Page Six reports today that Scott Sassa, the president of the entertainment and syndication division of publishing giant Hearst, is "quitting" (in the sense of "being ordered to quit") in the wake of a horrifying scandal. What is the scandal that is so bad it abruptly ends the career of a high powered media executives? He was sending text messages of a sexual nature to a consenting adult female.
The horror, the horror. As P6 tells it, Sassa—"a single father," which means "unmarried"— met a stripper in LA last December, and started sexting with her, and she sent him naked photos. Then, the stripper tried to blackmail him. When he didn't pay her, she sent copies of all the messages to all of Sassa's bosses at Hearst.
"She was texting him sexy pictures, and he was responding using words you absolutely would not want your bosses to see," a source said
Like what? "Baby, you look so sexy, you remind me of Conde Nast, a publishing company far superior to the one at which I'm working, and for whom I am a corporate spy?" It seems far-fetched. One can reasonably infer he was talking about, you know, sex stuff. For this, he was asked to resign, P6 says. His bio has already been pulled off the Hearst website.
We don't, of course, know exactly what the company found, or what might have been in Sassa's phone. Perhaps there was some serious evidence of corporate malfeasance, or expense account abuse, or legitimate violation having to do with his job, as opposed to his personal life. But if, as reported, this is a case of a man who failed to respond to a blackmail attempt and then was blackmailed with a bunch of sexting transcripts, one has to note: That's pretty fucked up on the part of Hearst. It's good to know that if someone tries to extort you for a consensual relationship, your company will support you by... essentially firing you. Is it a condition of employment at Hearst that an executive must never have sent a sexy text message? That would seem to call into question their digital expertise. Hearst publishes Cosmopolitan and Esquire. Have Scott Sassa's bosses ever read Cosmopolitan or Esquire? They are magazines about sex.
We've emailed the company for comment and will update if they reply. If you know more, email me.
[P6. Photo: Getty]