A former member of the Philadelphia 76ers dance team shared a string of allegations in early July saying that other members of the team repeatedly bullied her. Yahne Coleman, a Black dancer who spent three seasons with the team, said that her fellow teammates "racially targeted her" and that the 76ers did nothing to help her. Coleman also alleged that several members of the dance team tried to prevent her from trying out for the fourth season.
Coleman released these series of allegations through an Instagram post by R&B singer Trey Songz. The post included a NSFW video in which former captain Annie Weiss, who was with the organization from 2006-2013, berates Coleman and threatens to find her in "whatever project you live in." The post also included a response from 76ers COO Lara Price. Coleman reached out to Price about the bullying and received an email that many said "glossed over" the issue.
"Yahne — Thank you for bringing the issue to my/our attention. We will promptly look into this," Price said in the email. "Can you also send me the best contact number for you as our HR and Legal team will want to reach out to discuss with you. Because we are about to depart for Labor Day weekend, we will be reaching out next week at the earliest. If you need to know anything in the interim, please let me know."
As part of the post, Coleman said that the dance team members sent her hateful texts, videos and phone calls based on her appearance and hair. She also alleged that the team would move her things into the bathroom stall prior to games. The former dance team member explained that she reached out to multiple figures in the 76ers organization but never received assistance.
The 76ers released a statement in response to the video and public outcry. The team said to The Philly Voice that the videos took place in 2016 and that the dance team member providing the derogatory comments left the organization years prior. However, the team declined to offer specifics about the persons questioned as part of the investigation.
"Tonight, we were made aware of social media posts involving former dance team members that contained insensitive, offensive and unacceptable remarks, as well as allegations of bullying and racist behavior," the team's statement read. "The videos, which were filmed in 2016, featured derogatory comments from a former dance team member who left the organization in 2013. We take this situation very seriously. We intend to investigate this matter immediately and remain committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and equality."