Major Celebrities Face Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Under California’s Accountability Laws

Los Angeles, California – Actor Vin Diesel, musician Tommy Lee, and singer Jermaine Jackson are among those facing sexual abuse lawsuits under California’s Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act. The law, which will be in effect until December 31, 2026, allows victims to bring forward claims that would otherwise be time-barred due to the statute of limitations.

Ethan Krasnoo, a partner at Reavis Page Jump LLP, explained that the purpose of the law is to give alleged victims an opportunity to pursue claims that they were previously unable or unwilling to pursue. Krasnoo stated that it is not uncommon for victims to remain silent for many years due to factors such as self-blame, embarrassment, or a lack of understanding about the legal time limitations.

Sexual assault and abuse are often underreported crimes, according to personal injury lawyer and former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani. Victims may feel ashamed or hesitant to come forward due to the fear of a public trial and the belief that they won’t be believed. However, the pressure of filing a lawsuit or the fear of losing the opportunity altogether can motivate victims to seek legal representation.

In one case, Vin Diesel is being sued for sexual battery by his former assistant, Asta Jonasson. She alleges that Diesel assaulted her during the filming of the “Fast Five” movie in 2010. Another lawsuit involves Tommy Lee, who is accused of gender violence and sexual assault by an anonymous woman. The woman claims that Lee assaulted her during a helicopter ride in 2003.

Jermaine Jackson, the brother of the late Michael Jackson, has also been hit with a lawsuit. Rita Barrett accuses Jackson of sexually assaulting her in spring 1988, while music executive Berry Gordy is accused of covering up the alleged assault. Additionally, Paula Abdul has filed a lawsuit against “American Idol” producer Nigel Lythgoe, claiming that he sexually assaulted her twice during her time as a judge on the show.

Representatives for Diesel, Lee, Jackson, Lythgoe, and Gordy have all denied the allegations. The lawsuits highlight the importance of accountability in cases of sexual abuse and the need for victims to have the opportunity to seek justice, even years after the alleged incidents occurred.

These lawsuits not only bring attention to the issue of sexual abuse in the entertainment industry but also shed light on the challenges faced by victims in coming forward. The victims’ courage in sharing their experiences may empower others to speak out and seek justice as well. As organizations like the #MeToo movement continue to advocate for change, the impact on survivors and the conversation surrounding sexual abuse remains significant.