has been accused of sexual harassment by an ex-employee of Golden State Warriors. Erika Ross Smith filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ellis on Wednesday in which she alleged that the star guard sent her “unwanted text messages” besides sending her a “picture of his genitals.”
"Hey Sexy," and "I want to be with you," were two of the several text messages Erika Ross Smith alleged Smith sent her. According to Smith, who worked in the team's community relations department, she would often respond, "What do you want?" or "I am sleeping."
"On a micro level, my client has endured unwanted harassment, has suffered and continues to suffer emotional distress and trauma," Smith’s lawyer, Burt Boltuch, told reporters. "On a macro level, this type of conduct, especially in the sports world, must stop. She was embarrassed. She was intimidated. She felt scared and helpless."
Erika Ross Smith has also filed a lawsuit against the Warriors. In legal documents, she has claimed that the Warriors changed her job title and that she was finally laid off following the discovery of the text messages by Ellis' wife.
She further claimed that she protested against the decision to team officials in January. Smith has accused the Warriors of illegally terminating her, reprisal and deliberately inflicting her of emotional suffering. Besides, she is seeking undetermined compensation for damages.
Meanwhile the Warriors have denied the accusations, saying Monta Ellis and Ross Smith had a consensual association.
When asked about the allegations at a charity event, Ellis only said that his team had already replied.
"It's a legal matter, we'll let it play its course," Ellis told KTVU-TV. "Y'know, what happens, happens."
According to Rick Welts, president and CEO of the Warriors, they are taking the accusations seriously. However, he clearly said that the team never took unsuitable actions against Smith.
"When we were made aware of a consensual relationship between Mr. Ellis and the plaintiff, we did what an organization should do. We told both to stop -- promptly, directly and fairly," Welts said. "The Warriors have never taken any action against the plaintiff for any inappropriate reason, and we deny the allegations she is making."
Ellis signed a $66 million worth 6-year contract with the Warriors in 2008. He was the Warriors' top scorer the previous season besides being chosen as the NBA's most improved player in 2007.