Former Disney World dancer claims gender bias in lawsuit

A former aerial dancer at Walt Disney World has sued the resort alleging gender discrimination, saying she was fired after she became pregnant with twins and went on an 11-month leave.

ORLANDO, Fla. — A former aerial dancer at Walt Disney World has sued the resort alleging gender discrimination, saying she was fired after she became pregnant with twins and went on an 11-month leave.

Krista Crowder filed the lawsuit in state court in Orlando last week. It doesn't specify how much money she seeks.

In the lawsuit, Crowder said she was a performer in the Festival of the Lion King show at Disney's Animal Kingdom park.

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"It's one of those roles that everyone wants to do," Crowder told Channel 9 on Wednesday. "The females are harnessed, and we get clipped in the middle of the dance, and we fly around the theater."

Crowder took maternity leave in 2015 and wasn't medically cleared to return to work until the next year.

"My (Ob-Gyn) was, like, 'Absolutely not. No harnesses. You are high-risk,'" she said.

Crowder followed her doctor's orders, but in October 2016, she said she learned she had already been fired during her pregnancy without knowing it.

"You should never (have to) say, 'I'm ready to have a baby. Am I ready to lose my job?'" she said. "That was never on my radar. I always thought I'd be able to go back."

Crowder said she was told she was fired because she had been out for 11 months.

"You cant just walk out of a C-section and walk back into this role eight weeks later," she said. "I'm fighting for the right of women to be able to keep their jobs after they have babies in specialized roles."

In a statement, Disney said it has a long-standing policy against workplace discrimination and will respond to the allegations in court.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.