CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A former University of Cincinnati volleyball player has filed a lawsuit against the school and women's volleyball coach, claiming she was kicked off the team over "sexy" Instagram photos.
The federal lawsuit claims Shalom Ifeanyi was removed because she did not fit a "biased image" of a UC volleyball player. The lawsuit claims racial/color discrimination, sex discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Ifeanyi said Coach Molly Alvey harassed her about photos posted on her personal social media accounts, telling her that many of her pictures were "too sexy."
A petition calling for Alvey's firing, posted online at Care2 Petitions, has been signed by more than 10,000 individuals as of Tuesday afternoon.
The coach criticized Ifeanyi's photos even though Ifeanyi was fully clothed, according to the lawsuit. Other players did not receive the same scrutiny.
"No such requests were made to other members of the women's volleyball team who were of slighter build and lighter complexion despite photographs picturing them in outfits, including but not limited to, two-piece swimsuits," Ifeanyi's lawsuit says.
Ifeanyi started deleting her social media photos and posting only headshots.
Screenshots included in the lawsuit (embedded above) show an apparent exchange between Ifeanyi and Coach Alvey.
In the message, Alvey references a photo of Ifeanyi wearing a black tank top and asks her to "please remove these pictures today," documents show.
The volleyball player responded by saying in-part "I feel like I'm being body shamed because I'm not flat chested. I'm not trying to show my boobs coach, I can't make them go away."
University of Cincinnati has not responded to a request for comment.
The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorney fees.