Alexandra Waterbury protests outside a February preview performance of "West Side Story" on Broadway in New York.

Protests against a star of 'West Side Story' on Broadway reveal a #MeToo saga that's not what you might expect

Updated 4:05 AM ET, Sat March 7, 2020

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New York (CNN)A revival of "West Side Story" has been roiled in protests as one of its stars faces renewed heat for admittedly exchanging nude images of two women years ago without their consent.

For the past several weeks, protesters have gathered ahead of performances at the Broadway Theatre in Manhattan's Times Square District, where the musical recently opened. They carry signs that read, "Boo Bernardo" and "Keep Predators Off The Stage."
Their target is Amar Ramasar, who plays Bernardo, one of the lead roles.
Amar Ramasar attends the National Dance Institute Annual Gala in 2018 in New York.
Ramasar admitted in 2018 to receiving nude images of Alexandra Waterbury, one of the protesters, from a fellow New York City Ballet dancer.
Ramasar, 38, responded with nude images of his own girlfriend, Alexa Maxwell, he also acknowledged. The women, who are also ballet dancers, were unaware at the time that the photos had been exchanged, they told CNN.
Since the #MeToo movement took hold in 2017, the pattern of escalating accusations has become familiar, repeating itself across multiple industries with the aim of holding accountable those allegedly involved in sexual misconduct and those who cover it up.
    But here is where this story splits.
    Alexandra Waterbury attends a "Green Book" screening in 2018 in New York.
    Maxwell, 25, is still in a relationship with Ramasar and maintains that she has forgiven him. She argues that because he sent images only of her, she is the only one who can label herself his victim -- and she doesn't see herself that way, she told CNN.
    "I am a huge supporter of the #MeToo movement and women," Maxwell said. "But in this particular case, if Amar was to be 'Me Tooed,' in a sense, I think that I would have to be the one to 'Me Too' him, and I'm not doing that."
    Waterbury, 22, began protesting against Ramasar outside the new show because she considers both herself and Maxwell victims. The ballet star, she said, must face judgment for his role in the photo exchange, whether it is civil liability, criminal prosecution or being forced out of "West Side Story" and the dance world altogether, she said.
    "People have been blacklisted for less," Waterbury said. "And then somebody who's been proven, and has admitted and his girlfriend has admitted that he did this without consent -- why is he allowed to continue?"
    The women's postures highlight some of the murkier aspects of the #MeToo effort, from the varying degrees of sexual misconduct -- particularly in the digital age -- to the limits of forgiveness and who can carry the movement's mantle.

    A forgiving partner becomes an online target

    The New York City Ballet fired Ramasar in fall 2018 over the nude image-sharing scandal, but Ramasar later was reinstated after a union disputed the termination and he agreed to undergo counseling for standards of conduct, according to the ballet company.
    Ramasar's lawyer described his client's actions as a "mistake." The dancer "understands that his actions have been disruptive to many people, and he takes full responsibility for them," attorney Lance Gotko told CNN.
    Alexa Maxwell of the New York City Ballet performs in 2015.
    Maxwell says she forgave Ramasar because he voluntarily confessed to her that he