Former director of a leading NY company being investigated for sexual misconduct

Nick Lazzarini has been pulled from his role as creative director for a tour of his theater company in support of an ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct, CNN has learned.

CNN had reported allegations of inappropriate contact involving Lazzarini and two women in a Nov. 16 article .

Excerpts of a lawsuit against the company, which CNN has chosen not to name, were made public by The New York Times on Sunday.

Yvonne Fisher — an actor who appeared in the theater company’s plays and movies — said in a Times article that Lazzarini had ordered a massage, and then forced his groin against her during the session. She said the incident was intended to leave a lasting mark on her body.

In September, a dance dancer who was part of a different company, Catalyst Dance Theater, filed a lawsuit against Catalyst in which she detailed a “repulsive and crude behavior” toward her from the theater’s then-director.

In the suit, Lily Murphy alleged that when she was 21, Lazzarini raped her in his office. She claims that although she rejected his advances, he used his power and influence to force her into sex at a hotel without her consent.

According to the lawsuit, Lazzarini also said he “almost died” while having sex with her, which she says was true.

CNN has also learned that Lazzarini is the subject of an inquiry by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, which has asked Catalyst to discuss the complaints about Lazzarini during a November meeting.

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination is charged with adjudicating complaints concerning employment and public accommodations.

The theater said it has provided the commission with access to personnel files from the company’s past. “The claims, if true, are totally and completely without merit,” Catalyst said in a statement.

CNN has reached out to Lazzarini for comment, but he has not yet responded.

A law firm hired by Catalyst has investigated Lazzarini in June of last year and provided its findings to the theater company. Those findings were turned over to Catalyst’s board of directors, who voted to suspend Lazzarini at the time.

Following the allegations against him, Lazzarini was allowed to return to work at Catalyst in late September of 2017.

Catalyst describes itself as the “New York City premiere company for dance and theater choreographers.”

CNN has also learned that after a 2011 article was published about Lazzarini in the Village Voice, which at the time produced an extensive feature about the choreographer, Lazzarini was let go by a major New York theater company where he had been a dancer.

Leave a Comment