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Drug scandal at the RDB?


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#31 kfw

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 11:18 AM

I strongly disagree, he's acting responsibly. He commissioned a report and several people made hugely libellous allegations hiding behind anonymity which potentially could destroy careers and the company itself. Unless those anonymous people are prepared to come forward and offer concrete evidence, times, dates and a full history, as well as supply real information on how cocaine is endemic within the RDB, the only thing to do is ignore it.[/


It's responsible to commission a report but sweep its findings under the table? Those anonymous people may well come forward, but if they do so, it will be at the risk of their roles if not their jobs outright. They deserve no opprobrium for speaking anonymously, especially when they asked to so so in the first place. They don't deserve the suspicion that has been cast their way.

The fact that Hubbe is "clean" at the time of report equally hardly proves that the allegations are true. Moreover Hubbe said he'd submit to any standardised drug test, which in a legal or corporate setting would include a hair strand test which can ascertain whether someone has been drug free for up to a year.


Hubbe's offer has been cited here as evidence in his defense, but I don't see how it proves anything either way. The best way for him to clear his name would be to take that test, which he is free to do.

And if Hubbe did choose to do some drugs on his downtime, that's really no one's business but his.

I think also perhaps the queen's, and by extension the nation's and even that of Bournonville lovers? He's not working for a private firm.

Coke addiction isn't something an addict can actually hide

Not for long, no.

#32 Simon G

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 12:36 PM

It's responsible to commission a report but sweep its findings under the table? Those anonymous people may well come forward, but if they do so, it will be at the risk of their roles if not their jobs outright. They deserve no opprobrium for speaking anonymously, especially when they asked to so so in the first place. They don't deserve the suspicion that has been cast their way.


You say they deserve to remain anonymous, fine, perhaps, but by the same token what they say cannot absolutely cannot be taken as anything approaching truth, the stakes are too high. If what they claim to have happened did indeed take place as they say, then they're as good as sacked anyway.

Do you seriously seriously believe that Hubbe would take four employees into his office, juniors, cut up lines of cocaine and coerce them into snorting in front of him while he watched? Hubbe may be many things but a total moron isn't one of them. The situation described is one so idiotic, far-fetched and guaranteed to cause outrage amongst those without common sense it's ludicrous.

The report has been deemed to be ludicrous, the author of the report has had her relationship with the RDB terminated, the conspiracy claque may call cover up, or alternatively the truth may very well turn out to be that the findings were discovered as self serving defammation and treated accordingly.


The fact that Hubbe is "clean" at the time of report equally hardly proves that the allegations are true. Moreover Hubbe said he'd submit to any standardised drug test, which in a legal or corporate setting would include a hair strand test which can ascertain whether someone has been drug free for up to a year.




And if Hubbe did choose to do some drugs on his downtime, that's really no one's business but his
I think also perhaps the queen's, and by extension the nation's and even that of Bournonville lovers? He's not working for a private firm.


Let's stop being pompous. It's not the queen's business, it's his own and if the queen wants to make an issue of it, I'm sure she'll take it up with Hubbe directly. He's said he doesn't do drugs, will submit to any test and is willing to do so at any time. Case closed. Why the hell should he have to justify or vindicate anything, he was charged with making a rather second rate company a player again, which he has done, that's all. And the fact that the deadwood isn't happy is impacting in this really shoddy cocaine story. It's boring and generic.

Likewise if the dancers wish to do drugs on their own time, it's their business, no one else's as long as they don't bring it to work or let it affect their performance.

This is the most egregious legacy of Dancing on My Grave. Someone in the ballet world cries "cocaine" and instantly a Kirland sized storm of scandal erupts. It's cheap, it's scurrilous and in this case it's clearly a lie.

I have nothing but contempt for those four twerps and if I was Hubbe I would make it my business to find out who they were and make this public because they have done huge damage not only to him but to the RDB.

#33 Quiggin

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 01:07 PM

The problem may not so much be the drug use (and who knows what the queen's position would be – hasn't she worked for the company as a set designer?) but Hubbe's mercurial management style. Here are some readers comments from the Jllyands Posten online:

Older ballet buffs will remember Lander case against ballet master Harald Lander, who was accused by disgruntled and frustrated dancers, their families and an eager press. The accusations were supported by sanctimonious ministers, with it turned out that the matter was a tempest in a glass...missing "proof" for the baseless accusations, and it led to Harald Lander went abroad. In this stage it could also be an attempt to get rid of a talented ballet master.


The problem lies in the institution, its structure, old habits, mentality, protection from ballet lovers, politicians' ignorance of the dance world and much more. Just ask away.


