Vin Diesel ‘categorically denies’ claims of sexual battery against former assistant

Vin Diesel wears dark sunglasses and a black formal shirt and poses with a straight face against a dark background
A former assistant for Vin Diesel sued the “Fast & Furious” star for alleged sexual battery in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles.
(Richard Shotwell / Invision / Associated Press)

This story contains graphic details of physical and sexual abuse.

“Fast & Furious” star Vin Diesel is denying allegations of sexual battery and sexual assault made against him in a lawsuit filed by a woman who says she was his assistant in 2010.

In a Thursday statement to The Times, the actor’s attorney, Bryan Freedman, said: “Vin 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 nine-day employee,” Freedman continued. “There is clear evidence which completely refutes these outlandish allegations.”

The allegations against the 56-year-old actor came down in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday by accuser Asta Jonasson. In her complaint, Jonasson alleged that in fall 2010, Diesel (whose birth name is Mark Sinclair) groped her, pinned her to a wall and put her hand on his genitals without her consent. The lawsuit, first reported by Vanity Fair, also accuses the actor’s One Race production company of discrimination on the basis of sex/gender, wrongful termination and retaliation, among other allegations.

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In a phone call with The Times on Thursday, Jonasson’s attorney, Claire-Lise Y. Kutlay, commended her client for taking the “very courageous step to speak out” against the actor and for seeking accountability from One Race. The video production company could not be reached for comment.

The lawsuit, obtained and reviewed by The Times, describes Jonasson as a “dedicated TV and film professional” who was hired at One Race in 2010 to work directly under Diesel as his assistant. She traveled to Atlanta, where Diesel and his team were filming “Fast Five,” the fifth installment of his popular “Fast & Furious” franchise. According to the complaint, Jonasson’s duties included “staying in close physical proximity to Vin Diesel when he was at parties without his longtime girlfriend ...[because] it provided him cover if he was photographed with another woman.”

Jonasson alleges that one night in September 2010, Diesel was hosting and entertaining multiple women in his luxury St. Regis hotel suite and she was tasked with ushering the actor out of the hotel after the other women left in the early morning. Then, “alone in the hotel suite with him, Vin Diesel sexually assaults Ms. Jonasson,” the lawsuit said.

The actor allegedly grabbed his assistant, groped her breasts and kissed her. Jonasson said she struggled to escape Diesel’s grasp and that he abused “his position of authority as her employer.” The lawsuit claims that Diesel, who allegedly ignored Jonasson’s refusals, continued groping her body and dropped to his knees before pushing up her dress, groping her legs and attempting to pull down her underwear.


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Jonasson “screamed and ran towards the nearby bathroom,” and the actor allegedly followed her. The complaint accuses Diesel of pinning his assistant “against the wall with his body” and grabbing her hand to put it on his penis. Jonasson said she withdrew her hand and “verbally refused” his actions — but that Diesel ignored her pleas and “began to masturbate.” The complaint said the alleged assault left Jonasson “frozen in a state of shock and unable to move.”

According to Jonasson, Diesel left the hotel suite but returned briefly and asked for his phone. After she told the actor it was in his pocket, Diesel allegedly told Jonasson, “Good job,” and left the room. Hours after the alleged assault, Jonasson said, the actor’s sister Samantha Vincent — who is the president of One Race — called her and terminated her employment.

“It was clear to her that that she was being fired because she was no longer useful — Vin Diesel had used her to fulfill his sexual desires,” the complaint said before accusing One Race of engaging in an attempted cover-up.

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Jonasson, who signed a nondisclosure agreement covering her time working on the film, also detailed another alleged incident in which an unidentified supervisor instructed her to follow him to his hotel room, where he took off his shirt and told Jonasson to get in bed with him. She said she left the room after that encounter.

She remained “afraid to speak out against one of the world’s highest-grossing actors” for years after the alleged incident, the lawsuit said. Jonasson — empowered by the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements and feeling protected by the federal Speak Out Act regarding NDAs — said she is “unwilling to remain silent” and is seeking accountability.

Jonasson, who demanded a trial by jury, is seeking an undisclosed amount for damages including lost earnings, emotional distress and legal fees.