Oscar-winning actress Faye Dunaway is being sued for discrimination after an assistant alleged she referred to him as “a little homosexual boy”.
Michael Rocha worked for the Florida-born actress, 78, between April 5 and June 12. At the time, Dunaway was starring as Katherine Hepburn in the Broadway play ‘Tea at Five’.
Mr Rocha alleges that she relentlessly berated him and mocked him for his sexuality. He claimed she “regularly and relentlessly subjected the plaintiff to abusive, demeaning tirades” and used his sexual orientation as a gay man to “demean and humiliate him at work”, the court papers charge.
Mr Rocha, who was paid $1,500 (Dh5,508) a week for his services, claimed that he reported her actions to the general manager and general counsel for the one-woman play. He claims he also gave them the tape of the offensive comment.
He was fired a fortnight later and the court documents allege he was told that Dunaway was “not comfortable with you any more”.
Dunaway’s lawyer has not responded to The Telegraph’s request for comment.
Deadline.com, the Hollywood news website, said that Dunaway’s “reputation for being difficult and temperamental” was long-established.
The Bonnie and Clyde star’s own time at the theatre was later cut short, and she was fired from the play on July 24. The play had been due to open on Broadway later in the year.
The play will be in London next spring, with a different lead.
Ben Feldman and Scott Beck, the play’s producers, said of their decision: “We have terminated their relationship with Faye Dunaway. Plans are in development for the play to have its West End debut early next year with a new actress to play [her] role.”
Dunaway and the producers are both named in the lawsuit.