A year ago. Cruise Law News was the first one in the U.S. to report that a Royal Caribbean crew member, Fabian Zanzi, claimed that movie celebrity John Travolta sexually harassed and assaulted him during a cruise. We had first heard of the alleged incident several years ago from a crew member client who worked on Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas cruise ship.
We were told that a Royal Caribbean crew member claimed that Travolta came-on-to-him during a cruise on the Enchantment in 2009.
Zanzi's lawsuit claims that after he served Travolta room service, Travolta disrobed, "forcibly embracing" Zanzi while naked, and engaged in "nonconsensual, inappropriate, extreme and outrageous" contact.
Zanzi reported the incident to his supervisors at the cruise line. Royal Caribbean then punished Zanzi and kept him confined to his cabin. Travolta ended his cruise early and took a jet back to the U.S.
Travolta denied everything of course.
Travolta's lawyers responded to Zanzi's lawsuit by moving to dismiss it and to send the case to arbitration. This way Travolta could avoid the publicity of a jury trial. Arbitration usually results in lower damages awarded to the aggrieved party. This is how cruise lines respond to lawsuits by injured crew members.
But yesterday, the Hollywood news reporters said that Zanzi's lawsuit had been "dropped," after the parties had stipulated to a dismissal. Sounds to me like Travolta paid a settlement, after losing his arbitration motion, in order to avoid the prospect of all of his dirty laundry being aired out before a jury in Los Angeles. The parties probably agreed to keep the settlement terms secret. A good move by Travolta to put this spectacle to bed.
Meanwhile, Zanzi is proceeding with his claim against Royal Caribbean that it falsely imprisoned him in retaliation for reporting the alleged sexual harassment.
The Zanzi - Royal Caribbean false imprisonment claim is in arbitration, so there will be no jury trial for the Hollywood reporters to attend. My prediction is that eventually the cruise line will agree to a settlement, subject to a confidentiality agreement.
Then the case will end like it began, with everyone trying to keep what happens on cruise ships secret.
Photo credit - John Travolta - WENN