Rosario Dawson and members of her family have been sued by a former employee who alleges that the family subjected him to transphobic abuse, harassment and assault.
The actress, who most recently starred in Zombieland: Double Tap, has been named in the suit, which was filed by Dedrek Finley in Los Angeles on Friday (October 18).
In the suit, Finley alleges his civil rights were violated by Dawson and three members of her family when they discriminated against him for his transgender status. The suit is also seeking damages for several other allegations including assault, battery and emotional distress.
Finley moved from New York to LA in December 2017 to work as a handyman for the Dawson family to help “renovate and remodel Rosario’s personal residence”. Soon after he was hired, Finley came out to the family as transgender and told them that he would now be known as Dedrek and use he/him pronouns.
The suit alleges that soon after he came out as transgender the Dawson family “misgendered him multiple times each day, with deliberate indifference as to the appropriate way to address Mr. Finley”. Rosario Dawson, the suit claims, “acted with deliberate indifference and did nothing to correct the situation.”
“Instead, in response to Mr. Finley’s complaints, Rosario would respond to Mr. Finley: ‘You’re a grown woman.’”
In February 2018, Finley was ordered to move out of the North Hollywood home he rented from the family, but refused to do so because there were no legal grounds for his eviction. On April 28, 2018, Finley alleges that members of the family assaulted him when Isabel Dawson, Rosario’s mother, allegedly dragged Finley out of a window.
“Once Mr. Finley was lying helpless on the ground outside, Isabel, who is substantially larger than Mr. Finley, got on top of Mr. Finley’s body and began punching him,” the suit states. “While beating Mr. Finley, Isabel screamed, ‘You’re not so much of a man now,’ which was a clear and denigrating reference to Mr. Finley’s gender identity.”
The suit alleges that Rosario Dawson sat on top of Finley in order to “actively restrain him while he was on the ground to ensure that her mother could continue battering him.”
According to the suit, Finley was granted a temporary restraining order against Isabel Dawson a day after the alleged attack.
Neither Dawson or her family have responded to the allegations made in the lawsuit.
Representing Finley, attorney Tasha Alyssa Hill told NBC News that her client has received no response from the Dawson family and has now decided to sue.
“Mr. Finley had a good relationship with the family, did work with them in New York and had a good enough relationship that they invited him to California and offered him a living situation and a full time working situation for the family,” Hill said. “When they did that, they knew him as a lesbian woman.
“When he came out to California and decided to come out to them as a transgender man, that’s when things started going south.”
Hills added that Finley is looking for “some sort of compensation” so he can “get back on track with his life [and] put this incident behind him.”