Vin Diesel accused of sexual battery by former assistant in lawsuit
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.
Joshua storms to victory - as rival Wilder dominated in surprise defeat
Anthony Joshua impressed with a crushing victory, while rival Deontay Wilder slumped to a surprise defeat on the same night in a heavyweight doubleheader in Saudi Arabia.
Joshua, 34 - who was considered the favourite ahead of the fight - delivered one of his best performances in recent memory to make it three wins from three this year, beating his opponent in five rounds..
Meanwhile Wilder, 38 - who has claimed 42 of his 43 career wins by knockout and is viewed as one of the hardest hitters in boxing history - was dominated by underdog Joseph Parker, from New Zealand.
Saturday's doubleheader was expected to set up a bout between Wilder and Joshua in March, and the Brit maintained a fight is still possible despite the Bronze Bomber's surprising loss.
"If he wants, he can come back and fight another day," he said, adding he could "rip him apart right now". "It is up to him and I am sure everybody still wants to see that fight."
Joshua, having beaten Jermaine Franklin Jr by unanimous decision in April before a seventh-round stoppage against Robert Helenius in August, cruised to a 27th career victory.
He came flying out of the blocks in Riyadh and inflicted damage on Wallin as early as the second round.
By the fifth, Joshua was throwing menacing punches with Wallin offering little in return, with the Swede's corner calling time on the fight at the end of the round.
Wilder's fight was similarly one-sided, but the much-fancied Wilder was on the receiving end of a well-executed game plan from Parker, who told Sky News he'd been training with Tyson Fury - the only man to have beaten Wilder before Saturday.
Parker was comfortably ahead on the scorecard heading into the eighth round, when he threw an overhand right and a flurry of punches as Wilder held on.
The New Zealander remained composed in the 10th and 11th, before a desperate Wilder came out swinging in the final round looking for a knockout blow.
But Parker never looked in danger of losing against the former WBC champion as he sealed a huge upset - with the judges scoring 118-111, 118-110, 120-108 in the 31-year-old's favour.
"My timing was off a little bit," Wilder said. "He did a great job of avoiding a lot of my punches. I did feel like I had the upper hand, but things happen. We move on to the next step."
Reference: Sky News:
Russell Brand questioned for second time over allegations of sexual offences
Russell Brand has been questioned for a second time by detectives investigating allegations of sexual offences.
The comedian, 48, was interviewed under caution last week over six allegations, following questioning in November over three other claims.
The Metropolitan Police did not identify Brand, but said in a statement: “A man in his 40s attended a police station in South London for a second time on Thursday December 14.
“He was interviewed under caution by detectives in relation to a further six, non-recent, sexual offences.”
In September, the 48-year-old comedian was accused of rape, assault and emotional abuse between 2006 and 2013, following a joint investigation by The Sunday Times, The Times and Channel 4 Dispatches.
Brand has strongly denied the claims.
The allegations are said to have taken place during the height of Brand’s fame when he was working for the BBC, Channel 4 and starring in Hollywood films.
He denies the claims, which include allegations of controlling, abusive and predatory behaviour.
ï»¿Last month, Channel 4 boss Alex Mahon said its internal investigation into the allegations raised against its former presenter was weeks away from being completed.
The claims span between 2006 and 2013, when he was working for Channel 4 on Big Brother spin-off shows Efourum and Big Brother’s Big Mouth as well as on BBC programmes and starring in Hollywood films.
The BBC has also launched a review into the behaviour of Brand, who worked on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 6 Music programmes from 2006 to 2008.
Ja Morant lawsuit provides glimpse into his youth, family and a contentious pickup game
During a check-ball sequence to start a game, Joshua Holloway hurled a hard pass from in close that hit Morant in the face, leading Morant to punch the 17-year-old in the chin. Morant's childhood friend Davonte Pack then punched him again, knocking him to the ground, witnesses said. As Holloway was being escorted away, he said he was going to “light up” the place like “fireworks,” according to people who were there.
