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Lawsuit alleges Vin Diesel sexually assaulted his assistant in 2010

The plaintiff is suing Diesel and his production company over allegations including sexual battery, hostile work environment, wrongful termination and failure to prevent discrimination.
/ Source: NBC News

A former assistant accuses actor Vin Diesel of sexually assaulting her in an Atlanta hotel in 2010, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday, Dec. 21.

Asta Jonasson filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Diesel and one of his production companies, One Race Productions Inc. It also names One Race Films Inc. and Diesel’s sister, who is the president of One Race.

The suit alleges violations including a hostile work environment, retaliation, failure to prevent discrimination, wrongful termination and sexual battery.

Diesel’s attorney, Bryan Freedman, said in a statement Thursday that 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 9-day employee,” Freedman said. “There is clear evidence which completely refutes these outlandish allegations.”

One Race Films did not immediately respond to a request for comment left by voicemail and on Facebook, as well as a request for comment from Diesel’s sister sent through Facebook.

The lawsuit describes Jonasson as a dedicated TV and film professional who had worked in the film industry for a decade when One Race hired her in September 2010 to work directly for Diesel. Her job duties, however, included organizing parties and staying close to Diesel while he was at parties and without his longtime girlfriend, with whom he has children, according to the lawsuit.

“As he explained, it would provide him with cover if he was photographed with another woman,” it says.

"Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3" European Gala Event At Disneyland Paris
Vin Diesel attends the "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" European gala event at the Avengers Campus at Disneyland Paris on April 22, 2023 in Paris.Julien Hekimian / Getty Images

The suit alleges that in September 2010, Diesel went to his hotel suite after drinking at a club and was joined by several of the hostesses, a security guard and Jonasson, who had not been drinking.

Jonasson later went into the bedroom where Diesel was to tell him that his security said it was time to leave the hotel, and Diesel allegedly grabbed her wrists and pulled her onto the bed, the suit says.

Jonasson managed to leave the room and stood by the door of the suite, according to the suit, which alleges that Diesel later came out of the bedroom and forcibly hugged and kissed Jonasson and groped her breasts while she pleaded with him to stop.

The suit also alleges that Diesel tried to pull Jonasson’s underwear down, made her grab his penis and started to masturbate.

“Ms. Jonasson was afraid to more forcibly refuse her supervisor, knowing that getting him out of that room was both crucial to her personal safety and job security,” the suit says.

Hours later, Diesel’s sister fired Jonasson, the suit says.

Claire-Lise Y. Kutlay, an attorney for Jonasson, said in a statement: “What happened to Ms. Jonasson is alarming and disgusting. The film industry has allowed decades of sexual harassment and sexual assaults by powerful people to go unchecked. It is our hope that this lawsuit promotes change in the industry, and prevents future bad behavior from occurring.”

According to the suit, Jonasson was required to sign a nondisclosure agreement preventing her from discussing anything about Diesel. The lawsuit says Jonasson was empowered by the Me Too movement to speak up and is protected by the Speak Out Act, which protects victims of sexual assault even if they have signed NDAs.

The alleged physical attack was not the only time Jonasson was sexualized while she worked for Diesel, the suit says.

A few days before the alleged assault, another supervisor at One Race summoned her to a bedroom at the Atlanta hotel, took his shirt off and asked her to join him on the bed, the lawsuit says.

“Appalled, Ms. Jonasson immediately exited the room and the hotel,” it says.

Jonasson is seeking a jury trial and damages.

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