Vin Diesel, Tommy Lee, Jermaine Jackson and others were hit with sexual abuse lawsuits brought under a California law aimed at accountability.
Each lawsuit was brought under California’s Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act, which won’t expire until Dec. 31, 2026.
The law allows victims to revive claims that would otherwise be barred from the legal process due to the expiration of the statute of limitations.
‘The purpose is to give alleged victims a second bite at the apple, with an opportunity to pursue claims that they were not in a position to pursue or failed to pursue before the legal timeline for doing so expired,’ Ethan Krasnoo, Partner at Reavis Page Jump LLP, explained to Fox News Digital.
‘Sexual assault and abuse are two of the most underreported crimes,’ personal injury lawyer and former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told Fox News Digital. ‘Victims can feel ashamed and may not want to relive their trauma at a very public trial. They may also feel that the public and a jury won’t believe them if it’s a ‘he said, she said’ situation.
‘But the pressure of filing a lawsuit or losing the opportunity altogether can motivate victims to contact a lawyer. And once a perpetrator has been named, that can empower other victims to come forward. That’s what #MeToo was all about.’
Victims remaining silent is ‘not uncommon,’ Krasnoo noted.
‘Some of my clients have taken more than ten years to make a public disclosure of the sexual assault they endured,’ he said. ‘There are many reasons for this, including victims assigning self-blame and embarrassment, victims failing to understand that what they endured is illegal or failing to understand the time limitations on bringing a lawsuit.
‘When the perpetrator is someone the victim trusts, it can especially complicate a victim’s ability to recognize what happened to them as sexual assault. And it can take a lot of courage for a victim to bring an action and publicly disclose the allegations after having suffered trauma as a result of rape or sexual abuse. Some may not be ready to do so for quite some time, if ever.
Vin Diesel was sued for sexual battery Dec. 21 by his former assistant, according to a complaint obtained by Fox News Digital.
Asta Jonasson accused the actor of assaulting her while working on the ‘Fast Five’ film. She claimed Diesel hired her in 2010, and her first assignment was organizing parties and catering for Diesel during filming.
Diesel allegedly assaulted Jonasson one night while she was trying to keep people from photographing the actor hanging out with multiple women in the suite of his hotel.
‘Vin Diesel forcibly grabbed Ms. Jonasson, groped her breasts, and kissed her’ after the last woman left the suite, the lawsuit claimed.
At one point, Jonasson alleged, Diesel ‘pinned her against the wall with his body and grabbed Ms. Jonasson’s hand and placed it on his erect penis. Disgusted by being forced to touch his penis, Ms. Jonasson instantaneously withdrew her hand and again verbally refused him.’
She alleged Diesel ‘ignored Ms. Jonasson’s pleas’ and then ‘began to masturbate’ while keeping her pinned to the wall.
Jonasson claimed Samantha Vincent, president of One Race and Vin Diesel’s sister, called her hours after the alleged assault and fired her.
A representative for Diesel denied the claim.
‘Let me be very clear, Vin Diesel categorically denies this claim in its entirety,’ the rep said. ‘This is the first he has ever heard about this more than 13-year-old claim made by a purportedly nine-day employee. There is clear evidence which completely refutes these outlandish allegations.’
Tommy Lee was sued for gender violence and sexual assault Dec. 15 by a woman who chose to remain anonymous, according to court documents obtained by Fox News Digital.
Jane Doe claimed to be ‘lured under false pretenses’ to take a helicopter ride by the drummer’s personal pilot, David Martz. The woman alleged she only found out Lee would be a passenger ‘moments before the ride.’
Martz requested Jane Doe sit in the cockpit with Lee, but she says she declined because there was ‘no room for her’ to sit in the cockpit. However, Lee insisted she join him by sitting on his lap so she would ‘not miss the view,’ the complaint stated. ‘Plaintiff felt immense pressure from both Martz and Lee to come to the cockpit, so she acquiesced.’
The suit stated Lee began ‘groping and kissing Plaintiff.’ She attempted to pull away from Lee, but ‘he only became more forceful.’ At one point, she claims, Lee attempted to ‘force her to perform oral copulation.’
The woman claimed to have felt ‘trapped’ as Martz allegedly did ‘nothing.’ Once the helicopter landed at Van Nuys Airport, Lee ‘hugged Plaintiff and jumped out of the helicopter. Plaintiff and Martz then traveled back to the Airfield, in silence.’
Fox News Digital has reached out to Lee’s representative for comment.
Michael Jackson’s brother, Jermaine Jackson, was hit with a lawsuit Dec. 28. Rita Barrett accused Jackson of sexual assault and Motown Records founder Berry Gordy of covering up the alleged assault in documents obtained by Fox News Digital.
In Spring 1988, ‘Defendant Jackson forced himself into Plaintiff’s home, and with force and violence sexually assaulted Plaintiff,’ the lawsuit states. Barrett claimed that, during the assault, she ‘prayed to God for help.’ Barrett ‘feared for her life,’ and ‘when Defendant Jackson was satiated, he left the residence.’
Barrett claimed she knew Gordy through her husband, Ben Barrett. Ben and Gordy had a professional relationship while the music executive was working with Jackson.
‘Because of his relationships with both Defendant Jackson and Plaintiff’s family, Mr. Gordy was uniquely situated to both report Defendant Jackson’s acts and to aid Plaintiff during her time of trauma,’ the suit stated. ‘Instead, Mr. Gordy withheld and concealed the acts, further perpetuating the cover-up and allowing Mr. Gordy, Defendant Jackson, and others in the business relationship to continue to reap profits derived from Mr. Jackson’s work and reputation for years to come.’
Fox News Digital has reached out to a representative for Jackson.
‘American Idol’ producer Nigel Lythgoe was sued by Paula Abdul Dec. 29. Abdul accused Lythgoe of sexually assaulting her twice while she was judging on the show in a lawsuit obtained by Fox News Digital.
Abdul claimed Lythgoe first sexually assaulted her in an elevator during an early season of ‘American Idol.’
‘Lythgoe shoved Abdul against the wall, then grabbed her genitals and breasts, and began shoving his tongue down her throat,’ the court documents stated.
‘Abdul attempted to push Lythgoe away from her. When the doors to the elevator for her door opened, Abdul ran out of the elevator and to her hotel room. Abdul quickly called one of her representatives in tears to inform them of the assault.’
The second assault allegedly occurred while Abdul was judging Lythgoe’s other show, ‘So You Think You Can Dance.’ According to Abdul, Lythgoe forced himself on her after the two shared dinner at his home. Abdul said she attended the dinner because she believed Lythgoe had extended her a ‘professional invitation.’
Lythgoe denied the accusations, telling Fox News Digital, ‘To say that I am shocked and saddened by the allegations made against me by Paula Abdul is a wild understatement. For more than two decades, Paula and I have interacted as dear – and entirely platonic – friends and colleagues.
‘Yesterday, however, out of the blue, I learned of these claims in the press, and I want to be clear: Not only are they false, they are deeply offensive to me and to everything I stand for. While Paula’s history of erratic behavior is well known, I can’t pretend to understand exactly why she would file a lawsuit that she must know is untrue. But I can promise that I will fight this appalling smear with everything I have.’
Fox News Digital’s Tracy Wright contributed to this report.