the law

Judge Drops New York City Ballet From Nude Photo Lawsuit

Alexandra Waterbury launched a reckoning at the NYCB after she discovered nude photographs of herself and other women on her boyfriend’s computer. Photo: MediaPunch/Shutterstock/MediaPunch/Shutterstock

Two years after being named in a lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct and nude-photo sharing on its watch, a Manhattan judge has officially dismissed all claims against New York City Ballet, the New York Times reports. The judge also dismissed claims against two individual dancers named in the suit, Amar Ramasar and Zachary Catazaro. The lone claim that remains is one against a third dancer, Chase Finlay, for violating “a city administrative code prohibiting unlawful disclosure of an intimate image,” the Times also reports. The judge called Finlay’s alleged actions “deplorable,” but dismissed six other claims against him, which included assault. “New York City Ballet is pleased that the court recognized that the Company bears no responsibility in this matter,” a spokesperson for the company told Vulture.

At the center of the suit is Alexandra Waterbury, a ballerina who met Finlay after she had completed her training at the School of American Ballet and when he was a principal dancer at New York City Ballet. In 2018, Waterbury discovered nude photos of women, including herself, on Finlay’s computer, as well as a clip of her and Finlay having sex. Then a principal dancer at NYCB, Finlay appeared to have shared the images with friends, including other dancers. Ramasar allegedly shared nude photographs of a different dancer, not Waterbury. Finlay resigned from the company, while Ramasar and Catazaro were fired. The American Guild of Musical Artists contested these firings, and Ramasar was eventually reinstated pending mandatory counseling. Catazaro declined to return to the company.

From the New York Times:

But because Ms. Waterbury was never a student or employee of City Ballet — and she was not a student at the school at the time of the “unconsented-to recordings” or text exchanges — the judge found that the company did not shirk responsibility and dismissed claims of negligence against it. The judge also said the plaintiff did not bring forward specific allegations that the company had reason to know its employees had a propensity for such behavior, rejecting Ms. Waterbury’s claims of negligent hiring and retention at City Ballet.

Earlier in the year, Waterbury and her supporters became fixtures outside the Broadway Theatre, where Ramasar was playing Bernardo in Ivo van Hove’s production of West Side Story. Despite the protests, the production issued a statement saying that it stood fully behind Ramasar. Performances of the show, as with all of Broadway, have since halted due to the pandemic.

Waterbury “will continue to fight to protect New Yorkers from going through what she has,” her attorney said in a statement to the Times.

Vulture has edited this post to clarify the time of Waterbury and Finlay’s meeting.

Judge Drops New York City Ballet From Nude Photo Lawsuit