She has never made a movie, never run a studio, never even written a script. Yet in a very real sense, she’s the most powerful player in Hollywood right now. She’s Heidi Fleiss, 27, and she’s at the center of the town’s hottest sex scandal in years. Call it Geisha-gate. Scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 9 in Los Angeles on charges of felony pimping, pandering, and narcotics possession, Fleiss has a number of top executives and happily married stars biting their manicured nails. She also has the grapevine working overtime on which studio executives could be tarnished for supplying what has long been the most unpublicized of Hollywood perks — the glamorous call girl.
Perhaps even more damning, if it’s true, is Fleiss’ claim that a ”certain Hollywood person” has tapped her phone. Moreover, there are rumors linking Fleiss’ services to a phony development deal set up by a major studio. And at least one of the studio’s top executives is rumored to be the designated scapegoat to protect the company name.
Will the studio’s name or the celebrities involved ever be revealed? The LAPD insists it’s not interested in prosecuting famous people. ”Companies’ paying for female services is nothing new,” says one detective. ”This town has been operated this way for decades.”
Nonetheless, Fleiss — who has been seen publicly with everyone who’s anyone — says she’ll tell all to any publisher who’ll pay her $1 million.
Maybe it isn’t too surprising that TV and movie producers are showing a noticeable lack of interest in buying Heidi’s story. Screenwriter Matt Tabak, who had written a Fleiss-inspired screenplay for producer Joel Silver, was unable to sell the rights when he peddled them around town earlier this summer. Silver refuses to discuss the project, evidently wanting to maintain as much distance as possible from the muddled affair.
He isn’t alone. ”This is a company town, and the town will deal with it in a company way,” says a Disney-based producer. ”Let’s get real. This is also a town that has always rewarded all kinds of aberrant behavior. The tabloids will have fun. [Any] tapes will get sold to Hard Copy, but that’s as far as it will go.” — Additional reporting by Jeffrey Wells