George Cacioppo, a senior executive at Sony, was fired after allegedly appearing in an amateur pedophile sting video posted to YouTube on Friday.
In the video, which has garnered almost 140,000 views since it was livestreamed to the platform on Dec. 3, the cameraman accuses Cacioppo of trying to meet with a 15-year-old boy. Cacioppo is seen walking away from the cameraman and rushing into a home after he is confronted.
In an email statement issued on Sunday, Sony said Cacioppo had been fired from his position at the company.
Cacioppo did not respond to requests for comment from the New York Post as of Monday morning.
George Cacioppo Reportedly Caught in YouTube Pedophile Sting
According to the YouTube channel “People v. Preds,” Cacioppo was contacted by a decoy who claimed to be a 15-year-old boy via the dating app Grindr in San Diego last week.
The video shows a man, claimed to be Cacioppo, standing in front of a home in the middle of the night and wearing a PlayStation 5 shirt. The cameraman approaches him, and asks who is hoping to meet.
“We can have a conversation or I can call the cops,” the cameraman says, as the man who appears to be Cacioppo quickly turns and reenters the home. The cameraman threatens to call the police.
Tech news outlet CNET reported early on Monday that the YouTube channel confirmed it had sent the video — along with the dating app chat logs — to the San Diego District Attorney’s office.
The DA did not return the outlet’s request for comment, nor did police issue a statement to the New York Post. Cacioppo is not in custody, nor is there a warrant for his arrest, according to the San Diego Sheriff’s Office online records.
Sony Issues Statement
In a statement emailed to CNET over the weekend, Sony acknowledged the incident. “We are aware of the situation and the employee in question has been terminated from employment,” the company wrote.
On his LinkedIn page, still available as of Monday morning, Cacioppo is listed as a “senior vice president of engineering” for PlayStation Network, the company’s online multiplayer console platform. The page says Cacioppo began working at Sony Interactive Entertainment, the American arm of the company’s video game subsidiary, in 2013.
Before that, he reportedly worked as an engineer for financial services developer Intuit and for software giant Adobe.
YouTube Channel Appeals to Public
A representative from “People v. Preds,” the channel that livestreamed and organized the alleged sting, told gaming news outlet Kotaku that it uploaded the footage to put public pressure on authorities to act.
“The police department doesn’t work with ‘Cyber groups’ like us,” the representative said. “That’s when the internet takes over.” Still, the “evidence has been turned into the authorities,” they added.
“People v. Preds” — short for “predators” — claims to “catch online preds that prey on children” in its bio on YouTube. The channel appears to have been launched in August, and has since earned more than a million total views and more than 15,000 subscribers.
In more than 90 videos uploaded since the summer, “People v. Preds” claims to have “busted” dozens of adults who they claim were trying meet up with minors. Cacioppo appears to be the first alleged “pred” with a significant public profile to be featured on the channel.
In one video, the cameraman is heard telling San Diego police that an officer put him and hand cuffs and “slammed” his phone down while the cameraman tried to show him “evidence” that resulted from a “sting.” That video, posted in late October, could have been the source of the channel’s strategy of applying public pressure before turning over materials to investigators.