Actress, activist, and designer Rosario Dawson isn't just Senator Cory Booker's girlfriend—she's also an alleged hate crime offender.
A former employee and family friend of Dawson is suing the actress and her family for battery, assault, trespass, discrimination, civil rights and labor violations. Dedrek Finley, 55, alleges that the 40-year-old actress and three of her family members began discriminating against him after he came out as transgender. The core assault allegedly took place on April 28, 2018 after their relationship grew increasingly antagonistic after Finley came out. While the Dawson family has yet to comment on the allegations, the details of the assault match the recent rise in violence (including murders) against transgender and nonbinary individuals. Nationally, hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals have reached record highs.
As is common with many hate crimes, Finley's lawsuit details how discrimination and intolerance occurred long before any violence. Finley was reportedly a family friend who only moved from New York to Los Angeles in order to work for Dawson as her handyman in exchange for lodging. Amidst renovating and remodeling the actress' personal home, Finley moved into a residence rented by the Dawson family. That same year, Finley came out to the family as a transgender man, changing his preferred name and pronouns. "The family misgendered him multiple times each day, with deliberate indifference as to the appropriate way to address Mr. Finley," the lawsuit claims. Rosario Dawson is said to have "acted with deliberate indifference and did nothing to correct the situation."
In fact, Dawson reportedly dismissed and invalidated Finley's gender, saying, "You're a grown woman." When Finley tried to correct her use of pronouns, Dawson allegedly replied, "Whatever." He's suing for discrimination on the grounds that the Dawson family ordered him to move out of his rented residence without legal grounds for eviction. Their dispute escalated until April 28, when Rosario Dawson's mother, Isabel, allegedly ripped out a window screen and dragged him by the arm out of the open window. The lawsuit describes Rosario Dawson helping her mother to attack and beat Finley, allegedly sitting on top of him and "actively restraining him while he was on the ground to ensure that her mother could continue battering 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." Rosalia Dawson allegedly said, "Mom, stop being petty" before holding Finley down.
Other details in the allegations include Isabel threatening to kill Finley's cat if he didn't leave the residence, Isabel stomping on his hand, and one of the Dawson women taking away his phone, which allegedly held video evidence of Isabel threatening his cat. After the attack, Finley called the police, received hospital treatment, and was granted a temporary restraining order against Isabel Dawson. He continued to stay at the residence in dispute until September, at which point he says the Dawsons shut off the gas, forcing him to leave the premises.
Finley is suing both Rosario and Isabel Dawson for the assault, as well as Dawson's uncle and stepfather who are accused parties to the discrimination and assault. Finley's later, Tasha Alyssa Hill, told NBC News that Finley decided to sue after the Dawson family refused to communicate with him. "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. "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." According to Hill, Finley is seeking "some sort of compensation" so he can "get back on track with his life [and] put this incident behind him." The Dawson family has yet to comment on the allegations.
Of course, part of the shock surrounding the lawsuit is that Rosario Dawson has been lauded for her activism in the Latinx community and other social causes. Washington Post has called her "the young Jane Fonda of the Afro-Latinx world" for her outspokenness about voting rights and environmental sustainability. Just last month, Dawson described hateful anti-immigration rhetoric and legislation as America "suffering a crisis of our humanity." As the girlfriend of a presidential candidate (however behind in the polls Corey Booker might be), committing a hate crime in 2018 clearly propagates the kind of intolerance and hate culture that most Americans are trying to combat.
NOTE: Includes hate crimes against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, gender non-conforming and mixed group victimsSource: FBI, Chart: Nigel Chiwaya at NBC News
To put this incident in context, Finley's lawsuit was filed within one week of the 21st anniversary of Matthew Shepherd's murder, a 1998 violent hate crime that forced America to become more aware of hate crimes and inspired The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Still, in 2018, at least 26 transgender people were violently murdered, with the FBI reporting that the number of anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes has steadily risen since 2014. While the LGBTQ+ community makes up at least 4.5% of the America population, the FBI finds that queer individuals account for more than 16% of the nation's reported hate crimes. Of course, an untold number of assaults go unreported every year.
- Rosario Dawson And Her Family Are Being Sued For ... - Dlisted ›
- Actress Rosario Dawson Accused of Holding Down Trans Employee ... ›
- Rosario Dawson is being sued by a former employee - a ... ›
- Rosario Dawson sued by transgender former employee for assault ... ›
- Rosario Dawson and her family sued over alleged transphobic ... ›
- Rosario Dawson and Parents Sued by Transgender Man Claiming ... ›
- Rosario Dawson is being sued for allegedly attacking a trans man ... ›
- Rosario Dawson Talks Double Standards of Dating Cory Booker ... ›
"Better late than never" may not apply in this case...
On Saturday, in a strange celebration of Independence Day, rapper, producer, and sneaker mogul Kanye West announced his intention to run for president in 2020.
As in, this year. Right now.
Of course, this news comes well past the filing deadline for independent candidates in several major states—which means that unless a political party randomly decides to nominate him, Kanye's name won't appear on those ballots. As deadlines in other states approach—with little apparent effort to gather the petition signatures required—Kanye is officially joining the long, proud history of vanity presidential campaigns. Unfortunately, that's a lot more dangerous than it sounds.
We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am runni… https://t.co/MySzN3vjIB— ye (@ye)1593909493.0
- Kanye West Gives Rambling Monologue to Trump in Oval Office ... ›
- Were Kanye West's MAGA Hats Just a Hoax to Manipulate Trump ... ›
The sexist history of censoring nipples is senseless and due to change with better understanding of gender and trans identity.
