It’s no secret that the rich and famous are often targets of those looking for a get rich quick scheme. Allegations regularly fly against those who live their lives in the public eye, and fact or fiction, they shape our thoughts about these people that otherwise seem to live charmed lives. Public figures have been the focus of lawsuits for hundreds of years, but the 24-hour news cycle has seemed to fuel these issues with even more frequency. Not a week goes by when you can’t flip to the evening news or hop on Twitter and find detailed descriptions of a famous individual’s bad behavior. And people can’t seem to get enough of it. Issues of infidelity, questions about sexuality, and accusations of fraud or drug use all get dissected and debated for years after they occur. And neither the accuser nor the accused are safe from attack. One new lawsuit has been announced this week, concerning actress Sharon Stone and questions about the firing of her longtime nanny, Erlinda Elemen. And regardless of whether the allegations are found to be truthful, the story will certainly plague the star of such films as “Basic Instinct” and “Casino” for a long time to come.
Ms. Elemen has accused Ms. Stone of harassment and wrongful termination, declaring that she was regularly the focus of hateful remarks aimed at her Filipino heritage. Her claims, filed with the Los Angeles County Superior Court this past Wednesday, detail years of abuse. Elemen describes Stone as openly disdainful of her Filipino ethnicity, claiming the actress told her she couldn’t speak to her children, because she didn’t want them learning a Filipino accent. The record declares that Stone actually equated being Filipino with being dumb, that she regularly derided Filipino food, and was incredibly dismissive of Elemen’s religious beliefs. Elemen claims Stone didn’t want her going to church, and actually went so far as to disallow her from reading the bible while in the Stone’s home, even if it was in her own bedroom.
In addition to the negative comments and unconstitutional rules, Elemen declared in the suit that Stone also often demanded that she work seven days a week, extending her hours during holidays or when Stone was out of town. But with all of those requirements, Stone refused to grant her overtime pay. In one instance, Stone found out that Elemen had taken overtime pay and demanded that she return the money, actually accusing her of theft. That incidence occurred early in 2011, and Elemen was fired just a month later, after she refused to return the overtime pay.
Ms. Stone’s representatives are having none of it. They went on record in a statement given to the Los Angeles times that they expect the court will find this suit to be completely without merit. They characterized Elemen as “disgruntled”, basically declaring she is hunting for any possible way to squeeze cash out of her blameless former boss. But after caring for Stone’s children either part or full time since 2006, it does seem strange that a longtime employee would fabricate such statements entirely. Time will tell how this suit is handled by both parties. Regrettably, even if the allegations are found to be true, chances are Ms. Elemen’s days as one of Los Angeles’ trusted Au Pairs are pretty much at an end.