A transgender man has filed a suit in a Los Angeles court accusing actress Rosario Dawson and her family of subjecting him to transphobic harassment and violent abuse.
According to NBC News, Dedrek Finley filed the lawsuit last Friday against Dawson and three members of her family. In it, he claims the four of them violated his civil rights by discriminating against him specifically because he is transgender.
In December 2017, Finley, 55, moved from New York to Los Angeles to work as a handyman for the Dawson family and “renovate and remodel Rosario’s personal residence.” He said he relocated because he was promised consistent work and even moved into a North Hollywood home rented by the family.
But he says that despite what was an amicable relationship, soon after he came out to the Dawson family as transgender — informing them that he had changed his name to Dedrek and would like them to use he/him pronouns — things went sour.
Finley’s suit claims that after he came out as transgender, “the family misgendered him multiple times each day, with deliberate indifference as to the appropriate way to address Mr. Finley.”
Even Rosario Dawson, who is a vocal social justice advocate, and is currently dating Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, is alleged to have “acted with deliberate indifference and did nothing to correct the situation.”
“In response to Mr. Finley’s complaints, Rosario would respond to Mr. Finley, ‘You’re a grown woman,’” despite the fact that Finley had come out as transgender to the family.
The suit also cites that in February of last year, a few months after his coming out, the family attempted to evict Finley, but he refused to because there were no legal grounds for him to be forced to leave. Two months later he says members of the family banded together to assault him.
He alleges that during that incident, Rosario’s mother Isabel Dawson, dragged him by his arm out of a window and then attacked him.
“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.”
Rosario Dawson allegedly assisted in the violent attack by sitting on top of him and “actively restraining him while he was on the ground to ensure that her mother could continue battering him.”
The suit seeks damages for the attack as well as battery, assault, emotional distress, and several other allegations.
Several news organizations report that legal representatives for Rosario Dawson and her family have not responded to request for comments.