Look closely at Jason Momoa's nipple. Do you find it offensive? Amber Heard wants to know.
Recently, the Aquaman actress called out Instagram's sexist censorship policies. When promoting her recent feature in Interview Magazine, Heard posted to Instagram a shot from the black and white photo shoot in which she is bare chested underneath a black blazer. After the photo received nearly 750k likes, Instagram took it down as a violation of their "community guidelines." In response, Heard criticized the policy by posting a picture of costar Jason Momoa in an identical pose and semi-nude state.
"In honor of IG's rigorous and equitable Community Guidelines against showing the Female nipple," she captioned, "and since mine enjoyed the brief privilege that's afforded to my male counterparts.. I decided to pay homage by replacing it with a picture that DID meet IG's strict nudity guidelines and such careful gender policies." She also took to her Instagram stories to ask viewers to vote "on which edit you prefer the most." She thanked Instagram and said, "here's to 2019!"
For what it's worth, Instagram's policy acknowledges that nudity can be artistic rather than lewd or pornagraphic; they just don't care. Their policy reads: "We know that there are times when people might want to share nude images that are artistic or creative in nature, but for a variety of reasons, we don't allow nudity on Instagram. This includes photos, videos, and some digitally-created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks. It also includes some photos of female nipples, but photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed. Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK, too."
Really, Heard harnessed the elegance of Jason Momoa's right nipple to add to a conversation about double standards and the social shaming of the female body that dates back to the early 19th century. Before then, in the 17th and 18th centuries, toplessness wasn't even taboo. In France and Britain (influenced by French culture), "the latest fashions were cut so low that applying nipple make-up or nipple rouge became a part of some women's beauty routine at the vanity table."
Portrait of Princess of Lamballe by Duplessis, 18th century, ALAMY
Then came the Victorian era, during which Queen Victoria imposed rigid restrictions on how females should express their sexuality—or, more specifically, that they shouldn't. As writer Sara Sheridan recounted for the BBC, "Victoria's childhood had been scarred by her domineering mother, the Duchess of Kent, who left the Queen with a lifelong horror of sexual impropriety."
So, thanks to one queen's childhood trauma, Instagram (along with most media outlets) bans female nipples but condones graphic images of slain hunted animals, pus-filled pimple popping, and "stomach-churning" medical accounts. And, of course, men's nipples.
Portrait of Nell Gwyn, Simon VerelstALAMY
But Heard's sly salute to 2019 also highlights that time is running out for out-dated double standards. Namely, with trans and non-binary individuals expressing themselves more freely and finally being represented in the media, society is becoming more aware that gender is a social construct, and gender identity exists on a spectrum. When Robyn Kanner writes about being a trans woman in media, she admits that, to a degree, she understands Instagram's problem and attempt at a solution: "Its algorithm attempts to track and delete nudity. If that doesn't work, it's up to an Instagram user to see and report it. That's when a 'global team' at Instagram decides if it should stay or go." But, she wrote, "In 2013, when I had just started estrogen, there was a strong possibility that Instagram would have let me upload a picture of my breasts…It's 2018, and my C-cup breasts are too scandalous for Mark Zuckerberg and Kevin Systrom's photo-sharing platform." She concludes, "Instagram has successfully shamed women into believing our nipples and breasts are cursed images. It should reconsider its policy. Pretending nipples aren't family-friendly in 2018 is a massively silly endeavor." In 2019, Instagram is now, more than ever, "failing its community" by shaming female nipples.
Twitter / @Robynkanner
But, with censorship and shame around the human nipple based solely on gender, what could more inclusive gender expression mean for the nipple?
Freedom, according to the Instagram account @genderless_nipples. Since 2016, the account has been publishing user-submitted close-ups of nipples, both male and female, with no indication of what gender (or agender) the body is. Instagram doesn't ban the images, because A) there's no way to tell which one is a female nipple and so a violation of their policy, B) there's nothing innately shameful or lewd about the body part, in the first place, and C) anyone who reports the account in attempt to have the pictures banned is close-minded and trapped in a Puritan mindset that clearly needs to be expanded by watching Fleabag or anything on HBO or any of Laura Dodsworth's celebrated photography projects of 100 penises and vaginas.
So while you freely gaze at the beauty of Jason Momoa's nipple, remember the long history of nipples that came before his and the arbitrary reason you're not allowed to gaze at so many more.
- AMBER HEARD: TOPLESS SOCIAL SEGNALATO PERCHE'... Foto ... ›
- Amber Heard's topless photo sent to Johnny Depp leaked ›
- Amber Heard (@amberheard) • Instagram photos and videos ›
- Amber Heard mag volledig topless Instagram, waarom eigenlijk? ›
- Amber Heard, la foto in topless manda in tilt i fan - IlGiornale.it ›
- Amber Heard on Instagram: “New feature out in Interview Mag. Link ... ›
- 'Aquaman' Star Amber Heard Goes Nearly Topless With Latest ... ›
- Aquaman actress Amber Heard defies Instagram rules & frees the ... ›
- Amber Heard Frees the Nipple in New 'Interview' Photo Shoot ... ›
- 'Aquaman' Star Amber Heard Frees The Nipple In New NSFW ... ›
- Amber Heard bashes Instagram no-nipple policy using Aquaman co ... ›
- Aquaman Star Amber Heard Frees the Nipple in New Photoshoot ›
- Aquaman star Amber Heard turns heads in nipple-flashing top at ... ›