Two former members of the Sacramento Kings dance group have accused the team’s choreographer of sexual harassment and claimed they were retaliated against when they spoke up about his "inappropriate" behavior, according to a lawsuit filed in Sacramento County Superior Court on Tuesday.
The NBA team and the dance troupe’s choreographer, Matthew Day, are named as defendants in the lawsuit. The dancers who filed it are not named and referred to as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2.
Both women were hired as dancers in the summer of 2022, according to the lawsuit. Doe 1 said she witnessed Day inappropriately touching other dancers throughout her employment, including “stretching them without consent” and “would place his hand near or on the bottom of the dancers' backs, near or on their buttocks.”
Doe 2 claimed she overheard dance partners complain about Day touching them inappropriately.
The women said they became both fearful and uncomfortable around the choreographer based on his behavior toward other dancers.
Doe 1 said she sent an email to their human resources department to inform them about Day’s alleged inappropriate behavior during the dance practices. She also said other dancers spoke to the department about their concerns.
But Doe 1 said human resources only told her they would “address the matter,” adding that nothing changed.
Doe 2 said she made a complaint to the dance team’s coach, Kristina Marquez, about Day allegedly sending her Instagram photos to a third-party promotion company without her consent. Marquez forwarded the concerns to human resources, but Doe 2 alleged no action was taken in response.
Both auditioned for the following season but claimed they were not selected for various reasons. In the civil suit, the women said they believed they were not rehired because they brought up their concerns about Day.
In an interview with local newspaper The Sacramento Bee, Day called the allegations “lies” and said “all of this is false.”
“There was no retaliation against anybody for any reason,” Day said to The Sacramento Bee.
The Kings provided the following statement to the newspaper: “We take all allegations of harassment seriously. The organization does not comment on active litigation.”
Both women are seeking unspecified damages including unpaid wages and loss of earnings, as well as damages related to emotional stress.
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