Playboy real estate developer Danny Fitzgerald may have been able to evade his aggrieved neighbors and the dozens of complaints made against his Los Angeles party mansions. But according to an injunction issued by a federal judge last week, he cannot avoid the 10 women and counting who have accused him of sex trafficking.
Fitzgerald, also known as “dannyhollywoodhomes” to his 151,000 Instagram followers, is one of the most notorious real estate developers in Los Angeles. His Hollywood Hills homes have been rented out to the likes of Justin Beiber, Nelly, and The Weeknd, and served as one of TikTok’s original “hype houses.”
He also happens to be close friends with Peter Nygard, the disgraced Canadian fashion executive who was indicted last year by the Department of Justice for running a sex trafficking ring that allegedly touched dozens of victims over the last 25 years. A DOJ indictment claims Nygard maintained a harem of women—some of them underage—at his various international properties and coerced them into sexual activities through threats, false promises of modeling opportunities, financial support, and physical isolation. (Nygard has denied any wrongdoing.)
Ten women have since accused Fitzgerald of participating in Nygard’s trafficking ring and running one of his own. On Thursday, a U.S. district court judge issued an injunction barring the developer from coming within 100 feet of the women, who claim he tried to silence them in the months since they filed suit by publishing derogatory YouTube videos and distributing flyers about them. One woman even claims he made threatening comments to her family.
“Our clients exhibited incredible strength and bravery in coming forward, and, in so doing faced physical and psychological threats by Mr. Fitzgerald,” Greg Gutzler, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement. “The Court correctly required Fitzgerald and those working on his behalf to stop their shameful bullying of these women and, further, to remove the offending and false materials they put online and into the community.”
A lawyer for Fitzgerald claimed he had nothing to do with the videos or the flyers. He said the plaintiffs were attempting to “muddy the waters” by tying his client to Nygard, and said the developer is “not connected to [Nygard], he has nothing to do with what he’s being accused of and he’s his own person.”
Fitzgerald, who was born 30 minutes north of Los Angeles to a beer salesman and a BBQ pit waitress, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is best known for a complex of houses he owns in the Hollywood Hills that measures 46,000 square feet and stands 60 feet tall. The complex, which contains a nightclub, a hot tub with 70 jets, and the word “Hollywood” spelled out in tile by the pool, has hosted parties for everyone from Zendaya to Mark Zuckerberg and served as the location for multiple TV shows and porn shoots. It has also racked up more than 90 calls to police from aggrieved neighbors, who reportedly refer to the complex as “the abortion on the hill.” (City officials told the Los Angeles Times that things cooled down after both the city attorney and building and safety division sent him notices in the summer of 2015.)
Mark Fleischman, a former business partner, previously told THR that Fitzgerald’s “idea of living is parties, so he creates living spaces that are party spaces.”
“Those lingerie parties were a way of attracting rich men to come to his houses to look at buying them,” he added.
Fitzgerald also got in early on the TikTok boom, and currently owns one of the largest and oldest content creator mansions, the Hype House LA. His own social media presence consists largely of photos of himself with celebrities—Charlie Sheen, Hulk Hogan, and Logan Paul, to name a few—surfing videos, and of tours of his various international properties through which he parades scantily clad young women. “Look at Chrissy, she’s getting tan and pretty,” he remarks in one recent video, zooming in on a young woman he later repeatedly refers to as “Baja Barbie.”
But the lawsuit claims that underneath all this glitz and glamour lay a seedy trafficking ring. Fitzgerald, it claims, was a member of Nygard’s “network of trusted associates” with whom he allegedly “swapped” sex trafficking victims, according to a federal complaint. He allegedly attended the so-called “pamper parties” in which Nygard coerced victims into joining his circle, and multiple plaintiffs claim they were forced to have sex with Fitzgerald at Nygard’s direction. (In one instance, Nygard allegedly told a victim, “This is my best friend, you need to have sex with him!” and watched as she did.)
Several of the plaintiffs claim Fitzgerald independently trafficked them as part of his own network of “girlfriends” that he based on Nygard’s ring. One woman claims the developer initially agreed to let her live with him with no strings attached, but soon began demanding that she participate in threesomes with him and his girlfriend. She claims she awoke multiple times to find Fitzgerald on top of her, raping her. When she tried to leave, she claims Fitzgerald “became enraged, calling [her] profane and racist epithets before violently holding her down and attempting to suffocate her with his other hand.” She eventually escaped “in the dead of night,” according to the suit.
A second woman claims Fitzgerald convinced her to live with him under false promises of a job opportunity. She claims he soon began demanding sexual favors and, when she would not provide them, demanded she pay for other things like gas and lift tickets. One night while on vacation in Mexico, the victim says he violently sexually assaulted her, dislocating her shoulder, tearing her labrum, and causing “severe physical injury to her back and breast tissue.”
The suit was first filed in November 2020, and the victims say Fitzgerald has harassed and intimidated them in the year since. In the preliminary injunction issued last week, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Fitzgerald noted that the developer had allegedly created a YouTube video about several of the plaintiffs, calling them, in turn, an “evil prostitute,” a “serious drug addict,” and a “devil worshiper,” and claiming that their law firm paid them to lie. He also allegedly made paper flyers depicting one victim and accusing her of criminal activity and passed them out around her neighborhood in Cabo. He allegedly approached the family of the same victim and warned them that she should “be careful,” that “Mexico is a dangerous place.”
Issuing the order on Thursday, the judge wrote that the developer’s actions were “particularly troublesome because his attacks are aimed at alleged sex trafficking survivors.”
“Defendant’s public campaign to harass and disparage the reputations of Jane Doe Nos. 4-6 could deter other victims from coming forward,” he wrote, adding later, “The Court will not permit Defendant to continue a public campaign to harass Jane Does and reveal their identities to the general public.”
A lawyer for Fitzgerald said he disagreed with the judge’s decision and would be filing a motion for reconsideration this week. He claimed the victims had no evidence linking Fitzgerald to the YouTube video and that the developer had “nothing to do with the distribution of flyers” and had “never threatened anybody.”
“It’s not as clean or as dastardly as plaintiffs' counsel would like it to be,” attorney Ernest E. Badway told The Daily Beast.
But attorneys for the plaintiffs said they had plenty of evidence filed under seal and had already heard from additional plaintiffs looking to join the suit.
“The most important thing is that their voices are heard, the defendant takes accountability, and that we as a society put a stop to the abuse of women and children at the hands of powerful people,” Gutzler said.