On Wednesday, lawyers for Morant, 24, and Holloway, now 18, will return to court for a pretrial hearing in a lawsuit the teen filed against the mercurial player. Morant, who was not charged in the Holloway incident, is set to return Tuesday from a 25-game suspension that was levied against him last summer after he flashed a gun in two livestreamed videos. Pack, who was charged with misdemeanor assault before the charge was dropped, is also a defendant in the lawsuit, which seeks damages.
The civil case has provided an intimate look at Morant’s life growing up in a small South Carolina town and the relationships he has built in his five years in Memphis, where he's toed the line between local hero and heavily scrutinized public figure. Court proceedings also have featured re-enactments by lawyers and witnesses of the confrontation, including basketball passes and simulated punches between Morant and Holloway's lawyer.
Rangers hero Connor Goldson 'feared he might die' before open-heart surgery to save his life
Rangers star Connor Goldson has revealed he feared he might die after being diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition at the age of 24.
The defender was told he had an aortic aneurysm – a swelling of the large artery which passes through the abdomen which was at risk of bursting – in February 2017. A month later he had surgery - and at that moment it was not only his career on the line, but his life too.
The trauma of his diagnosis reduced him to tears - but now, six years on, the Ibrox star is fit and healthy after getting the all-clear in several annual check ups since.
He said: I don’t see it anymore, it’s just part of me, part of my body. It looks nice. I like it because it shows what I’ve been through. The only thing, obviously, with a scar, is when you are in the showers here people ask questions. I don’t mind talking about it now.
“Truthfully, I’ve never really spoken about it openly because it was a difficult time, but I also felt fortunate that I was able to continue playing, so I’ve never really wanted sympathy.
“When new players see the scar on my chest there’s always a big reaction straight away. I was so fortunate; I was out for like 3 to 4 months and have never had a problem since.
“I see people in football who have knee operations or ankle operations, or broken legs, that are out for a lot longer. Of course, when you do your knee it’s not life threatening, the risk of mine, well I was obviously going to die."
A routine cardiac screening showed Goldson had an enlarged aorta heart valve, which could have proved fatal if left untreated. Specialists consider surgery when the aorta route is 50mm diameter and Goldson's was at 49mm in his first scan and at 50mm during the second.
He said: “Basically, if I wanted play football, I had to have it done, there was no ifs or buts. I could have stopped playing right then, and it was my decision, but if I wanted to continue playing, I had to get it done.
"Nothing else mattered and all I really cared about was whether I could play football again. The surgeon said they had to fit a stent because it could have popped at any point.”
Just four months after his surgery, Goldson was back playing football and he joined Brighton's pre-season camp in July. The defender has since won the Premiership, Scottish Cup and League Cup with Rangers and was key in their Europa League run to the final in Seville in the 2021/22 season.
During his chat, he got out his mobile phone and showed everyone a graphic picture of his heart in his wide-open chest during the surgery six years ago. Goldson has been left with a large scar on his chest but he has embraced his wound by getting a tattoo written across it with the message 'Chase Your Dreams'.
The now 31-year-old has been able to channel his horrendous ordeal into something positive and he's now made it his mission to spread awareness through his own personal story.
But while Goldson says he still loves the game, his main focus is now on his family. He added: "I got married and now I have two children, and they are the highlights for me.
"Looking back, football was my priority and I still love the game and I love what I do and want to continue doing it for many years, but now that I have a family and children, they are the most important things."
Goldson even has the heart rates of both of his children - Caleb and Connor - tattooed on each wrist from the baby scans before they were born. The defender kisses both wrists and wedding finger, which his anniversary date inked on, before he walks onto the pitch in every match.
He said: "It reflects what I’ve been through, and they mean everything to me. Instead of having their names, their heart rate seems a lot more appropriate."
The Rangers Charity Foundation have raised £25,000 for the British Heart Foundation this season and Goldson has urged as many as possible to learn lifesaving CPR through the charity’s free online training tool, RevivR.
He continued: "The BHF do an amazing job and I’m happy to help in any way We live in a world where nobody really does anything until it happens to you.
"It’s only when it happens to yourself or someone you know, then you realise the importance of CPR. I can do CPR, maybe not perfectly but I know what to do."