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Two former Sacramento Kings dancers file suit against team choreographer

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LOS ANGELES — The Sacramento Kings allegedly retaliated against two former members of their dance troupe after accusing the team’s choreographer of sexual harassment, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The dancers, who filed their complaints under the names Jane Doe 1 and 2 in Sacramento County Superior Court, said their complaints about Matthew Day were not addressed before they were both invited to return to this season’s team.

The Kings NBA team and Day were named as defendants by the unidentified dancers.

Doe 1 reported her complaints to the team’s human resources department while Doe 2 filed a complaint with dance team coach Kristina Marquez, who forwarded it to human resources, according to the lawsuit.

Doe 1 said she saw Day “touching other dancers inappropriately” and “placing his hands near or on the dancers’ lower backs, near or on their buttocks.”

Day denied sexually harassing a dancer.

He recalled a practice where he had dancers perform a “meditative” routine.

“I walked around and adjusted people’s stretches, ‘So move your foot here, push in this direction,’ just like any other dance teacher would do, at any other time, at any time. ‘any other place,’ Day said Tuesday.

“And then at some point, somehow, someone decided that I was a threat and decided to try to use it as a weapon against me.”

Doe 2 said she told Day she wasn’t interested in his offers to find her a job outside the Sacramento Kings, but he then sent photos of her “to a third-party promotional company without his consent,” according to the lawsuit. .

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

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

He said the team asked him to give advice on how to make the dance troupe a “more professional space” that would lead to more “professional opportunities” for dancers.

Both women said they were not selected for the 2023-24 team in “retaliation” for their “complaints about” Day, according to the civil suit.

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

Day said the Kings dance team has a new coach and is no longer involved with the troupe.

“They got the ball rolling with the new coach and she’s doing a phenomenal job,” he said.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Ron Zambrano, called the situation “an absolutely stunning case of Sacramento Kings management turning a blind eye to Day’s lewd and illegal behavior.”

Day vehemently denied making sexual advances toward dancers or acting unprofessionally at work.

“It’s absolutely insane, it’s crazy,” he said. “I did no such thing.”

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

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