(CN) — Less than a month after unprofessional behavior reportedly got her fired from what would have been her first Broadway show in 40 years, Faye Dunaway was hit with a lawsuit Thursday from a former assistant who says he has hard evidence of the Oscar-winning actress being abusive.
Michael Rocha, who is represented in Manhattan Supreme Court by the Ramone Law Firm, says comments about him being gay were constant during his degrading two-month stint aiding Dunaway for the play “Tea at Five.” Before she got the boot in July, Dunaway was set to start as Katherine Hepburn in the solo Broadway production helmed by Tony-nominated director John Tillinger.
Rocha had not even been on the job a month when he says he texted the show’s general counsel, Ben Feldman, on May 2 to say Dunaway had just referred to him “and other employees present as ‘little gay people.’”
Weeks later during a May 26 tirade, Rocha allegedly had the record button going and captured Dunaway calling Rocha “a little homosexual boy” as he tried to get her to rehearsal.
“As I told you on Friday, she still thinks I’m her 24/7 servant and went off on me because I was not there yesterday afternoon or this morning doing her dishes,” Rocha complained in an email to “Tea at Five” general manager Joseph Guglielmo, as quoted in the complaint. “I worked for her 14 days straight now, and still doing my best to get her to rehearsals on time.”
Rocha says Guglielmo told him to send the complaint to Feldman, then he fired him on June 12, claiming that Dunaway “is not comfortable with you anymore.”
In addition to accompanying Dunaway to “Tea at Five” rehearsals, Rocha says his duties as an assistant included making sure the “Bonnie and Clyde” star took her medication. He also arranged and managed the actress’s travel schedule and meetings. The job paid $1,500 a week, and Rocha wants punitive damages for discrimination.
Attorney Simon Ramon has not immediately responded to an email seeking comment.
Dunaway’s lawyer did not return a request for comment either, nor did Feldman and Guglielmo. The producers of “Tea at Five” are reportedly planning to take the show to London’s West End after recasting its star. TMZ reported that the show bombed with Dunaway during early performances in Boston.