A former 76ers dancer said she was subjected to verbal abuse, often featuring race-related taunts, during her tenure with the NBA franchise and shared videos apparently sent to her by a fellow dancer to back up her claim.
Yahne Coleman, who is Black, wrote in a detailed Instagram post that her complaints regarding the work environment around the dance team were ignored by upper management.
“[Other dancers] would move my things into the bathroom stall for me to get ready for games,” Coleman wrote. “They would make fun of my pictures in a group chat, talking about my black features and send me videos threatening my safety.”
Thank you @treysongz , @hollywoodunlocked and you amazing people showing me support. I was scared to release this because I was bullied and racially targeted by my 76ers NBA teammates and former Teammates. I went to my coach Dayna Haftez and the Sixers organization crying out for help so many times. I sent the video above of me being racially profiled, bullied and threatened to my coach Dayna Haftez, Debbie Alpalucci, Lara Price the 76ers Senior Vice President of Business and HR seeking help. Nothing was done. They would move my things into the bathroom stall for me to get ready for games. They would make fun of my pictures in a group chat, talking about my black features and send me videos threatening my safety. I did not want them to run me away from a dream I always wanted to accomplish so I tried my hardest to remain strong through it all. I went through this for 3 years. When I auditioned for my 4th year this group of girls called me the night before on the phone saying “your BLACK ass will not be coming back”. I still went to the tryouts and unfortunately that was the end of my 76ers dance team career. It didn’t stop there. They proceeded to harass me by calling and leaving hateful racial videos saying they would come to the slums of West Philly Ghetto and physically harm me. I’m not from the ghetto and never lived in the ghetto but because I’m black they decided to say this laughing and giggling. They went around asking about me, finding out where I worked and called my employment saying things to get me fired. I would hate for this group of women who are still working and connected to the @sixers @philadelphiaflyers to hurt another young talented black girl. Sadly, I let this racial bullying incident from this group of women deter me from my dancing career. The women who racially bullied me – Annie Weiss aka Annie Fuhrman her pages @ mommycanyou @ projectstillhuman, Nicole Vernile Current Captain @76ersent , Kerri McDonald Current Dance Coach @76ersent , Danielle Dematteo @philadelphiaflyers Dance Coach, Malinda Ruth , Erica Hammel , Val Dematteo , Julie Kaskiw, Lauren Schwer, Krystal Almora aka Krystal Gregorio @KrystalAlmora , Coach Dayna Hafetz
A post shared by Yahné Coleman (@yahneofficial) on
Musical artist Trey Songz shared Coleman’s post to his own Instagram page, helping it gain widespread attention. The 76ers now say they are investigating Coleman’s claims.
“We take this situation very seriously,” wrote the 76ers in a statement to NBC Sports Philadelphia. “We intend to investigate this matter immediately and remain committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and equality.”
Coleman worked as a dancer for the 76ers for three years. She said she was denied a role with the team entering what would have been her fourth year on the job.