(Photo by Massimo Insabato/Archivio Massimo Insabato/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
(Photo by Massimo Insabato/Archivio Massimo Insabato/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

Vin Diesel Issues Statement, ‘Categorically Denies’ Sexual Battery Allegation

A day after a lawsuit was filed against him, actor Vin Diesel has responded to claims that he sexually assaulted a former assistant, denying the claims. Bryan Freedman, Diesel’s attorney, issued a statement Thursday afternoon (via Variety), denying the allegations in straightforward terms.

“Let me be very clear: Vin Diesel categorically denies this claim in its entirety,” Freedman said. “This is the first he has ever heard about this more than 13-year-old claim made by a purportedly 9-day employee. There is clear evidence which completely refutes these outlandish allegations.”

What was Vin Diesel accused of?

On Thursday, Asta Jonasson, a woman who says she worked for Diesel briefly as his assistant more than 10 years ago, claimed that Diesel sexually assaulted her in a hotel room following a night out partying.

The lawsuit claims that, once entering Diesel’s room, Jonasson was grabbed by Diesel and pulled onto his bed. Diesel then allegedly “entrapped Ms. Jonasson in a bear hug as she immediately tried to escape his grasp and get off the bed.” After getting up, Diesel followed her and told her not to leave the room, and then once again “forcibly hugged her.”

“Vin Diesel proceeded to grope Ms. Jonasson’s body, including her breasts, and forcibly kissed Ms. Jonasson, who continually pleaded with him to stop,” according to the suit. “Vin Diesel ignored her pleas and started to kiss Ms. Jonasson’s chest and collarbone.”

Jonasson also claims that after resisting Diesel’s advances, his production company One Race Productions fired her the next day.

Jonasson’s lawsuit also accuses Diesel of sexual battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. As for why she’s coming forward now, the suit notes that the “#MeToo” movement and California’s AB2777 act, which allows sexual misconduct claims to be filed regardless of statute of limitations, were factors.

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