John Travolta sought to resolve the cruise ship sex scandal case brought by a former cruise line employee by going to closed-door arbitration. But a federal judge ruled in California Friday that a sailor’s lawsuit against the 58 year-old “Grease” star, which asserts that John Travolta sexually assaulted him on the cruise ship, will not be forced to go to arbitration as Travolta’s attorneys had requested, according to Radar Online today.
Fabian Zanzi filed suit in June of last year claiming John Travolta disrobed in front of him, and then forcibly embraced him. Zanzi was in charge of VIP guests on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship in 2009.
Zanzi is suing the actor for assault, battery and infliction of emotional distress, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Reports differ on details, some saying Travolta offered Zanzi $12,000 to have sex with him, while others say the money was offered after the incident as hush money.
Travolta’s attorney, Marty Singer, attempted to use the fine print on the back of the cruise ship ticket as a binding agreement to send the case to arbitration. In this case, they claimed that the “Cruise Tour Ticket Contract” stipulates that any dispute involving a passenger and a cruise line employee go to arbitration.
Travolta’s attorneys argued unsuccessfully that when a person buys a ticket they are bound by the conditions listed on the back. The obvious advantages to the arbitration are that potentially embarrassing details of the case are not made part of a public record, and the case is often resolved much quicker than if litigated at a trial.
Boiled down, Judge Stephen Wilson ruled that the contract was between Caribbean and Travolta, and there is no evidence that Caribbean was authorized to bind employee Fabian Zanzi to the “Cruise Tour Ticket Contract”.
This ruling is definitely a legal setback for John Travolta, who has long been hounded by rumors that he is gay.