A new lawsuit against Vin Diesel and his production company alleges sexual battery, wrongful termination and more
Jack Smart is the Movies Staff Writer at PEOPLE. With 10 years of experience as an entertainment journalist, he previously worked at The A.V. Club and Backstage.
Vin Diesel’s former assistant filed a lawsuit against him alleging sexual battery.
The complaint, filed in Los Angeles by plaintiff Asta Jonasson on Thursday and obtained by PEOPLE, claims that in 2010 at Atlanta’s St. Regis hotel the Fast & Furious actor-producer forcibly pulled Jonasson onto a bed, groped her breasts and legs and masturbated. Vanity Fair was first to report the lawsuit.
Reps for Diesel, whose legal name is Mark Sinclair Vincent, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
According to the court document, Jonasson was hired by Diesel’s production company, One Race Films, to assist the star on location in Atlanta, where his team was filming 2011’s Fast Five. It further states that hours after the alleged incident, Jonasson’s employment was terminated by Samantha Vincent, Diesel’s sister and the president of One Race.
“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 claims. “Ms. Jonasson felt like she was a piece of trash to be discarded.”
The alleged incident began when Jonasson was left alone on a September 2010 night with the Guardians of the Galaxy star, who “grabbed Ms. Jonasson’s wrists, one with each of his hands, and pulled her onto the bed” of his hotel suite.
The lawsuit further alleges she then went to the suite’s front door, where the actor pulled her “dress up toward her waist, and molested her body, running his hands over Ms. Jonasson’s upper legs, including her inner thighs.” The assistant then fled toward the bathroom, where Diesel allegedly pinned her to the wall and masturbated as she verbally refused, the document claimed.
“Terrified, Ms. Jonasson closed her eyes, trying to dissociate from the sexual assault and avoid angering him,” the filing claims.
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Jonasson’s lawsuit — which, in addition to sexual battery, claims discrimination on the basis of sex/gender, intentional infliction of emotional distress, hostile work environment, wrongful termination, and retaliation — also implicates One Race, which Diesel and his sister founded in 1995.
The suit alleges another inappropriate incident in Atlanta involving a One Race supervisor summoning Jonasson to his own hotel room and inviting her into bed.
It further claims Jonasson signed a nondisclosure agreement when she took the One Race position, which lasted less than two weeks. Her job reportedly involved “organizing parties and catering to Vin Diesel’s demands, including staying in close physical proximity to Vin Diesel when he was at parties without his longtime girlfriend with whom he had children because, as he explained, it would provide him with cover if he was photographed with another woman,” it reads.
One Race Films did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment Thursday.
The plaintiff 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, and California’s AB2777, which temporarily waives statutes of limitations for sexual abuse allegations that occurred in 2009 or later.
The documents also specify that Jonasson was inspired to “reclaim her agency and justice for the suffering she endured at the hands of Vin Diesel and One Race” thanks in part to Hollywood’s #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.