The LA Kings have suspended the man who plays the team mascot, Bailey. Tim Smith, who is also the manager of game presentation and events for the team, is facing allegations of sexual harassment from a fellow team employee. He will remain away from the Kings while the organization investigates the serious allegations.
According to TMZ, an unnamed female employee filed a lawsuit last week while using the alias Jane Doe. She claims that Smith was repeatedly inappropriate toward her and that he made sexually-charged comments and "leered at her breasts and buttocks." Additionally, she alleged that he repeatedly made crude jokes and that she made it clear that the advances were unwanted. The alleged victim claims that Smith retaliated by firing her.
In the lawsuit, Doe claims that a team official "begged" her to come back to the team and promised to "shield her" from Smith, who also manages the Ice Crew. Once she returned to the team, however, she claims that the inappropriate behavior continued. This behavior includes an incident where Smith allegedly put his crotch in her face while making inappropriate comments and thrusting his hips.
Doe said that she ran out of the room and quit the team for good after the alleged incident in the mascot locker room. Now she is reportedly suing Smith, the Kings and ownership group AEG and is seeking more than $1 million in damages. The Kings later released a statement and said that the organization is taking the allegations seriously.
"We are aware of the recently-filed lawsuit alleging misconduct by one of our employees," the team said in a statement. "The LA Kings take these allegations very seriously and, as an organization, we believe that everyone has the right to work in an environment free from any form of harassment or discrimination. We will conduct a thorough investigation into this matter. The employee in question has been suspended, effective immediately, pending the conclusion of that investigation. We are withholding any further comment at this time."
According to ABC News, Smith has been a member of the Kings organization since 2007. He previously faced a lawsuit for harassment in 2017. A man alleged that Smith grabbed his buttocks during an elevator ride. The alleged victim, Maso Griffin, claimed that he was fired from his job as a dishwasher after complaining to his human resources director. Melissa Smith, the HR director for Levy Restaurants, is married to Smith. This lawsuit was settled in July 2018.