Were Instagram Photos too Racy for the University of Cincinnati?
A local Dallas woman has filed a lawsuit against the University of Cincinnati and the school’s volleyball coach after she was fired from the team for posting photos on Instagram that were said to be “too sexy. Just last week, former University of Cincinnati volleyball player Shalom Ifeanyi filed a lawsuit, accusing the coach and school of blatant racial and sex-based discrimination. In documents obtained from the court, 19-year-old Ifeanyi says she was ordered to delete Instagram photos by the volleyball team’s coach, Molly Alvey.
The incident dates back to June 2017 when Alvey called out one of Ifeanyi’s pictures on the popular social media platform, telling her to remove it because it was too sexual in nature. Ifeanyi claims that Alvey told her, “when football players see this, what do you think they see? They see your breasts. It’s seductive.”
At the time, Ifeanyi complied with her coach’s request, deleting the photo before leaving a team meeting. In text messages provided to the court, Ifeanyi showed that Alvey continued to bring up the subject, texting her days later and demanding her to remove additional photos from her account.
At this point, Ifeanyi stood up to her coach, telling Alvey she felt she “was being body-shamed and treated differently than her teammates.” The 19-year-old volleyball player pointed out that numerous other women on the team had posted pictures of themselves in swimsuits, yet they were not asked to delete anything. This is a very obvious example of racial and sex discrimination, as the suit says Ifeanyi’s teammates were of a “slighter build and lighter complexion.”
Sex-Based and Racial Discrimination Not To Be Tolerated
This last year has been a very eye-opening and tumultuous one for many reasons, but namely because of the fact that sexual misconduct and discrimination are finally getting the attention deserved. Unfortunately, cases like Ifeanyi’s happen far too common, often without any repercussion. Thanks in large part to #MeToo and #TimesUp, this type of discrimination is being brought into the spotlight. Ifeanyi makes note that she felt “sexualized”, stating: “there’s a history of black women because of their bodies being sexualized and that’s what appears to be happening to me.”
According to the suit, coach Alvey did not respond to Ifeanyi’s text message that she felt she was being discriminated against, but she did tell the player she had received her message. Approximately a week after the exchange, Ifeanyi was called into the coach’s office and let go from the team based on “different philosophies.”
This case is a perfect example of why it is important for women to stand up and take action. While in the past, some may not have perceived this type of interaction and behavior as sexual harassment and discrimination, it most certainly is. Attorney Janovsky is committed to reforming sexual harassment and the way in which women are treated in a wide range of settings. While more than 18,000 people have signed an online petition asking the university to fire Alvey, no official action has been taken.
If you find yourself in a similar situation as Ifeanyi’s – or another scenario where you feel discriminated against or harassed – please contact Janovsky and Associates today. Our Dallas sexual harassment lawyers will stand up for you and help you fight this type of blatant, inappropriate behavior.