Vin Diesel has been accused of sexual battery by a former assistant who claims she was subsequently fired by his production company after the alleged incident.
Asta Jonasson, who briefly worked for the actor while he was filming Fast Five in the fall of 2010, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles accusing Diesel – real name Mark Sinclair – of sexual battery on Thursday (21 December).
According to legal documents obtained by Vanity Fair, Jonasson was a recent Los Angeles film school graduate at the time when she was hired by Diesel’s company, One Race, to work for the actor on location in Atlanta, where the street racing movie was filming.
Late one night in September 2010, Jonasson was asked to wait for Diesel in his St Regis hotel suite while he entertained nightclub hostesses he had invited back, the suit states.
Once the women left, the suit alleges that Diesel “grabbed Ms Jonasson’s wrists, one with each of his hands, and pulled her onto the bed”. After asking him to stop and escaping his grasp, Jonasson waited by the door of his suite for him to leave.
Diesel, instead, approached Jonasson and groped her breasts and kissed her chest, ignoring her pleas for him to stop, the suit says. “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,” it adds. “But this hope died when Vin Diesel dropped to his knees, pushed Ms Jonasson’s dress up toward her waist, and molested her body, running his hands over Ms Jonasson’s upper legs, including her inner thighs.”
The lawsuit further states that once Diesel tried to pull her down her underwear, Jonasson ran screaming towards the bathroom, where Diesel then allegedly pinned her against the wall, dismissing her verbal refusal as he placed her hand on his erect penis. He proceeded to masturbate while “terrified, Ms Jonasson closed her eyes, trying to dissociate from the sexual assault and avoid angering him”, the legal document claims.
Shortly after the alleged incident, Diesel’s sister and president of One Race, Samantha Vincent, called Jonasson to terminate her employment. “It was clear to her that she was being fired because she was no longer useful – Vin Diesel had used her to fulfill his sexual desires and she had resisted his sexual assaults,” the lawsuit says.
In addition to sexual battery, Jonasson is suing for intentional infliction of emotional distress, wrongful termination, hostile work environment, and retaliation, among other things.
The suit says that Jonasson remained silent in the ensuing years after having signed a nondisclosure agreement when she was hired by One Race. However, with the passing of last year’s congressional Speak Out Act, which prevents the enforcement of non-disclosure agreements in instances of sexual assault and harassment, Jonasson was able to file her lawsuit and “reclaim her agency and justice for the suffering she endured at the hands of Vin Diesel and One Race”.
The Independent has contacted Diesel’s lawyer and One Race for comment.