Amar Ramasar accused of sharing lewd photos of female dancers
There have been street protests outside the buzzy new production of “West Side Story” because cast member Amar Ramasar is currently being sued for allegedly sharing explicit pictures of female ballet dancers with his male pals, one of whom bragged in text messages that they could “abuse them.. like farm animals.”
A group of demonstrators picketed outside the Broadway Theatre last weekend, and we’re told there are more planned for this weekend.
Meanwhile, the show is taking heat online with people leaving comments on show’s official Instagram account including, “I’m sure his understudy is just as good and isn’t an a**hole,” and “we stand with victims in 2020, hello.”
Ballerina Alexandra Waterbury has accused Ramasar, as well as several others, in a civil suit of allegedly trading lewd text messages about her and female colleagues while Ramasar was a dancer with the New York City Ballet. One text sent on the group chat by one of the men allegedly reads, “I bet we could tie some of them up and abuse them … like farm animals.”
The defendants are all trying to dismiss the case. Ramasar was fired from the NYCB September 2018, but an arbiter from the American Guild of Musical Artists later ruled that he be reinstated in April 2019.
A Change.org petition to get Ramasar — who is playing leader of the Sharks gang, Bernardo — offstage currently has more than 24,000 signatures.
“I think it sends a bad message to not only victims, but their abusers,” Waterbury tells us of Ramasar’s casting. “I think it shows that, at least, in the theater industry and dance world they don’t have to be held accountable. I think it furthers the silence of victims.”
Waterbury tells us that she “got lucky in my case because there was so much proof” but that “with usual sexual assault cases its normally someone’s word against someone elses. Even with the proof. . . [there is still] a lack of accountability from these institutions. It’s sad.”
But reps for the musical tell us, “Mr. Ramasar is a member in good standing of his union, Actors Equity, and is an exemplary member of the ‘West Side Story’ company.” The added, “he will be on stage as Bernardo on opening night.” The show is in previews and will open February 20.