It seems that every week there’s a new story hitting the papers about some star or another becoming embroiled in litigation. To some extent it comes with the territory. The rich, famous and powerful often lead very public lives, and their every misstep is dissected for the world to see. Their paychecks also act as some serious motivation for people looking to take advantage and carve themselves out a little bit of that wealth. Famous actresses are regularly stalked, famous actors, musicians and politicians are frequently the focus of sexual harassment suits, and high profile CEOs are regularly brought down by accusations of fraud. These cases are sometimes very contentious, as with the nasty divorce proceedings between Kim Kardashian and her pro-basketballer ex. They’re also often quite bizarre, as seen in the recent accusations against John Travolta. But even run of the mill lawsuits get a ton of attention, as with the recent action against the actress Sharon Stone. A former nanny to her children recently filed a suit declaring wrongful termination and harassment, and the details paint a nasty picture of the actress best known for her dark turn in “Basic Instinct”.
According to the suit filed last Wednesday in LA’s superior Court, Stone’s former nanny, Erlinda Elemen, is seeking unspecified damages for claims that Stone made a series of disparaging remarks about her ethnicity and religion, and then fired her without cause. Representatives of Sharon Stone went on record saying the claims have no truth to them. But Elemen claims that Stone commented often about her heritage as a Filipino, and demanded that she not speak in the presence of Stone’s three children. According to Elemen’s statements, Stone did not want her children to speak with a Filipino accent.
The suit goes much further than that, claiming that Stone regularly criticized Elemen for her churchgoing ways, and on one particular occasion, Stone told Elemen she was not allowed to read the bible at her house, even in the privacy of her designated bedroom.
Elemen and Stone have a significant history together. She first began work with Stone six years ago, as an assistant nanny. In 2008 she was promoted to the position of head nanny, taking over primary care of Stone’s three children, four-year-old Quinn, six-year-old Laird and twelve-year-old Roan. According to the details of the lawsuit, Elemen was fired back in 2011, after Stone realized the nanny had been paid an overtime fee. According to Elemen, Stone demanded the overtime payments be returned, and actually alleged it was stolen money.
Stone’s representatives are having none of this, declaring loudly in the public forum that the case will show there is no proof of any of the nanny’s claims. The reps spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the issue, calling Elemen “disgruntled” and characterizing the suit as “absurd”. Time will tell what the truth of the matter is, although the system does tend to favor the individual with the financial resources to manage a prolonged legal battle. In the end, neither party will get away free of blame. People will continue to think negative things about Stone, and even if Elemen wins her suit, she’ll probably find it difficult to find another position in Los Angeles. Perhaps she’d be better served heading oversees to become an Au Pair in Britain, though there is nowhere on earth that the noise of the tabloids doesn’t reach.