NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The New York City ballet has fired two male dancers accused of exchanging sexually explicit photos and videos of women.
Former ballet student 19-year-old Alexandra Waterbury sued the ballet and her ex-boyfriend, dancer Chase Finlay, earlier this month. She alleges the ballet fostered a “fraternity-like atmosphere,” where Finlay and other male dancers, employees and donor shared the images without her consent.
“I feel hopeless when trying to remember who I am because this has profoundly changed me as a person. I, myself, am lost,” Waterbury told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes in an interview. “These photos were the most embarrassing and degrading thing I have ever faced in my life.”
On Saturday, the ballet announced that primary dancers Zachary Catazaro and Amar Ramasar have been fired following an internal investigation. Finlay resigned earlier this month.
In a statement, the ballet said the men “engaged in inappropriate communications that, while personal, off-hours and off-site, had violated the norms of conduct that NYCB expects from its employees and were unacceptable.”
“We have no higher obligation than to ensure that our dancers and staff have a workplace where they feel respected and valued, and we are committed to providing that environment for all employees of New York City Ballet. We will not allow the private actions of a few to undermine the hard work and strength of character that is consistently demonstrated by the other members of our community or the excellence for which the Company stands,” the statement continued.
Waterbury told CBS2 that she and Finlay had been dating for about one year when she discovered the explicit images on his laptop. She said she had no idea they were taken.
Her lawsuit alleges the ballet was a “breeding ground for sexual exploitation and degradation.” Waterbury and her lawyer say they do not believe hers is an isolated case.
Texts presented in the lawsuit not only include the images, but also messages reading “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 New York City Ballet leader Peter Martins retired back in January amid a sexual misconduct investigation. He denied the allegations.