On the television channel ARTE was recently a program about the use of sedative drugs among performers of classical music. It was estimated that 40% were [using] one or other of beta blockers, alcohol or Valium when they performed. And it was supposed to mark the world elite, who were depicted. I do not know anything about cocaine, but the bottom line is certain that they need it. And they are ultimately not "role models" for the wide part of adolescence, so honestly - who cares?


I know several fo the dancers - including some who have sought locations away - and I know with certainty that the accusations, the [effect?] that the transmission produces is 100% true. The only thing left to discuss is whether they will choose to say that Hübbe's pseudo-violent temper and abuse is more important than his obvious talent.


It may be a case (and I think there was a proposal somewhere of this) of having a second ballet master as co-administrator.

#34 kfw

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 01:17 PM

the fact that the deadwood isn't happy . . . . .

It's entirely possible that that's what's really happening here, and if so, then it's likely that evidence for _that_ will eventually surface. I see none so far. It would surely be the best outcome at this point. In the meantime, Hubbe's in a position of public trust, and I hope an investigation goes forward for everyone's sake.

#35 dirac

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 01:36 PM


It's responsible to commission a report but sweep its findings under the table? Those anonymous people may well come forward, but if they do so, it will be at the risk of their roles if not their jobs outright. They deserve no opprobrium for speaking anonymously, especially when they asked to so so in the first place. They don't deserve the suspicion that has been cast their way.


Quite right. Anonymity has its pros and cons, but without it many whistleblowers would fear to come forward and speak freely. I can think of reasons to question some of the details that were reported in this instance, but the bare fact that these people spoke anonymously does not mean that their statements are automatically suspect on that basis.

There would be no need for a report the results of addiction are painfully plainly obvious.


The report was not focused on drug use/abuse, but on the general state of the company.

#36 Quiggin

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 02:02 PM

the fact that the deadwood isn't happy . . . . .


Yes there were a lot of changes, perhaps too much in the American style.

The report also shows that 20 dancers are considering to move away from the Royal Ballet, and the majority of dancers will not recommend foreign counterparts to seek work at the ballet.

According to Jyllands Posten there was originally allocated 120 hours of consulting work to the confidential report, but because of the unusual issues that arose, the consultant spent 380 hours to identify the problems in the report. [55 dancers were interviewed]

Berlingske article

The question I have about the methodology of the report is that the author had been used to using the behavior of artists to counsel business organizations, and developed some seemingly stock character types to illustrate her thesis. But is she now using business models on the ballet and trimming behavior patterns she finds "in the field" to conform to her original stock types?

#37 canbelto

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 02:46 PM

I feel that this is going in the direction of the infamous smoking thread, but with far more dangerous implications, because frankly no one here actually knows what they're talking about, drugs are something to be affronted by at a distance and take a moral high ground over. And it's a cheap shot, a cheap cheap shot, like those idiots who would only speak anonymously.

You say they deserve to remain anonymous, fine, perhaps, but by the same token what they say cannot absolutely cannot be taken as anything approaching truth, the stakes are too high. If what they claim to have happened did indeed take place as they say, then they're as good as sacked anyway.

Do you seriously seriously believe that Hubbe would take four employees into his office, juniors, cut up lines of cocaine and coerce them into snorting in front of him while he watched? Hubbe may be many things but a total moron isn't one of them. The situation described is one so idiotic, far-fetched and guaranteed to cause outrage amongst those without common sense it's ludicrous.


Um ... remember when no one could believe Watergate? :speechless-smiley-003: If this study was an academic study, all findings would have to be from anonymous sources, as all subjects are anonymous in such studies. So the four dancers you're so angry at might not have had a choice but to speak on the condition of anonymity. Besides, if privacy is valued, why do they have to endanger their jobs and reputations? Making anonymous whistleblowing complaints is fine, there's nothing inherently immoral about that.

And I'll go out on a limb and say that if a boss has alienated a lot of his employees, this kind of thing is natural, and inevitable, and that's the boss's fault. Managers aren't supposed to be divisive or alienating to the point where people are taking their complaints to the press, and if they are, then it's a failure of management. Failure of management style, and failure of controlling morale within a company. Effective leaders know how to keep internal problems internal. I would say that's true whether the person is Hubbe or the Queen of Denmark or any CEO of any large corporation.

#38 dirac

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 03:17 PM

Also, I believe the four dancers under discussion spoke to Jyllands-Posten anonymously. I don't know how many other company members or staff mentioned drug problems to the consultant as part of the study??

This may be a matter of all smoke and no fire, but judging by what I’m reading, further investigation does seem warranted.

