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Axl Rose, Jamie Foxx and NYC mayor accused of sexual assault as window for historical lawsuits closes

Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose, actor Jamie Foxx and New York City mayor Eric Adams have been accused of sexual assault as a law which allows historical lawsuits is set to expire.

A former Penthouse magazine model sued Rose, accusing him of sexually assaulting her in a New York City hotel room in 1989.

Sheila Kennedy, 61, filed the lawsuit in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, which lets victims sue over attacks that happened decades ago. The law expires on Friday.

Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose

More than 2,500 lawsuits have been filed so far under the act.

Many of the lawsuits have targeted individuals, employers or institutions, accusing them of not doing enough to stop abuse.

But the vast majority have been filed against the state, New York City and local counties and involve allegations of abuse at state prisons and local jails.

Ms Kennedy alleged Rose violently attacked her 34 years ago, which resulted in a diagnosis of “anxiety and depression”.

She said Rose used his “fame, status, and power” as a music star to “gain access to manipulate, control, and violently sexually assault” her, the lawsuit claims.

Attorney Alan S Gutman said in a statement on behalf of Rose: “Simply put, this incident never happened. Notably, these fictional claims were filed the day before the New York state filing deadline expires.

“Though he doesn’t deny the possibility of a fan photo taken in passing, Mr Rose has no recollection of ever meeting or speaking to the plaintiff, and has never heard about these fictional allegations prior to today. Mr Rose is confident this case will be resolved in his favour.”

Why have so many celebrities been accused all at once?

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New York City mayor Eric Adams
New York City mayor Eric Adams

New York City mayor accused of 1993 assault

Mayor Eric Adams has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman 30 years ago.

Adams, a Democrat, was a New York City police officer who rose to the rank of captain before entering politics. He served as a state senator and Brooklyn borough president before becoming mayor.

Details of the alleged assault in New York have not been released.

The legal action, filed at the state Supreme Court in Manhattan, seeks a trial and $5m (£4m) in relief.

A City Hall spokesman said in a statement: “The mayor does not know who this person is. If they ever met, he doesn’t recall it. But he would never do anything to physically harm another person and vigorously denies any such claim.”

Hollywood star accused of 2015 assault

Jamie Foxx was also sued under the act on Wednesday by a woman who accused the Hollywood star of sexual assaulting her at a New York rooftop lounge in 2015.

The lawsuit alleges Foxx made comments such as “wow, you have that super model body” while at Catch NYC and rooftop, before later grabbing the woman by the arm and pulling her to the “secluded” back of the rooftop.

51st NAACP Image Awards – Photo Room– Pasadena, California, U.S., February 22, 2020 – Jamie Foxx poses backstage with his Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture award for "Just Mercy". REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Jamie Foxx in 2020

She alleged there was “heinous touching and sexual assault” which has resulted in “severe emotional distress and anxiety” as well as post-traumatic stress disorder.

The woman, identified only as Jane Doe in court documents, is also suing Catch NYC and its owner Mark Birnbaum, alleging they were “negligent” and “failed to use reasonable care to prevent the acts described” in the lawsuit.

A spokesperson for Foxx has been approached for comment.

The allegations against Rose, Adams and Foxx are the latest in a string of lawsuits filed under New York’s expiring Adult Survivors Act.

On Tuesday, American writer and filmmaker A.M. Lukas accused White Lines actor Nuno Lopes of drugging and raping her in 2006.

Actor Nuno Lopes. Pic: AP
Actor Nuno Lopes. Pic: AP

Lopes denied any wrongdoing and said he would not be afraid to take legal action against anyone who tried to defame him.

Several lawsuits filed before law expires

Also on Tuesday a woman accused Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her after offering to mentor her in her acting career – joining more than 60 women who have accused him of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment.

He has denied all allegations involving sex crimes.

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A spokesperson for Cosby, 86, declined to comment but suggested the historical windows in place for these lawsuits in New York and elsewhere should be closed because they were being used to target wealthy celebrities, asking: “When is it going to stop?”

Photographer Terry Richardson, who was effectively blacklisted by the fashion world in 2017 after multiple rape and sexual assault allegations, had a new lawsuit filed against him on Tuesday by Spanish model Minerva Portillo.

Terry Richardson. Pic: AP
Terry Richardson. Pic: AP

Meanwhile, music industry veteran Jimmy Iovine was sued by a woman who claims she was sexually abused, forcibly touched and subject to sexual harassment and retaliation in August 2017.

Record producer Jimmy Iovine
Record producer Jimmy Iovine

A spokesperson for Iovine said they were “quite shocked and baffled” by the alleged claim, adding: “This inquiry is the first we’ve heard of this matter. No one has ever made a claim like this against Jimmy Iovine, nor have we been contacted or made aware of any complaint by anyone, including this unknown plaintiff prior to now.”

Oscar-winning actor sued by two women

Also on Wednesday Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr was sued by two women whose sexual assault accusations against the star formed the basis of a criminal prosecution that ended with him pleading guilty in April 2022 but serving no jail time.

Actor Cuba Gooding Jr in court after he pleaded guilty
Actor Cuba Gooding Jr in court after he pleaded guilty

Lawyers who have represented Gooding in civil and criminal litigation over his alleged sexual misconduct did not respond to requests for comment.

Others who have been sued under the law include Russell Brand, former movie producer Harvey Weinstein, former US president Donald Trump and hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs – whose case was settled after one day.

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