede to the demands, the stripper’s boyfriend allegedly emailed the texts to top Hearst executives, including CEO Frank Bennack Jr., Hearst Magazines President David Carey and marketing exec Michael Clinton.
On Tuesday, Sassa was asked to resign, with the company allegedly giving him a large compensation package to exit, the story says. A representative for Hearst said the company doesn’t comment on employee issues.