[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
As we previously reported, the ballet world was rocked last year when former Boston Ballet principal dancer Dusty Button (pictured above, right inset) and her husband Mitchell Taylor Button were sued for allegedly sexually assaulting seven dancers. Five of them were minors at the time of the alleged abuse, the youngest being 13 years old. Sage Humphries (pictured above, left) specifically claimed that the couple raped her on numerous occasions, even accusing Dusty of holding her down while Mitchell allegedly sexually assaulted her at gunpoint. The ballerina was only 17. She further accused them of sex trafficking in the lawsuit, stating:
“[The Buttons enticed Humphries] to cross state lines with [them] by using threats, intimidation, and the pretense that they would help further her career and professional development, in exchange for engaging in sex acts.”
It’s been a shocking legal case to say the least. But now, it looks like Dusty and Mitchell are sharing their side of the story — and it is absolutely wild, y’all!
Speaking with Boston Magazine, Sage shared more details about the horrors she allegedly faced at the hands of Dusty and Mitchell. She started by saying that Dusty had first invited her over to have dinner with her and Mitchell at their home one day. She claims when they offered to allow her to sleep over at their apartment that night, she agreed – recalling seeing their collection of guns, knives, and grenades displayed on the walls of the guest room. She then slept in the same room the following week, and soon it became a nightly thing. The trio quickly formed a friendship, with Dusty mentoring Sage one-on-one during rehearsal breaks and choreographing a dance routine for her to submit for an award.
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Meanwhile, Mitchell offered to help Sage on the social media side of things just like he’d been doing for his wife. While this initially started out to be a dream come true for Sage since she was living alone, she says it soon turned into a nightmare. In her claims to the outlet, during the third week of their hangouts, Taylor put a mattress into the living room, suggested they watch a movie, and have a sleepover. When the film came to an end, Dusty had been asleep, and Sage was drifting off to sleep. That is when she alleges she felt Michell’s hand slip down the front of her pants and inside of her. She says she continued to go back to the Buttons’ home where she was allegedly abused each and every time. When asked why she returned, the magazine noted that Sage said she “was terrified that if she’d spoken up, she would have lost her only friend as well as all the help they were giving her,” and in turn, they would ruin her career.
Per her account, things continued to escalate – forcing her to dress and style herself like Dusty, telling her what to eat or who to talk to, and not even allowing her to go anywhere without them. If Sage didn’t listen to them, she claimed to Boston Magazine that she often faced criticism from them. However, if she followed their order, she was met with praise. And after Sage claimed they walked in on her in the shower to tell her she was their girlfriend, they allegedly forced her to put on a head-to-toe spandex suit and made her go into the room with their guns, placed her on a table, and strapped down her arms and legs. She claims they then proceeded to sexually assault her. Following that night, she says the duo went on to have sex with her without her consent – and became physically violent during the acts. Eventually, Sage says she managed to escape Dusty and Mitchell with the help of her parents, who previously witnessed some of the alleged abuse during a family vacation, as well as other Boston Ballet members. This occurred after the principal dancer was fired from the company for unknown reasons and immediately banned from the premises.
According to The Buttons, though, none of this is true. In fact, they claimed what happened was quite the opposite than what Sage detailed in her lawsuit and to the outlet. They recently filed a counterclaim against Sage and the other dancers, plus five other defendants, which includes Sage’s parents. According to court docs obtained by Boston Magazine, Mitchell and Dusty claimed in the new filing that Sage was not sexually abused by them, but was actually abused by multiple older men. Before she moved to Boston, the filing stated that she allegedly was in a relationship with former New York City Ballet principal dancer Chase Finlay while he was engaged to another dancer. She was underage at the time. They also say Sage had another boyfriend, Anthony Giovanni Deane, who was in his 40s when he dated her when she was only 17. They claim she planned to elope with him.
As we previously reported, Dusty and Mitchell also allege in the docs that Daryl Katz, the billionaire owner of the Edmonton Oilers hockey team, paid Sage $75,000 for sexual favors. Accusing her of being a “child prostitute,” they say Sage’s mom Micah knew about the arrangement and encouraged it. As the doc states, the mother allegedly “assisted her in laundering the money she was paid and in trafficking her to Katz…a grifting pattern that included trafficking her own daughter to a billionaire for financial gain.” Furthermore, the twosome claimed that her parents manipulated and mistreated the dancer for years:
“Sage grew up with hyper-controlling conservative parents. [and] therefore sought excitement in drug use and sexual promiscuity—something that left her controlling parents perplexed and horrified.”
Before she relocated to Boston, the Buttons also say that her mom and dad sent her to Florida for an entire year to “dry out from her drug use.”
As for how they met Sage? Dusty and Mitchell claimed Sage was the one who approached them after her mother ordered her to do so. They stated that the mom “was ‘casing’ the Buttons as a mark for her next grift” and looking for advice on growing her social media presence. The Buttons admitted to having a sexual relationship with Sage but insisted it was a consensual one that the dancer first initiated:
“The Buttons eventually acquiesced to Sage’s advances and began a consensual ‘throuple’ sexual relationship with Sage Humphries after Sage moved in with them.”
Their relationship “appeared, at the time, to be one of mutual love, affection, and respect.” Notes and pictures were included in the filing as evidence, including one where Sage could be seen embracing Dusty. A card from Sage to Dusty allegedly read:
“I hope you know how deep my love for you is. I love you Dusty. Forever.”
A Snapchat from Sage to Mitchell also said:
“There is nothing in this world I want more than to wake up in your arms…you are such an honest love and have such a beautiful heart.”
When it came to Sage’s claim that Mitchell first sexually assaulted her on the mattress in his and Dusty’s apartment, the couple said in the declarations with the filing “none of [it] ever happened”. Even more so, the Buttons say Sage “begged to have sex” with Mitchell, during which Dusty cried. They also claim Sage stepped into the shower with Dusty and Taylor, asking to be their girlfriend. Sage’s allegations that there were a ton of weapons in the Buttons’ guest room? The counterclaim said the apartment “did not contain weapons or firearms of any kind.” Instead, Sage’s mom pretended to be a neighbor and called a fake report to the police about the firearms while the duo were gone.
While it had apparently been alleged that Mitchell one said he’d “throw Sage in his van, tie her hands and feet, blindfold her, rent a warehouse, hang her from the ceiling, rape her, and leave her to die, “not only do they strongly refute it, they say it was an episode from VICE News:
“The scene she is describing was taken from a VICE News episode that Sage liked about people paying and setting up fake kidnappings of themselves for pleasure.”
So on and so forth. They denied many of her accusations, painting a completely different version of events about what happened.
But what about the six other dancers who shared eerily similar stories of alleged sexual abuse? Well, the legal docs claimed either they actually abused Dusty or were just jealous ex-girlfriends of Mitchell who joined the lawsuit “to extort money from the Buttons and advance their careers.” They denied ever meeting or knowing “Jane Doe 100” who claimed that, when she was a minor, Dusty held her down while Mitchell raped her in their apartment.
In response to the filing, Sage’s attorney told Boston Magazine:
“As is typical of abusers, the Buttons’ counter-claims are an effort to weaponize the allegations of abuse brought against them in a depraved effort to cast the…brave women named in the complaint as liars. Their hoax doesn’t change the facts in this case. The women are truth-tellers, and we are confident the Buttons will be brought to justice.”
Heavy, heavy stuff.
You can read the full Boston Magazine article HERE.