A Florida state representative known for pushing anti-LGBTQ policies is being accused of sexual harassment in a lawsuit by two male ex-staffers.
On Thursday, the Miami Herald reported on the lawsuit, which said Rep. Fabian Basabe (R-FL), who is married to a woman, made repeated sexual comments and advances towards a male legislative aide and an intern.
The suit, filed by former intern Jacob Cutbirth, former aide Nicolas Frevola, and his mother Janette Frevola, 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.
According to the lawsuit, 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.”
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 butt 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.”
Basabe has an extensive history of bad behavior spanning nearly two decades, according to The Daily Beast:
According to a fiery email exchange between Basabe and a hotel employee from 2016 reviewed by the Herald, Basabe angrily complained about being seated next to people he didn’t know—and in response, one employee pointed out that Basabe allegedly bit him, leaving a “massive bloody welt and bruise” on his shoulder. And it wasn’t the only time the legislator was accused of attacking with his teeth. On another occasion, a waitress at a different hotel said Basabe bit her arm while she was serving him drinks in 2017, according to a police report.
Basabe has supported Florida’s slate of anti-LGBTQ bills, including 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.