Rosario Dawson And Family Respond To Allegations Of Transphobic Assault And Harassment From Former Employee
"You're not so much of a man now," Dawson's mother reportedly told the man as she beat him.
October 30, 2019 at 2:34 pm
Update (October 29, 2019): Rosario Dawson released a statement denying her family abused a former transgender employee.
Dawson spoke through her lawyer Shawn Holley more than a week after the accusations were publicized, according to The New York Daily News.
“The Dawson family is saddened and disappointed by these false and baseless allegations," Holley said in a statement. “We look forward to addressing the plaintiff’s claims in court.”
Dedrek Finley filed a lawsuit against the family on October 18. The 55-year-old handyman claimed his relationship with the family changed after he came out as a transgender man in 2017.
He moved from New York to California to work on renovations for a home owned by Dawson. He lived in another residence rent-free and was paid $25 per hour for his work.
He claimed he was misgendered by family members “multiple times each day, with deliberate indifference as to the appropriate way to address” him.
According to People Magazine, the court papers state Dawson’s stepfather would “scream in Mr. Finley’s face that ‘you’re not a man,’ ‘a man wouldn’t work like this’ and ‘you only think you’re a man.’”
When he complained to Dawson, she “refused to act to end the abuse,” and told him “you’re a grown woman.”
Finley claims the family tried to kick him out of the home without notice in April 2018, and when he refused to leave, he was confronted by Dawson and her mother, Isabel. The court documents claim the conflict got physical.
“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 documents stated. “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.”
He is seeking a jury trial and financial damages.
Original (October 22, 2019): Rosario Dawson and her family are being sued by a former employee for allegedly harassing and assaulting him after he came out as a transgender man.
TMZ reports Dedrek Finley knew the Dawson family for decades and moved to Los Angeles to work as the family’s handyman in 2017. He lived in a house owned by Rosario rent-free while he performed renovations on another property.
After the move, Finley came out as a transgender man, shared his new name and requested the family use he/him pronouns. It went downhill from there, according to NBC.
“The family misgendered him multiple times each day, with deliberate indifference as to the appropriate way to address Mr. Finley,” the lawsuit stated.
When Finley complained, Rosario reportedly “acted with deliberate indifference and did nothing to correct the situation.” The Zombieland: Double Tap star eventually told Finley, “You’re a grown woman.”
When he corrected her, she replied with “Whatever.”
Finley’s relationship with the family deteriorated, and he was ordered to move out in February 2018. He refused because there were no legal grounds for his eviction. A few months later, in April, the family showed up to the home. He claims Isabel Dawson, Rosario’s mother, dragged him out of a window and began to beat 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,” stated court documents. “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 told her mother to “stop being petty,” which led Finley to believe she was coming to his aid. Instead, he claims she began sitting on him and “actively restraining him while he was on the ground to ensure that her mother could continue battering him.”
During the attack, Isabel reportedly threatened to kill his cat, stomped on his hand and stole his cellphone, which had footage previous threats from Isabel. A day later, Finley was granted a temporary restraining order against Isabel.
Attorney Tasha Alyssa Hill, who is representing Finley, said the lawsuit was a last resort. It was filed last week before the statute of limitations expired.
“As his attorney, we have reached out numerous times to the Dawson family attorney seeking to resolve this before having to file suit,” she told NBC.
Hill blamed the family’s behavior solely on transphobia.
“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.
She added, “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,”
Rosario and Isabel are both named in the suit along with Gustavo, Rosario’s brother, and Gregory, Isabel’s husband.
The family has not responded to the lawsuit.
Finley is seeking unspecified damages so he “can get back on track with his life so he can put this incident behind him.”