Two former Sacramento Kings dancers sue team's choreographer

The Sacramento Kings allegedly retaliated against two former members of their dance troupe after they accused the team's choreographer of sexual harassment, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The dancers, who filed as Jane Doe 1 and 2 in Sacramento County, California, Superior Court, said that their complaints about Matthew Day were not addressed and that they were both not invited back to this season's squad.

The suit names the Kings and Day as defendants.

Doe 1 reported her claims to the team's human resources department, while Doe 2 made a complaint to dance team coach Kristina Marquez, who forwarded it to human resources, according to the lawsuit.

Doe 1 said that she saw Day "inappropriately touching other dancers" and that he "would place his hands near or on their bottom of the dancers' backs, near or on their buttocks."

Day denied having ever sexually harassed any dancer.

He did recall one practice when he had dancers doing a "meditative" routine.

"I walked around and I adjusted peoples' stretches, 'So move your foot here, push down this way,' just like any other dance instructor would do, in any other time, in any other place," Day said Tuesday.

"And then at some point, somehow, somebody decided that I was a threat and decided they wanted to try to weaponize that against me," he said.

Doe 2 said that she had told Day she wasn't interested in his offers to get her a job outside the Kings organization but that he went on to send pictures of her "to a third-party promotions company without her consent," the lawsuit says.

Day declined to say whether he forwarded pictures of a dancer without her permission.

He also characterized his role with the Kings as an outside consultant rather than as a choreographer.

He said the team asked him to offer advice about how to make the dance troupe a "more professional space" that would lead to more "professional opportunities" for dancers.

Both women claim in the civil suit that they were not selected for the 2023-24 squad in "retaliation for" their "complaints about" Day.

The Kings said in a statement: “While we have not been served, we are aware of the recent filing. We take all allegations of harassment seriously. The organization does not comment on active litigation.”

Day said that the dance team has a new coach and that he's no longer involved with the troupe.

"They have the ball rolling with the new coach, and she's doing a phenomenal job," he said.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Ron Zambrano, said the situation was "an absolutely stunning case of management at the Sacramento Kings turning a blind eye to Day’s lecherous and illegal behavior."

Day vehemently denied he made any sexual advances toward dancers or acted unprofessionally on the job.

“That’s absolutely insane; that's crazy," he said. “I did not do anything of the sort."

Diana Dasrath reported from Los Angeles and David K. Li from New York City.

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