Jamie Foxx, the Academy Award winning actor known for films like "Ray" and "Django Unchained," has been sued for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman at a New York City rooftop lounge in 2002. The lawsuit comes as New York State opened a one-year window for adult survivors of sexual assault to pursue legal action against their alleged attackers, regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred.
Background on Jamie Foxx
Jamie Foxx, 55, is an acclaimed actor, comedian, singer, and producer. He rose to fame in the 1990s as a cast member on the popular sketch comedy series "In Living Color" before going on to star in films like "Any Given Sunday," "Ali," "Collateral," "Ray," "Django Unchained," "Baby Driver" and portraying Electro in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."
Foxx won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his acclaimed performance as musician Ray Charles in 2004’s "Ray." He also won a Golden Globe and multiple other awards for the role. In addition to acting, Foxx has released several music albums and is currently the host and executive producer of the game show "Beat Shazam" on Fox.
Details of the Sexual Assault Lawsuit
According to the lawsuit filed November 22nd, 2023 in New York Supreme Court, Foxx assaulted the unnamed woman in 2002 at Catch NYC, a rooftop lounge and sushi restaurant in the Meatpacking District.
The woman, now in her 40s, alleges that Foxx forced his hand under her dress and groped her genitals without consent after she went to use the bathroom at the lounge. The lawsuit states "Mr. Foxx stuck his hand down her dress to grope her bare breast and vagina" and then when she returned from the bathroom shortly after "[Foxx] again placed his hand underneath [her] dress and proceeded to touch [her] bare breast and buttocks."
The woman is seeking unspecified damages for the "emotional and psychological" trauma Foxx allegedly caused with his lewd and unwanted touching, the lawsuit says.
Foxx’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean responded to the allegations in a statement: "My client categorically denies these 20-year-old allegations. Expect we will be filing a motion seeking sanctions against the lawyer for filing a frivolous lawsuit."
The woman says in her lawsuit that she feared she wouldn’t be believed due to Foxx’s fame and fortune. But the recent passage of New York’s Adult Survivors Act has now enabled her to come forward and confront her alleged abuser in court.
New York’s Adult Survivors Act Allows New Sexual Assault Lawsuits
New York State passed the Adult Survivors Act in May 2022, opening up a historic one-year period for adult victims of sexual violence to pursue lawsuits against their attackers in civil court, regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred.
The one-year "look back window" opened on November 24, 2022 and will remain open for filing claims until November 24, 2023, after which the usual time limits for civil lawsuits will go back into effect.
The new law was modeled after the successful 2019 Child Victims Act in New York which opened a two-year window for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file legal claims against abusers and negligent institutions. That law reaped a whirlwind of thousands of lawsuits, including many against powerful Catholic diocese who covered up systemic abuse by priests.
Experts predict this new Adult Survivors Act will enable another dramatic wave of lawsuits – this time for victims attacked as adults. Other states like California, New Jersey and others have also created temporary revival windows to empower victims to confront abusers in court no matter how many decades may have passed.
"This period recognizes it often takes decades for sexual assault survivors to come forward," said New York Attorney General Leticia James when signing the Adult Survivors Act last year. Sexual assault "can carry lifelong scars…and now these survivors can pursue some measure of justice."
Impact on Celebrities Like Jamie Foxx
The filing of a sexual assault lawsuit against a high-profile celebrity like Jamie Foxx underscores how New York’s landmark new law could have ripple effects reaching public figures who have evaded allegations from years past.
The Child Victims Act opened the floodgates on lawsuits against once-revered institutions like the Catholic Church. This Adult Survivors Act is now bringing a reckoning to famous individuals whose star power has protected them from historical accountability.
In addition to Foxx, music mogul Jimmy Iovine was also sued this week by an unnamed woman alleging rape in the 1990s. More cases targeting celebrities for long-ago MeToo scandals are likely in the months ahead with the litigation window still open for another year.
"This is a tremendous sea change showing survivors they can confront deeply painful traumas from years ago," said sexual assault victims advocate Kristen Houser with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
"Society too often dismissed accounts from survivors instead of believing them. But the righteous tide is turning – famous figures who thought they escaped consequences in an earlier era are now facing righteous accountability."
While Jamie Foxx maintains his innocence, the next year will determine if the case against him holds up in court. For now it signifies the #MeToo movement knocking on the doors of public figures like Foxx who attain near-mythological status in Hollywood. Sexual assault survivors feel newly empowered to take Goliaths to trial.
What Comes Next in Jamie Foxx Case?
While Foxx attempts to dismiss the "20-year-old allegations," the lawsuit is likely headed into some dramatic next chapters with the year-long litigation window just getting underway. Some possibilities of what comes next:
More lawsuits from other accusers – Often when one victim steps forward it spurs others abused by the same perpetrator to share their stories too. If Foxx abused other women, additional claims could arise to bolster the existing case.
Attempts to derail case – Foxx has considerable fame and fortune to try halting the legal process against him. He may file motions to deflect, delay or dismiss the case before it develops further traction. The court results of these initial skirmishes will determine if the case sinks or progresses further.
Investigation impacting career – how Foxx responds to the lawsuit publicly could impact his career. Actress Alyssa Milano faced a backlash when she defended friend Joe Biden from old allegations during his 2020 campaign. Foxx’s projects like "Beat Shazam" or a "Django/Zorro" film sequel could feel reverberations.
One year window closing – Both supporters of victims and the accused will watch closely as the November 2023 deadline approaches. Will Foxx settle the claim or will the court push it to trial before then? The landmark window was hard fought by advocates to achieve, so there is urgency on both sides around the one year marker.
The stakes around confronting sexual violence have never been higher with New York opening this unique period for justice-seeking. Jamie Foxx now finds himself in the center of cultural currents empowering survivors. While proclaiming his innocence, his career faces collateral damage as the case proceeds playing out publicly. For the alleged victim anonymously suing him, she represents countless silenced voices now being heard after decades of powerlessness.
The courtroom showdown will test where the next generation stands in relation to #MeToo accountability, social progress and gender-based inequities spanning Hollywood to ordinary workplaces nationwide. Jamie Foxx’s professional ascent faces its most unexpected plot twist yet in the form of this sexual assault lawsuit from his storied past.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) has a National Sexual Assault Hotline available 24/7 at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or through chat: https://www.rainn.org/
The New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYSCASA) offers a confidential hotline 844-845-7269 and resources for survivors https://nyscasa.org/
Male survivors can find support through 1in6 organization online: https://1in6.org/helpline/ and their 24/7 chat helpline
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