NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s controversy on Broadway over one of the stars of a new production of the legendary musical “West Side Story.”
Protesters rallied outside the theater Friday night, demanding the star be fired.
In 2017, Alexandra Waterbury made a disturbing discovery on her then-boyfriend’s computer, who was a principal dancer with New York City Ballet, and whom she met while a student at its affiliate School of American Ballet.
“I came to find out that he had secretly photographed and videotaped us having sexual interactions or exchanges and he ended up sending them to all of his friends,” she told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.
Waterbury says she found the three male dancers with the ballet had been sharing around similarly explicit photos of more than a dozen other ballerinas.
New York City Ballet terminated those male dancers as a result, but their decision was challenged by the dancers’ union and the ballet was forced to reinstate them. A couple months later, one of those men was cast in the Broadway revival of “West Side Story.”
“This is setting the precedent that abusing women is OK and that you won’t be held accountable,” Waterbury said.
“I would honestly love to see that everyone in every cast is ensured to feel safe,” one protester said.
A petition to remove him from the cast has been signed more than 25,000 times.
“It’s a terrible example to be set on a place that’s always been my dream,” another protester said.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office also investigated. In a statement, a spokesperson told CBS2, “All of the messages containing explicit images found during the investigation were sent before ‘revenge porn’ was criminalized in New York City.”
Revenge porn was criminalized only five months later.
The statement went on to say, “What happened to Ms. Waterbury is terrible” and “we would have prosecuted if we could.”
Waterbury is hoping to bring attention to what she believes is an industry-wide issue.
“I don’t understand why people who are fighting for good things get blacklisted and then abusers are being rewarded,” she said.
A spokesman for “West Side Story” defends their actor, saying he “is an exemplary company member and is a member in good standing of Actors’ Equity.”