Cindy Ord/Getty Rosario Dawson in December 2019
Rosario Dawson is speaking out about supporting the LGBTQ community, one year after being sued over alleged anti-trans actions.
In October 2019, the 41-year-old actress, who appears in the new season of Disney+'s The Mandalorian, and members of her family were sued for allegedly discriminating against a transgender man, as well as alleged assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and trespass among other claims, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE at the time.
Dawson opened up to Vanity Fair about the controversy, as the outlet reports that 18 of the 20 claims have been withdrawn, with the other two counts awaiting the Los Angeles County Superior Court's decision soon on whether to proceed.
According to Vanity Fair, the claims of misgendering and discrimination were revoked, while the accusations of a physical altercation remain on the table. Vanity Fair also reports that no settlement was made.
"Firstly, 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," the Men In Black actress said. "But I mean, as we’re seeing right now in these past months, and just recently, actually, the truth is coming out."
"Every single claim of discrimination has been dismissed by the person who made them," continued Dawson, "and ... 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."
Dawson added that the "reason that all of the discrimination claims were dropped is because they didn’t happen."
"I was raised in a very inclusive and loving way, and that’s how I’ve lived my entire life. I’ve always used my voice to fight for, lift up, and empower the LGBTQA community, and use my platform to channel trans voices, in fiction and nonfiction work that I’ve produced and directed," she told Vanity Fair. "So I feel the record is really clear."
Dedrek Finley said in the previously filed court documents that he was hired by Dawson to move from New York City to Los Angeles to work on renovating her home as a handyman. Finley was offered a place to live, free of rent, at Dawson’s mother’s former home in North Hollywood, he stated.
Instead of paying rent, Finley says he agreed to work for Dawson at $25 an hour for the home repairs and cover his own utilities.
However, Finley claimed the atmosphere changed “immediately after” he came out to the Dawson family as a transgender man, according to the lawsuit. Finley alleged that in February 2018, about two months after he had come out, he was ordered by the family via text message to move out of Isabel’s former apartment.
When he did not move out, Finley claims in the court documents that Dawson and her mother Isabel arrived outside of the apartment in April 2018 where Isabel allegedly dragged him out of the window of his bedroom and to the ground.
“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 court documents alleged. “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.”
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Finley also claimed in the documents that Dawson helped her mother and “sat down on top of Mr. Finley, actively restraining him while he was on the ground to ensure that her mother could continue battering.”
He claimed Isabel and Rosario “stomped” on his hand and took his cell phone so he would not be able to call 911. Finley alleges his phone also contained video of previous threats by Isabel against him.
“The Dawson family is saddened and disappointed by these false and baseless allegations. We look forward to addressing the plaintiff’s claims in court,” Shawn Holley, a lawyer for the Dawson family, told PEOPLE in a statement in October 2019.
It was not immediately clear whether Finley currently has an attorney for PEOPLE to reach for comment.