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Rosario Dawson speaks out about transphobic abuse allegations

She denies the allegations, which have since been dropped by her family's former employee.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Nov 30, 2020

Rosario Dawson and her family were sued last year by a former employee, a transgender man who accused Dawson and her mother of physical assault, emotional distress, and transphobic discrimination. The allegations were shocking, particularly in the light of Dawson’s status as a queer celebrity, and her outspoken comments about intersectional feminism. Now, she’s revealed to Vanity Fair that most of those claims have been dropped by the accuser. She also states outright that the accusations of transphobia were false.

The lawsuit was filed by Dedrek Finley, a longtime acquaintance of Dawson’s family. He worked as a handyman and moved from New York to Los Angeles to renovate Rosario Dawson’s home. In the original complaints, Finley accused Rosario Dawson of misgendering him, and he accused her mother Isabel Dawson of physically attacking him with Rosario’s assistance —among other claims. According to the original lawsuit, he was granted a temporary restraining order against Isabel Dawson.

While this lawsuit flew under the radar compared to some more high-profile celebrity scandals, it still cast a pall over Rosario Dawson’s casting as Ahsoka Tano in The Mandalorian. The show was already facing criticism thanks to actress Gina Carano, who spends a lot of time spreading far-right conspiracy theories on Twitter—along with some very familiar transphobic dog whistles.

In a recent Vanity Fair article, several Star Wars fans expressed discomfort with Dawson and Carano’s roles on the show. But the article also mentioned that Dedrek Finley had voluntarily withdrawn 18 of the 20 accusations, including all of the allegations of misgendering and discrimination. Now Rosario Dawson is sharing her side of the story, saying, “I just want to say I understand that, and why people were concerned, and are concerned. I would be, too, if I heard some of those claims.”

“Every single claim of discrimination has been dismissed by the person who made them, and as you’ve said, the fact that this is coming from someone I’ve known since I was a teenager, the better part of my life, and who my family was trying to help as we have many times in the past, it really just makes me sad. But I still have a great empathy for him.”

She added: “The reason that all of the discrimination claims were dropped is because they didn’t happen…  I’ve always used my voice to fight for, lift up and empower the LGBTQA community, and use my platform to channel trans voices.” Her accuser hasn’t responded publicly to this statement, but the Vanity Fair report confirmed that he withdrew the complaints without any kind of financial settlement involved.

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*First Published: Nov 30, 2020, 10:09 am CST