Florida Republican Fabian Basabe accused of sexually harassing male staff members

A Republican in the Florida state legislature has been accused of sexual harassment by two men.

A lawsuit, filed last week, alleges that Fabián Basabe physically assaulted and made explicit sexual comments towards 25-year-old Nicolas Frevola and 24-year-old Jacob Cutbirth, both of whom are heterosexual.

Basabe, who was elected to the state House of Representatives in November and is married to a woman, has denied all the allegations against him.

The lawsuit claims that, while intoxicated, Fabian Basabe touched, groped and tried to kiss Cutbirth, who was driving him home in the early hours of 15 December. Cutbirth told Basabe to stop but when they arrived at Basabe’s hotel, the lawmaker tried to entice the intern into his hotel room to have sex.

A few days later, on December 20, while the pair were at an elementary school for a career day event, Basabe allegedly slapped his then-aide Frevola on the buttocks and said: “I want all of that butt.”

Further claims detail an incident on 3 January, when it is then alleged that, at a social event after Florida governor Ron DeSantis’ inauguration, Basabe demanded Frevola stand in the corner of a room after asking if he’d recently slept with a woman he was standing next to, before striking him across the face.

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Frevola is said to have complied “out of fear”.

External employment lawyers were previously hired by the Florida House of Representatives to investigate this, and made an “inconclusive” finding.

Later incidents include Fabian Basabe allegedly telling Cutbirth he needed to flirt with him while in the office, with the representative at one point calling him “eye candy” while they were in front of others, as well as telling him to not marry his now-wife but to “explore his sexuality by having sex with men”.

It’s also claimed that Basabe, 45, showed the pair a photograph of a naked man on his phone, encouraged them to try “sport f**king”, and told them he was a “bottom” and they should be “tops”.

Cutbirth eventually resigned from his internship “because of the sexual harassment”, according to the lawsuit.

A lawyer for Cutbirth and Frevola, Cindy Myers, told The Advocate that Basabe made the environment hostile.

“Neither of these young men are anti-LGBTQ+,” she said. “They just aren’t inclined to have sex with other men… but even if they were gay, if they told [Basabe] no, he doesn’t have the right to do any of this.”

Myers said the pair had initially been reluctant to come forward with the accusations because Basabe made staff sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). However, she said, under local laws those can’t be enforced on people who work for the state.

She hopes two other people, who have not come forward because of the NDAs, will join the lawsuit.

CBS News reported that Fabian Basabe has denied any wrongdoing and had called the allegations “ridiculous”.

His lawyer, Robert Fernandez, told the news outlet: “Representative Basabe will not be litigating this frivolous and meritless lawsuit in the media or giving it any more public attention than it deserves – which is none.

“Representative Basabe looks forward to defending himself in court and we believe he will be fully vindicated once these allegations are scrutinised under the rule of law. In the meantime, Representative Basabe will continue to focus on the issues important to the citizens of Florida.”

CBS News reported that Basabe, a former reality TV star, campaigned on being a moderate who was supportive of LGBTQ+ issues. However, he voted in favour of expanding Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law and reportedly defended a bill deemed to be anti-drag.