Billionaire Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz has been accused of soliciting “sexual favours” from an underage ballerina.
In 2021, a number of aspiring American ballerinas filed a lawsuit alleging they were sexually abused by their dance teacher Mitchell Taylor Button as minors. His wife was also implicated.
Earlier this month, Button and his wife filed a third-party counterclaim stating while they had entered into a consensual relationship with one of the ballerinas when she was eighteen, other men had solicited “sexual favours” from her when she was not yet of legal age. Katz was one of the men named in the claim.
As the CBC reports, Katz is accused of paying then 17-year-old ballerina Sage Humphries $75,000 in exchange for sex. He was fifty-three at the time.
The lawsuit filed by Button and his wife alleges that Humphries was “literally a child prostitute to a billionaire,” and that “her mother assisted her in laundering the money she was paid and in trafficking her to Katz.”
None of the claims have been proven in court.
Included in the lawsuit are screenshots of text messages between Katz and Humphries, one of which shows Katz saying he would send her $50,000.
Regarding the payment, Katz said to Humphries, “Even though u r wise beyond your years given our respective ages it would be taken the wrong way.”
Katz’s lawyer Robert Klieger said the billionaire sent Humphries $75,000 for a project she had proposed to his film company, not payment for sexual favours. Klieger called the Buttons’ accusations “baseless and scurrilous.”
According to the CBC, the lawyers representing the ballerinas feel much the same, calling the third-party counterclaim a “meaningless sideshow.”
One lawyer suggested the Button’s behaviour is “typical of abusers facing serious litigation,” accusing them of trying to “distract from and distort the truth and weaponize the serious allegations of abuse that have been brought against them.”
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