Vin Diesel is denying claims made by his former assistant in a lawsuit against him claiming sexual battery.
The complaint, filed in Los Angeles this week and obtained by What’s Trending, alleges that in 2010 at the Atlanta St Regis Hotel, the the Fast & Furious actor-producer assaulted plaintiff Asta Jonasson, groping her and masturbating while pinning her down.
Bryan Freedman, a lawyer for Diesel, 56, told Variety in a statement Thursday, “Let me be very clear: Vin Diesel categorically denies this claim in its entirety.”
“This is the first he has ever heard about this more than 13-year-old claim made by a purportedly nine-day employee. There is clear evidence which completely refutes these outlandish allegations,” Freedman added.
The lawsuit claims sexual battery, discrimination on the basis of sex/gender, intentional infliction of emotional distress, hostile work environment, wrongful termination and retaliation.
Those named in the suit are Vin Diesel, his sister Samantha Vincent and their production company One Race Films.
The suit claims that hours after the alleged incident in Diesel’s hotel suite, in which the plaintiff “continually pleaded with him to stop,” Vincent terminated Jonasson’s employment with the production company. It also details another inappropriate incident in Atlanta allegedly involving a One Race supervisor summoning Jonasson to his hotel room and inviting her into bed.
Following her employment of less than two weeks with One Race, Jonasson’s “esteem was demolished, and she questioned her own skills and wheth
er a successful career would require her to trade her body for advancement,” according to the lawsuit. “Ms. Jonasson felt like she was a piece of trash to be discarded.”
Jonasson, who signed a nondisclosure agreement at the time, was able to file the claims due to the Speak Out Act, which prevents the enforcement of nondisclosure agreements in sexual assault and harassment cases. California’s AB2777 also temporarily waives statutes of limitations for sexual abuse allegations that occurred in 2009 or later.
“Empowered by the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements,” reads the lawsuit, “Jonasson is unwilling to remain silent any longer and seeks to reclaim her agency and justice for the suffering she endured at the hands of Vin Diesel and One Race.”
“Appalled, Ms. Jonasson immediately exited the room and the hotel,” the suit states.
Vanity Fair was first to break the lawsuit.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.