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Vin Diesel faces 2010 sex assault claim by former assistant

Update : 22 Dec 2023, 13:46

Action star Vin Diesel has been accused of sexually assaulting his assistant in an Atlanta hotel room over a decade ago, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.

The suit is the latest claim to be lodged with courts in California, which has extended the length of time in which legal action can be taken in cases of alleged sexual crimes.

Asta Jonasson said her first assignment after being hired by the "Fast and Furious" star's company was to travel to Atlanta in September 2010 during the filming of "Fast Five."

There, she was tasked with helping Diesel leave a hotel in the early morning hours after entertaining multiple women in a suite, before paparazzi were alerted to his whereabouts.

"Alone in the hotel suite with him, Vin Diesel sexually assaulted Ms Jonasson. Vin Diesel forcibly grabbed Ms Jonasson, groped her breasts, and kissed her. Ms Jonasson struggled continually to break free of his grasp, while repeatedly saying no.

"Vin Diesel then escalated his assault," the suit said, with the actor trying to pull down his assistant's underwear. The suit stated that Jonasson fled to a bathroom, where Diesel pursued her, and forced her to touch him. He then pinned her against a wall and masturbated.

The following day, Samantha Vincent, the actor's sister and president of One Race, the entertainment company that employed Jonasson, allegedly called and fired her.
 
"The message was clear. Ms Jonasson was fired for courageously resisting Vin Diesel's sexual assault, Vin Diesel would be protected, and his sexual assault covered up," the suit said.
 
The civil suit seeks unspecified damages against Diesel, Vincent and their companies. Diesel's lawyer Bryan Freedman said his client "categorically denies this claim in its entirety" and that there is evidence which "completely refutes" the allegations, according to a statement published by Variety.

Representatives for Diesel did not immediately respond to AFP requests for comment. Jonasson has waived the right to anonymity customarily granted to victims of alleged sex abuse.
 
The global #MeToo movement has seen powerful men in the world of entertainment punished for their abusive and predatory behavior, starting with bombshell allegations against industry titan Harvey Weinstein in 2017 that led to his imprisonment on multiple sex assault convictions.

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