5 Things To Know About The Case Of Amy Fisher, The 'Long Island Lolita'
According to legal documents, Amy Fisher whipped out a .25-caliber handgun, blasted Mary Jo Buttafuoco in the face, and took off.
Amy Fisher. Mary Jo Buttafuoco. Joey Buttafuoco. With a single bang, these three previously unknown suburban Long Island residents became instant tabloid superstars, and the crime that united them exploded into one of the 1990s most sensational true crime stories — so much so that the so-called case of the “Long Island Lolita” continues to fascinate us today.
Below are five facts about Amy Fisher, the troubled teenager who pulled the trigger that started it all.
1. Statutory Rape, A Shot To the Face & The Tell-Tale T-Shirt
According to court records, on May 19, 1992, 17-year-old Amy Fisher rang the front doorbell of a home in Massapequa, New York, to deliver a potentially deadly message.
Thirty-seven-year old housewife Mary Jo Buttafuoco reportedly opened the door. The teenager on the porch allegedly claimed she was having an affair with Mary Jo’s 38-year-old husband, auto repair shop owner Joey Buttauoco. As proof, Fisher presented a T-shirt she claimed Joey had given her. It featured the logo of Joey’s business.
Reportedly, Mary Jo told Fisher to get lost and then turned to call Joey. That’s when, according to legal documents, Fisher whipped out a .25-caliber handgun, blasted Mary Jo in the face, and took off.
Although severely wounded, Mary Jo survived the attack. Following emergency surgery, she was left deaf in one ear and suffered permanent partial facial paralysis.
Joey Buttafuoco told police that Amy Fisher might have been the culprit. After Mary Jo regained consciousness, detectives showed her a photo of Fisher and she identified it, pointing out the T-shirt in the picture from Joey’s auto shop.
Shortly thereafter, police arrested Amy Fisher for attempted murder. Then they picked up Joey Buttafuoco for statutory rape.
Fisher pleaded down to assault that September, got 5-to-15 years, and ended up serving seven. Joey initially denied having sex with Fisher, but after receipts placed them together in a motel, he pleaded guilty to statutory rape and served four months of a six-month sentence. [Newsday]
2. The “Long Island Lolita” Captivates Popular Culture
Understandably, local New York media ran wild with such a tawdry tale set in middle-class suburbia right away.
Circa 1992, though, “scandal” media had become hugely dominant in mainstream culture by way of publications such as the National Enquirer and Star and, on TV, news programs such as A Current Affair and Hard Copy, and daytime talk shows like those hosted by Jenny Jones, Sally Jesse Raphael, and then-newcomer Jerry Springer.
The “Long Island Lolita” story, as the Amy Fisher affair had come to be called, seemed tailor-made for this new media landscape that many observers described as being driven by “dirty” details and shocking sensationalism. Indeed, it became one of the biggest news events of the year, period — especially as the lurid headlines ostensibly just kept on coming.
During Fisher’s court proceedings, prosecutors reportedly painted her as a “beeper-wearing prostitute” with attorney Fred Klein stating that to call her a high school girl was “as accurate as calling John Gotti a businessman in New York.”
Fisher’s lawyer, former vibrating bed salesman Eric Naiburg, reportedly countered that if Fisher was a sex pro, then Joey acted like her pimp. Naiburg also allegedly called him a “Teflon bum,” in reference to Gotti’s being known as “the Teflon don.”
At the time of the pre-trial hearings, A Current Affair broadcast video it claimed depicted Fisher having sex with a man for money. Three days after Fisher finalized her plea bargain, Hard Copy aired video of what it said was Fisher visiting her 30-year-old boyfriend, offering him oral sex, and saying she wanted to keep her name in the press to “make a lot of money.” Naiburg said Fisher overdosed on prescription pills after seeing the report and was rushed to a local hospital. [Rolling Stone]
3. 3 Amy Fisher Made-for-TV Movies, 3 POVs
In fact, the major players in the scandal did find a uniquely 1990s way to capitalize on the crime in short order — by providing two major television networks (CBS and NBC) with what they each needed to create an original movie told from their own point-of-view. ABC promptly responded with a version based on the reporting of New York Post writer Amy Pagnozzi.
NBC aired Amy Fisher: My Story on December 28, 1992. Noelle Parker stars in the title role, and the film is essentially sympathetic to the shooter. Culture critic Dustin Krcatovich wrote that Fisher comes off as “a scared, slightly rebellious kid who just got in over her head.” He adds that, “Joey Buttafuoco (Ed Marinaro) is portrayed, naturally, as a leering and manipulative creep, and the infamous confrontation between Mary Jo (Kathleen Laskey) and Fisher is portrayed as an accident largely resulting from fear.
