Sony Interactive Entertainment fired George Cacioppo, a senior vice president in its engineering division after he allegedly appeared in a YouTube pedophilia sting video. George Cacioppo has been with PlayStation since 2013 working on PlayStation Network.
The YouTube channel People vs. Preds is an amateur group that conducts sting operations to expose alleged pedophiles. The group posed as a 15-year-old boy on the social networking app Grindr, an app commonly used by the LGBTQ+ community. There they found a man named “Jeff” and discussed explicit sexual acts before eventually arranging for a meetup via direct message on Grindr and eventually on text message. This “Jeff” individual is alleged to be George Cacioppo, and he invited who he believed to be a 15-year-old to his house and was waiting outside in the driveway wearing a PS5 T-Shirt. The group live-streamed the encounter. During the live stream on December 3rd, 2021 “Jeff” can be seen as he turns back inside his house and locks the door behind him. In the video, the group went on to shout in the street that the man inside the house invited a 15 year old over for sex.
Within the description of the YouTube video, the group put a link to all of the screenshots of their Grindr and text message conversations. According to the screenshots, “Jeff” is soliciting sexual acts from the decoy 15-year-old, despite him mentioning multiple times that he was 14 and later 15 when he had his “birthday.” Also within the screenshots are selfies where he can be seen wearing the same shirt he is wearing in the video as well as other explicit photos that were censored by the group.
On December 5th, 2021, Sony would confirm that George Cacioppo was terminated from employment. As of now, it is unknown if any charges are going to be filed. The group People vs. Preds have told media that the reason this information was released publicly, rather than handed directly to authorities was:
“The police department doesn’t work with ‘Cyber groups’ like us. That’s when the internet takes over.”People vs. Preds
However, they did go on to confirm that they did provide a copy of all the evidence to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. The DA’s office as of now hasn’t made any public comment about the case.