Kings Mascot Actor Tim Smith Suspended Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2020

Los Angeles Kings mascot Bailey entertains the crowd during a preseason NHL hockey game against the Anaheim Ducks, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker)
Michael Owen Baker/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Kings announced Saturday that they have suspended Tim Smith, who plays their Bailey the lion mascot, after a former member of the Kings Ice Crew said that he sexually harassed her in a lawsuit filed against Smith and the team.

According to ESPN's Greg Wyshynski, the Kings released the following statement on the matter:

"We are aware of the recently-filed lawsuit alleging misconduct by one of our employees. The LA Kings take these allegations very seriously and, as an organization, we believe that everyone has the right to work in an environment free from any form of harassment or discrimination.

"We will conduct a thorough investigation into this matter. The employee in question has been suspended, effective immediately, pending the conclusion of that investigation. We are withholding any further comment at this time."

TMZ Sports reported Thursday that the woman, who is being referred to as Jane Doe, said in the lawsuit that Smith harassed her both verbally and physically.

She is seeking more than $1 million in damages from Smith, the Kings and Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), which owns the Kings.

Smith, who has worked for the Kings since 2007, is also their senior manager of game presentation and events. As part of his job, Smith oversees the Kings Ice Crew and is able to hire and fire crew members.

The woman said Smith made "lewd jokes" and "inappropriate sexual comments." She also said that Smith once put his crotch in her face and thrust his hips while making lewd jokes.

The woman said Smith fired her when she protested his behavior, but she returned when a team official promised to protect her from Smith's actions. The woman said she quit when Smith continued to act inappropriately.

Per Wyshynski, a man sued Smith for sexual harassment in 2017 after he said Smith grabbed his buttocks during an elevator ride, but the parties settled the case in 2018.

Bailey the lion is among the NHL's most popular mascots due in part to its Twitter account, which has 54,000 followers.

The Kings were among the NHL's most successful teams from 2009 through 2018 with seven playoff appearances in nine seasons and two Stanley Cup wins, but they have missed the postseason in each of the past two campaigns.

L.A. had the second-fewest points in the Western Conference this season with 64.