A former ballet student is suing New York City Ballet for creating a "frat-like" environment that led her boyfriend, a principal dancer with the company, to share naked pictures and videos of her in intimate situations with fellow dancers, NYC Ballet employees and donors.

The complaint was filed on behalf of Alexandra Waterbury, against NYC Ballet and her former boyfriend Chase Finlay, and alleges, "For several years, defendant New York City Ballet, Inc. has condoned, encouraged, fostered, and permitted an environment where its agents, servants, employees, donors, principals, and/or others affiliated with it abused, degraded and mistreated alcohol, drugs and women. This fraternity-like atmosphere permeates the Ballet and its dancers and emboldens them to disregard the law and violate the basic rights of women."

In late August, the ballet announced that Finlay had left the company, while two other principals, Amar Ramasar and Zachary Catazaro were suspended. The NY Times reported, "In a statement, Charles W. Scharf, chairman of the City Ballet board, said the company had several weeks ago 'received a letter alleging inappropriate communications made via personal text and email by three members of the company.' The letter did not come from someone in the company, and the communications were 'personal in nature.' But, after an investigation, the company 'determined that each man had violated the norms of conduct that New York City Ballet expects from its employees.'"

Waterbury and Finlay met at NYC Ballet—she was a student and he was a principal—and had been dating for a year. According to the lawsuit, Waterbury found out on May 15 of this year that Finlay "had been secretly recording and saving explicit photographs and videos of her while she was without clothing and/or while the two were engaged in sexual activities." She also discovered that they had been shared with many other people. The lawsuit maintains that Waterbury never consented to any of the photographs.

The lawsuit details instances of Finlay's texts. In September 2017, he allegedly sent a naked picture of her to colleagues, writing, "You have any pictures of girls you've f*cked?" which started a group text of them sharing explicit photos. Then, in May, he is accused of sharing another photo, and weeks later, Ramasar texted him, "I love you! Text me those photos/videos!! ;)" Finlay allegedly complied, sending "one 'live' (i.e. short-second video burst)" of him and Waterbury engaged in a sexual act, then demanded that Ramasar send one in exchange. After they shared multiple images of various Ballet members, Finlay allegedly wrote, "Already seen that one. I know you have more."

The lawsuit also claims that Finlay asked another male NYC Ballet principal for explicit photographs of a female ballet member. He also allegedly texted with a donor who suggested they just "violate" female members—"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."

Finlay also allegedly talked about how he could sell recordings of Waterbury engaged in sexual acts.

While Finlay's alleged actions are recounted in the lawsuit, the complaint also repeatedly draws attention to how NYC Ballet allowed this kind of behavior to "fester," resulting in "serious and severe psychological and emotional distress, mental anguish, embarrassment, and humiliation" for Waterbury, with her being confined to her bed at home "and/or various medical institutions." The organization is also accused of turning a blind eye to other claims of sexual assault and not taking substance abuse issues seriously (allegedly allowing a male principal to return to work a week after the police were called for a domestic violence incident), sending the message "to Mr. Finlay and other NYC Ballet Inc. male dancers and others that it was acceptable to NYC Ballet Inc. to abuse substances and degrade, demean, dehumanize, and sexually abuse, assault and batter women."

Waterbury is suing both NYC Ballet and Finlay for intentional affliction of emotional distress, assault, and battery. Her attorney, Jordan Merson, said, "This lawsuit is to hold accountable those responsible for the unknowing and unlawful dissemination of Ms. Waterbury's most private and intimate images. Today, Ms. Waterbury is standing up to those who have degraded and humiliated her."

Update: NYC Ballet released a statement, "New York City Ballet is confident that there is no basis for this lawsuit, and vehemently denies the allegations that the Company has condoned, encouraged, or fostered the kind of activity that Mr. Finlay and the others named have participated in, which were off-hours activities that were not known, approved, or facilitated by NYCB. Despite that, once NYCB was made aware of the allegations we investigated them and found that the actions had violated the Company’s norms of conduct, and immediate and appropriate action was taken. NYCB learned of this matter directly from the plaintiff’s attorney, Jordan Merson, in June of this year. Merson had contacted NYCB to try to negotiate a payment from the Company to settle the matter to avoid adverse publicity, but NYCB refused the demand. NYCB has no liability for the actions specified in the complaint and has taken the appropriate disciplinary actions for the dancers involved."

Merson countered, "This lawsuit has nothing to do with Ms. Waterbury's rebuffed attempt to obtain peace and closure with the Ballet, and has nothing to do with the Ballet 'avoiding adverse publicity' and has everything to do with her seeking redress from the Ballet. The suggestion by the Ballet that Ms. Waterbury’s claims are not meritorious further strengthens her resolve to vindicate her rights in this lawsuit."