Two male principle dancers Amar Ramasar and Zachary Catarazo of the NYC Ballet Company were fired on Saturday following accusations that they were part of a male ring of dancers who shared nude photos and videos of women, according to NBC New York.
Ramasar, Catarazo and a third dancer, Chase Finlay, who resigned last month, are all part of the ongoing investigation following a lawsuit filed by Alexandra Waterbury.
Waterbury, who dated Finlay, filed a lawsuit against NYC Ballet after she was made aware that Finlay shared explicit videos and photos of her taken without her knowledge or consent with other men, as well as dancers employed by the company.
Woman files lawsuit against NYC Ballet Company
In her lawsuit, Waterbury accused the ballet company of allowing a “fraternity-like atmosphere” where male dancers thought “they could degrade, demean, mistreat and abuse, assault and batter women without consequence.”
The lawsuit prompted NYC Ballet Company to open an investigation sharing that they were not aware of the inappropriate behavior and did not condone such behaviors.
Both Ramasar and Catarazo were placed on paid leave before being fired with Finlay resigning.
“I am shocked and deeply saddened by the New York City Ballet’s decision to fire me,” Ramasar said Saturday in a statement. “I am an honest and honorable person, and have always treated everyone, including my colleagues, staff, friends and others at NYCB, with the upmost respect.”
City Ballet executive director Katherine Brown and interim artistic team leader Jonathan Stafford both issued a statement about the nude photo accusations.
“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.”
Both male dancers plan to challenge NYC Ballet Company firing
Both Ramasar and Catarazo plan to fight with the support of their union.
“Based on all the information received from the company, the allegations relate entirely to non-work-related activity and do not rise to the level of ‘just cause’ termination,” the American Guild of Musical Artists said in a statement. Adding, “As AGMA would do for any of its members, we will soon be filing for arbitration to enforce our members’ employment rights.”
The NYC Ballet Company will move forward with the opening of their new season next week with just 11 principle dancers.