WARNING: This article contains graphic content and may affect those who have experienced sexual violence or know someone affected by it.
A former assistant to the actor Vin Diesel filed a lawsuit against him on Thursday alleging that he sexually battered her in 2010 and that she was fired from her job just hours later.
In the lawsuit, filed in a Los Angeles court, the former assistant Asta Jonasson alleges that Diesel assaulted her in an Atlanta hotel room while the pair were working on the movie Fast Five.
Vin Diesel denied the allegations through his lawyer in a statement reported by trade outlet Variety on Thursday. CBC News has reached out to Diesel’s legal representatives.
“Let me be very clear: Vin Diesel categorically denies this claim in its entirety,” attorney Bryan Freedman said. “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.”
“Sexual harassment in the workplace will never stop if powerful men are protected from accountability,” Jonasson’s lawyer Claire-Lise Kutlay said in a written statement. “We hope her courageous decision to come forward helps create lasting change and empowers other survivors.”
Jonasson’s accusations have not been tested in court.
Lawsuit alleges Diesel pinned Jonasson to wall
In her lawsuit, Jonasson alleges that Diesel forcibly groped her breasts and kissed her after he had spent a night entertaining multiple women in his hotel suite.
“Vin Diesel ignored Ms. Jonasson’s clear statements of non-consent to his sexual assaults,” the lawsuit reads.
At that point, the lawsuit alleges Diesel forced Jonasson to grab his erect penis, she yelled for him to stop, then he pinned her against a wall and masturbated, only letting her free when he was done. He then left the hotel room.
A few hours later, the lawsuit alleges, Jonasson was fired from her job as assistant to Diesel.
The lawsuit said Jonasson remained silent for years “afraid to speak out against one of the world’s highest-grossing actors, afraid she would be ostracized from the industry.”
Jonasson is one of many women to accuse prominent entertainment industry figures of sexual misconduct since the #MeToo movement began in 2017, in the aftermath of accusations against now-imprisoned movie producer Harvey Weinstein.
For anyone who has been sexually assaulted, there is support available through crisis lines and local support services via this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. If you’re in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.
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