Just a few days later, ABC and CBS went head-to-head, with each network broadcasting their own Long Island Lolita movie at the same time on the night of January 3, 1993.
In the CBS drama, Casualties of Love: The Long Island Lolita Story, Jack Scalia plays Joey as a bad boy who gets better after rehab; Phyllis Lyons portrays Mary Jo as a pillar of boundless strength; and, really leaning into the notion of “teenage temptress,” sitcom star Alyssa Milano tears their life apart as Amy Fisher. This, of course, was based on what the Buttafuocos reportedly claimed at the time.
The Amy Fisher Story, ABC’s entry, boasted the biggest star power and flirted most dangerously with its own scandal by casting Drew Barrymore in the lead — when she, like Fisher, was still just 17. The film does contain love scenes between Barrymore and actor Anthony Denison as Joey Buttafuoco. Denison was 43 at the time. [Esquire]
4. Amy Fisher: Adult Film Star, Reality TV Regular
Years after the incident that made them all (in)famous, Amy Fisher and the Buttafuocos remained in the public eye, continuing to showcase their stories by way of increasingly nontraditional aspects of show business.
In 2006, Fisher and Mary Jo met face-to-face on the set of Entertainment Tonight for a mutual interview. Later that year, Fisher and Joey handled coin-toss duties at the Lingerie Bowl. At first, reports claimed that some combination of the three figures would participate in a project together, possibly a reality TV show.
In the wake of blockbuster celebrity sex tapes featuring Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton, and Kim Kardashian, Fisher’s husband, Lou Bellera, reportedly sold a homemade sex video of himself with Amy to the video company Red Light District.
Fisher and Bellera were allegedly splitting up at the time and she initially tried to stop the video, but, upon the couple reconciling, she reportedly decided to endorse the tape for what she said was a six-figure payday. Fisher allegedly had high hopes for the release, titled Amy Fisher Caught on Tape, saying, “I always wanted to be number one at something, but I didn’t think it would be something like this.”
This began Fisher’s off-and-on involvement in the adult industry. In 2009, she released a pay-per-view special, Amy Fisher: Nude and Exposed, and reportedly toured the country as a stripper after declaring, “I love to dance and I'm an exhibitionist. I am going to take this road until my fans tell me, 'Dear, please put your clothes back on. You're too old.'"
Coming off the road in 2010, Fisher said she signed with Dreamzone Entertainment to star in and produce eight new adult films. The deal generated two original titles in 2011, Amy Fisher With Love and Deep Inside Amy Fisher before Fisher announced she was through with making X-rated material.
Later that year, Amy Fisher appeared as a cast member on the VH1 reality series Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew and said getting sober made her realize that porn wasn't working for her. [Jezebel]
5. 25 Years After The Shooting, Amy Fisher News Stunned Long Island Again With Reports Of Her “Peep Show Pad”
On May 17, 2017, the New York Post published a profile feature entitled, “Amy Fisher Is Back on Long Island and Ready for a Fresh Start.” In it, Fisher said she had moved back to the New York suburbs after she and her kids were made to feel uncomfortable in Florida, where she had resided for years.
Fisher told the Post, “My aunt was telling me to come back. I was isolated in Florida, away from the people we love. Here I have a big Italian family and they all accept me. We enjoy our pasta and meatballs. My children have cousins they can play with.”
She also added that she would not be participating in any 25th anniversary commemorations of her shooting Mary Jo Buttafuocco, and that she would never be involved again with adult entertainment, stating, “I want a private life. My life has already been ruined.”
Four days later, the Post followed up with a report under the headline, “Amy Fisher Is Hosting Racy Peep Shows Out of Her Family’s Home.”
The story detailed Fisher performing live solo sex shows out of a bedroom in the home where she lived with her mother and her two children, ages eight and 12. The Post further alleged that during a private chat, Fisher denied she was the notorious Long Island Lolita, saying, “I just use the name.” However, the newspaper maintained that the woman online was, indeed, that Amy Fisher.
Finally, on October 23, a Post headline announced, “Amy Fisher Puts Her Long Island Peep Show Pad on the Market.” The home in Bohemia, New York was reportedly listed at $545,000.
In its signature style, the Post added “Interested buyers may have to work around Fisher’s sleazy sex-show schedule, which keeps her busy entertaining lonely, horny guys between 9 a.m. and noon on weekdays — while her kids are at school.” [New York Post]