Why The Mob Went After Steven Seagal (In Real Life)
Steven Seagal was once among the biggest action stars in the world. Now, though, he’s among the biggest caricatures in the world, thanks to his many ill advised antics. For instance, he was a historically awful Saturday Night Live host, often ranked as the worst host ever.
He made horrible movie after horrible movie. After making a flippant challenge, he was once allegedly choked out by martial arts master Gene LeBell so hard that Seagal soiled himself. Sylvester Stallone claimed that Seagal once fled in terror after Jean-Claude Van Damme challenged him to a fight.
And that’s not even mentioning the truly gross behavior, such as his support of oppressive dictatorships, and the numerous people who have accused him of sexual assault and rape.
But even Seagal can’t get away with this kind of behaviour forever, which is how Steven Seagal got targeted by the mob.
It sounds like something out of one of his movies, but according to the New York Times, Seagal and his producer Julius R. Nasso got involved in an acrimonious legal dispute over a reported half a million dollars Seagal owed his business partner. Things escalated from there, and Nasso finally brought in the big guns – literally, as he asked the Gambino family to shake down Seagal, old school style.
Things reportedly came to a head when mafia types ordered Seagal to step into a car, and drove him to a Brooklyn restaurant, where an alleged Gambino captain called Anthony Ciccone had a little talk with him, ordering the movie star to resume his working relationship with Nasso – and to pay a cool $150,000 for every film he’d made with the producer. Seagal says that after Nasso and the mob paid him another visit in his L.A. home, he ended up paying $700,000.
If you wonder why Seagal didn’t simply glare at his tormentors and throw the entire concept of organized crime through a window like he does in his movies … well, these guys weren’t acting. In fact, Seagal claims that after he left the restaurant meeting, one of Ciccone’s men told him:
“If you would have said the wrong thing, they would have killed you.”
This all came to light when Seagal was called to witness by the authorities in a 2003 racketeering trial of several notable gangsters. Seagal was called in precisely because of his history with Ciccone, and his testimonial revealed the gravity of the situation.
Seagal also stated that he hadn’t contacted the authorities in his struggle with the mob because he feared what might happen to his life or career. He said,
“I’m a movie star. If you want to keep making movies, you don’t want to start a war with these people.”
The time the mob went after Steven Seagal was actually just one short part of the actor’s copious misadventures with Julius R. Nasso. According to the Los Angeles Times, in 2002 Nasso slapped Seagal with a whopping $60-million lawsuit, alleging that the actor had walked back on an agreement to work together on four more movies. In 2003, the producer was arrested and pled guilty on charges of conspiring to extort the martial arts star, and received a one-year prison sentence. However, their legal battle raged on until 2008, when they ultimately settled out of court.