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Vin Diesel accused of sexual battery by former assistant in lawsuit

Vin Diesel

Vin Diesel© AP

Fast And Furious star Vin Diesel has been accused by his former assistant of sexual battery while working for him in 2010.

Astra Jonasson filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles on Thursday alleging that Diesel forced himself onto her in a hotel suite in Atlanta.

The lawsuit alleges she tried to escape from the room after being forced into Diesel's bed, but the actor moved toward her then groped her breasts and kissed her chest.

Diesel attempted to pull down her underwear, causing her to scream as she ran toward the nearby bathroom. He went on to perform a sex act on himself, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit said Ms Jonasson closed her eyes in fear of angering Diesel any further and wished the assault would end.

Ms Jonasson was fired hours later by Diesel's sister Samantha Vincent, who is also the president of his One Race Productions.

The lawsuit stated that Ms Jonasson felt like she was a "piece of trash" and her self-esteem was "demolished".

"It was clear to her that she was being fired because she was no longer useful - Vin Diesel had used her to fulfil his sexual desires and she had resisted his sexual assaults," the suit alleges.

Ms Jonasson is suing Diesel and his company for creating a hostile work environment, negligent supervision and wrongful termination, among her other claims

.

Ms Jonasson's attorney, Claire-Lise Kutlay, said in a statement that her client's lawsuit seeks to hold Diesel and those who "allowed and covered up his sexual assault, accountable for their egregious actions".

"Employers must protect and defend people when they speak up about sexual assault and harassment," Ms Kutlay said. "We hope Ms Jonasson's courageous decision to come forward helps create lasting change and empowers other survivors."

A lawyer for Diesel said his client "denies this claim in its entirety".

Bryan Freedman said in a statement to CNN: "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 9 day employee."

Diesel has starred as Dominic Toretto since the The Fast And Furious franchise's inaugural film in 2001.

The movies have become big earners at the domestic and international box office, with the past two films each making more than one billion dollars.

Earlier this year, the franchise's 10th instalment, Fast X, starring Diesel, opened with 67.5 million dollars in ticket sales.

Story by Michael Howie: Evening Standard: 

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