Last August it went public that Orange is the New Black star Dascha Polanco was facing assault charges against a teenager. Polanco, 33, has finally gone public to reveal the actual story about the ordeal which nearly costed her her career.
The charges arose last summer, when Polanco was contacted by the NYPD for allegedly attacking then-17-year-old, Michelle Cardona, a neighbor in her Washington Height apartment. Cardona alleged the OITNB actress struck her “about the face and head with a closed fist at least three times, pull[ed] Ms. Cardona’s hair, and [struck] Ms. Cardona’s arms,” according to the New York Post. Under the counsel of her attorney Polanco went to the police precinct, believing she’d be issued a ticket and have the charges dismissed, but what transpired was a spiraling eight month legal ordeal.
Per the NY Post:
By last August, her real-life drama rivaled anything in a script. For months, Polanco says, Cardona harassed the actress — “approaching people who knew me saying, ‘Tell her to give us this amount and we’ll drop [the charges].’ ”
In all, the actress alleges there were six requests for $5,000 to $6,000. Finally, a friend of Polanco’s taped Cardona on the phone.
“She said that she wanted money for plastic surgery: ‘I wanna get ass and titties,’ ” Polanco recalls.
Polanco did not reveal what actually occurred on the day of the alleged incident, but has vehemently denied the allegations. Sources have stated that whatever happened, occurred because Polanco’s then-fiancé had been seeing the 17-year-old, and she showed up to the actress’ residence on the date in question looking for him.
The alleged incident was ill-timed, in that Polanco was only weeks away from the premiere of her first feature film appearance, playing alongside Jennifer Lawrence in the Golden Globe-winning drama, Joy.
The publicity surrounding the incident damaged her reputation, with many companies refusing to drape the actress with clothes and jewelry for red carpet events.
“[Brands] would say, ‘We can’t work with you until this clears up,’ ” she says, naming jewelry designer David Yurman as one who wouldn’t loan to her anymore. The actress also says that she lost out on lucrative national fashion campaigns that were already in negotiations.
Luckily, Polanco is seemingly in the clear, as two weeks ago, the Manhattan district attorney dropped the charges, with the stipulation of her avoiding arrest for six months. “That day wasn’t a celebration,” she told The Post of her last court appearance. “It was a life lesson. Only the ones that build your trust deserve your love and affection.”
Orange is the New Black returns on Netflix on June 17.