NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Explosive allegations have been levied against the New York City Ballet and one of its dancers, just days before its fall season gets underway.
A former ballet student has filed a lawsuit, claiming sexually explicit photos and videos of her were shared without her consent.
And she does not believe she’s the only victim, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported Wednesday.
Dancing has been her passion since she was 3 years old, but Alexandra Waterbury never dreamed that passion would lead to her nightmare, she says, involving the world-renowned New York City Ballet.
“I feel hopeless when trying to remember who I am because this has profoundly changed me as a person. I, myself, am lost,” Waterbury said.
The 19-year-old former student is suing the ballet and ex-boyfriend dancer Chase Finlay. She alleges the ballet fostered a “fraternity-like atmosphere,” where Finlay, along with other male dancers, employees and donors, shared sexually explicit images of her without her consent.
“These photos were the most embarrassing and degrading thing I have ever faced in my life,” Waterbury said.
She said she and Finlay had been dating for about a year, when back in May she discovered the explicit photos on his laptop. She said she had no idea he even took them.
Waterbury and her attorney said they initially told the ballet in June what she discovered, but nothing, to their knowledge, was immediately done. They said this is not an isolated case.
“We expect that we have just scratched the surface,” attorney Jordan Merson said.
The lawsuit alleges the ballet is a “breeding ground for sexual exploitation and degradation,” where male dancers and others are allowed to objectify and abuse women.
Texts about the women presented in the lawsuit not only include explicit photos, but also messages, including, “I bet we could tie some of them up and abuse them … like farm animals,” to which Finlay allegedly responded, “Or like the sluts they are.”
All of this comes after longtime ballet leader Peter Martins retired back in January in the midst of a sexual misconduct investigation against him. He denied the charges.
Finlay’s attorney had no comment on the lawsuit. Waterbury said despite what happened, she’s still performing. In fact, she danced this summer with an all-female company, a much healthier atmosphere than what she claims is the norm at the New York City Ballet.