Oilers owner Katz accused of paying 17-year-old dancer for sex in Nevada civil lawsuit

Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz denies ever paying an underage dancer $75,000 for “sexual favors,” as alleged in a civil lawsuit filed earlier this month in Nevada.

The suit is a counterclaim filed by a prominent dancer and her husband, Dusty and Mitchell Button, in response to allegations that they committed sexual offenses against young dancers under their tutelage.

Instead, the Buttons argue that they are the victims of a coordinated attack aimed at ruining their reputations, alleging that Sage Humphries, the initial whistleblower, was trafficked by her own parents to older men, including billionaire Katz.

In the court document, the couple’s attorneys call Humphries a victim of statutory rape, saying, “If Sage is truly the damaged flower she claims to be, the price must be paid, but it must be paid by those who actually engaged in unlawful acts.” . with her.”

The allegations are largely unsubstantiated in the lawsuit and remain unproven in court.

BACKGROUND

According to court documents, Humphries originally filed a complaint against Mitchell Button (also known by his middle name, Taylor) in the late summer of 2021, later adding Dusty Button as a defendant and several other dancers as complainants.

Dusty, who trained at the American Ballet Theater in New York and the Royal Ballet School in London, joined the Boston Ballet in 2012 and was soon promoted to principal dancer, the countersuit states. Before the allegations, she had amassed several hundred thousand followers online thanks to high-profile media attention and being named Red Bull’s first female dancer.

Her husband is a former ballet instructor who went on to manage his wife’s career and design and build custom cars.

In a Good Morning America interview in MayHumphries reiterated the accusation against Mitchell Button: after gaining control of a number of aspects of the young dancer’s life under the guise of manipulating her, she says he “raped” her for the first time during movie night.

In their countersuit, filed July 8, the Buttons say they had a “throuple” consensual sexual relationship with Humphries after she turned 18, which she initiated.

“The relationship between Sage and the Buttons appeared, at the time, to be one of mutual love, affection and respect,” the countersuit says.

It also says that Humphries “fabricated accounts of abuse and handed them over to the press to gain her own spotlight and false victimization to further her faltering career as a dancer.”

She and six other plaintiffs “brought this case for the specific purpose of destroying Dusty’s reputation in the dance world and Mitchell’s reputation in the automotive industry,” the claim continues.

The Buttons also allege that Humphries’ parents “insisted” that she live with them to save money, and knew of and approved of the dancer’s advances on the married couple in the belief that it would be beneficial to her career.

The court document paints Humphries’ parents as fame- and money-hungry manipulators who helped their daughter launder $75,000 Katz paid her.

ALLEGATIONS INVOLVING KATZ

The Buttons allege that Katz was just one of several older men who had a sexual relationship with Humphries, then 17, eight years ago. Katz is the only person accused of paying Humphries as a prostitute.

With the counterclaim came undated screenshots of text messages purportedly between Humphries and Katz.

A contact named “DK” with a 780 area code, the most widely used phone code in northern Alberta, writes that an account was opened with “25K.”

“I also told them to get your debit card and put some cash on it OR you wouldn’t buy anything… which I want you to do,” DK wrote in a text message.

In another text, DK asks, “If my guys send you funds, will you spend them or keep them?”

Undated screenshots of text messages purportedly between Humphries and Katz. (Court documents)

When Humphries, the Buttons allege, promises to keep it, DK asks him to keep the exchange private because “even though you’re smarter than your age given our respective ages, it would be misunderstood.”

Humphries replies, “Yeah… Just between us,” and DK replies, “Okay, one of my guys will email you. He’ll send you 50,000.”

Katz, who the countersuit says was 53 when he paid Humphries, is now 61.

His attorney, Robert Klieger, said Thursday that the NHL team owner denies the allegations, never had a sexual relationship of any kind with Humphries and never met the Buttons.

“Critically, the accusations against Mr. Katz are not made by Ms. Humphries. The accusations are made by the Buttons, whom Ms. Humphries and six other women have accused of exploiting their position of power and influence in the world of dance … to sexually abuse young female dancers across the country,” Klieger said in a statement.

“Their false accusations against him are a transparent and pathetic attempt to distract attention from the heinous acts of which they are accused.”

His team did not address the text messages Katz allegedly sent to Humphries.

From the messages, Humphries’ attorney he told NBC News on Thursday“I can’t say if they are legitimate at this point.”

Sigrid McCawley said that Humphries and Katz had a “business relationship,” not a sexual one.

The two “had been discussing film projects and that the dancer may have received money from the NHL executive in connection with that proposed business deal,” he told NBC News.

THE BUTTONS WANT DAMAGE

The Buttons do not say in the counterclaim how they obtained the texts or how they came to believe the money was paid as compensation for “sexual favors,” as they allege in their counterclaim.

They are asking to be compensated as their reputation has been “unfairly ruined”.

His attorney, Marc Randazza, denied CTV Edmonton’s request for an interview and more information, writing, “We are not interested in discussing this matter with the press.”

Randazza calls himself a “first amendment lawyer” and is known as a commentator on Infowars and for representing Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist who owns the show.

The Humphries’ attorney, Sigrid McCawley, said in a statement to CTV News that the Buttons’ countersuit “distracts and distorts the truth.”

“The counterclaims that the Buttons have falsely and recklessly filed implicate others, including Daryl Katz, and are a baseless attempt to portray the women they abused as liars,” McCawley said. “The women I represent who have bravely come forward are telling the truth. We are confident that the Buttons will be held accountable.”

In the spring, Humphries told Good Morning America that he had returned to the Boston Ballet, which he joined in 2017.

In a statement to CTV News, an NHL spokesperson said, “We learned this week of the civil lawsuit in which the defendants name Mr. Katz as a third party. Mr. Katz has informed us that he categorically denies the allegations. We are in the process of investigating the matter.

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