Rosario Dawson has been active in the entertainment industry since the mid-1990s, appearing in a wide variety of TV shows and movies. Dawson has been a part of popular culture for quite some time now, thanks to her roles as the voice of Wonder Woman and Batgirl in animated DC projects and as medic Claire Temple in the MCU.
She even made her way into the “Star Wars” universe in 2020 with “The Mandalorian,” a character she will reprise in the upcoming Disney+ limited series “Ahsoka.”
However, Dawson’s sudden prominence in the media is due to more than just her professional achievements. She and her family have been accused of discrimination, civil rights breaches, and a transphobic attack in a lawsuit filed in 2019.
After almost two years, it looks like the case has finally come to a close, but the bad connotations around Dawson that the lawsuit has raised may not go away anytime soon.
An Ex-Worker Claimed that Dawson’s Family Members Verbally and Physically Abused Her
In a complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts (via TMZ) on October 18, 2019, Dedrick Finley claimed that Dawson and three members of her family had violated his civil rights. He claimed that he was subjected to a hostile work environment because of his gender identity and that this led to him experiencing battery, assault, and emotional distress (per NBC News).
According to the lawsuit, Rosario’s longtime friend Finley relocated from New York to Los Angeles in December 2017 to take a job as the Dawsons’ handyman and “renovate and remodel Rosario’s personal residence.” The family knew Finley “as a gay woman,” her lawyer claims.
He told his family he was transgender and preferred the pronouns “he” and “him” when they moved into the North Hollywood apartment they had rented. The supposedly unfavorable reaction he received was unexpected. “I didn’t feel like anyone was really celebrating it.
To me, it lacked depth. And it was a heavy load to bear, “As Finley revealed to Out Magazine,. He claimed Dawson’s father Gregory would yell at him and that Dawson herself would do nothing to halt the abuse, all while ignoring his gender identity.
Finley alleged that when his family tried to force him to leave, illegally, things went from bad to worse.
While Rosario restrained her, Isabel Dawson, Rosario’s mother, allegedly attacked him, threatened him and his cat, and stole his smartphone. According to the lawsuit, he was forced to seek medical attention at a hospital and was also granted a temporary restraining order against Isabel. In September of 2018, Finley left because of ongoing disagreements.
Finley retracted all but two claims by August 2020
A statement from Rosario Dawson’s attorney was made public not long after the allegations surfaced. It was written that “The Dawson family is saddened and disappointed by these false and unsubstantiated charges” (via New York Daily News).
Within a year of initially filing his 20 allegations, Finley had retracted 18 of them. Isabel Dawson’s alleged assault was the subject of the remaining allegations. His attorney also abandoned him during the case.
In an interview for Vanity Fair published on November 30, 2020, Dawson addressed the issue head-on.
She claimed she could appreciate the worries of others. “Those claims would make me suspicious, too. However, the truth is finally coming out as we have seen it over the previous few months, and even more lately “that’s what the actress had to say.
“The fact that this is coming from a person I have known for the larger part of my life—since I was a teenager—and who my family was attempting to aid, as we have done so many times before, really saddens me. Yet, despite this, I still feel tremendous sympathy for him.”
Furthermore, Dawson, who is presently in a relationship with New Jersey senator Cory Booker and who came out in 2020 during an interview with Bustle, stated, “All accusations of prejudice were dismissed because, well, they didn’t happen.
I was brought up to be accepting of others and show love to all people, and that is how I have continued to live my life. In both the fiction and nonfiction I have produced and directed, I have always made sure to utilize my voice to advocate for, support, and empower the LGBTQA community, and I have never been afraid to use my platform to channel trans voices. The evidence is, therefore, indisputable, in my opinion.”
The Suit Against Dawson Was Dismissed in May 2021
Vanity Fair said that the action lost even more speed after Finley ignored a judge’s order to provide evidence and undergo an independent medical evaluation in support of his remaining two allegations. The case was dismissed with a quiet decision delivered on May 21, 2021.
When Finley learned that the story had been published, he contacted the magazine, saying, “My next move is to appeal.”
He said the court wouldn’t let him reschedule the exam because he had been diagnosed with COVID-19. As far as he’s concerned, he was “I was frustrated by being “shut down by money and power” and by not being able to present my case to the public and have them make the final decision in a jury trial.
When the truth eventually emerges, as it usually does, I am confident that I will be exonerated. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. Since there is nothing to conceal, I will not.”
Meanwhile, Dawson tweeted her relief and shared the Vanity Fair article with her followers.
“My loved ones are relieved that this meritless lawsuit has been resolved. In light of the fact that the vast majority of the fraudulent claims had been voluntarily withdrawn last year, including every single false claim of discrimination, the court has now terminated the remaining portion of the case, allowing us all to go forward.”
It appears that the legal struggle is over for the time being.
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