#39 Simon G

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 04:23 PM

Um ... remember when no one could believe Watergate? :speechless-smiley-003: If this study was an academic study, all findings would have to be from anonymous sources, as all subjects are anonymous in such studies. So the four dancers you're so angry at might not have had a choice but to speak on the condition of anonymity. Besides, if privacy is valued, why do they have to endanger their jobs and reputations? Making anonymous whistleblowing complaints is fine, there's nothing inherently immoral about that.

And I'll go out on a limb and say that if a boss has alienated a lot of his employees, this kind of thing is natural, and inevitable, and that's the boss's fault. Managers aren't supposed to be divisive or alienating to the point where people are taking their complaints to the press, and if they are, then it's a failure of management. Failure of management style, and failure of controlling morale within a company. Effective leaders know how to keep internal problems internal. I would say that's true whether the person is Hubbe or the Queen of Denmark or any CEO of any large corporation.


This is really starting to do my head in. Firstly Watergate, the bugging of a political opponent I can absolutely believe. Indeed at the moment in the UK the News International/Murdoch scandal, I can believe, Elvis living in Nevada and working in a roadside diner - I can believe. The Loch Ness monster going into business with Hugh Heffner to make an interspecies pay to view adult cable channel - I could believe. This infantile allegation, now that I can't believe.

A man with an international reputation, calling subordinates into his office, chopping up lines of cocaine and sitting there watching while they snorted - I call major BS and total shenannigans. Answer me this, what possible motive or gain could there be from such an action? What reason, purpose or goal would there be to this? And it wasn't as if the snorting was for a sexual motive, he wasn't using coke's aphrodisiac qualities to instigate a hot office orgy. No, we are supposed to believe that this act was solely for the purpose of giving four dancers a line, and they were powerless to refuse.

The report didn't even reveal a culture of cocaine within the company, that I could believe, as I know that drugs are pretty rife in certain companies, or have been. It's the crass, peurile nature of this allegation that just grates.

Anonymity is fine, but you absolutely cannot expect an allegation to have any kind of sticking power or veracity if what you are doing is essentially making a libellous statement that is defammatory and if proved right could have legal consequences and absolutely destroy a man's reputation and life. If they are indeed the victims as they claim to be they have no fear of losing their jobs, the guns are out for Hubbe, proof of such gross misconduct is all that's needed to get rid of for good.

And this is the thing, we're not talking about a scene from Black Swan here, Hubbe is a man who could lose everything including the respect of the international dance community were there to be even a shred of truth in this bizarre four-way office gak fest.

Yes, there was a report by a rather self important self-styled business philosophy guru who was drafted in to apply a very inflexible model based on her pet theory of prima donnas to a man who is pretty verbose, arrogant and who instigated widespread catholic changes within a moribund institution - and got results. This isn't defammation rather just proves that it took a prima donna to do a man's job. Make a lazy, sloppy company a contender - all it proved was Hubbe did the job he was hired to do. The drug allegation takes it to a level of nasty, but of course the drugs had to be linked directly to him, what dancers do on their downtime is their own business - so Hubbe is now a pusher, pimper luring innocents into his office for his nefarious self gratification. All that was needed was the lure of puppies and the picture would be complete.

Again, answer me, what possible point, reason or purpose would there be for Hubbe to do this?

#40 dirac

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 05:34 PM

A man with an international reputation, calling subordinates into his office, chopping up lines of cocaine and sitting there watching while they snorted - I call major BS and total shenannigans.


My understanding is that the anecdote was reported at one remove. Several dancers said that several other dancers reported snorting with Hubbe. It seems clear from the context that the dancers reporting the story could not have been present, since the four dancers who spoke to the paper said they had no direct knowledge of Hubbe using. The fact that the story is not firsthand carries its own potential issues, but no one is saying to my knowledge that the dancers availed themselves of the drug while Hubbe looked on.

#41 kfw

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 05:49 PM

A man with an international reputation, calling subordinates into his office, chopping up lines of cocaine and sitting there watching while they snorted - I call major BS and total shenannigans. Answer me this, what possible motive or gain could there be from such an action?


What possible gain and what possible loss did an up-and-coming, media darling of a U.S. congressman by the name of Anthony Weiner have in texting lewd photos of himself to Twitter followers he'd never even met? People do dumb, dumb things. And I'm of the opinion that we all do dumb, dumb things some times. Explain that via Martin Luther or via recent neuroscience, or both, but the fact seems undeniable. I don't know what Hubbe did or didn't do, but not a lot surprises me.

Anonymity is fine, but you absolutely cannot expect an allegation to have any kind of sticking power or veracity if what you are doing is essentially making a libellous statement that is defammatory and if proved right could have legal consequences and absolutely destroy a man's reputation and life.

That's exactly why Jacobsen should have authorized further investigation himself. The stakes are high for all concerned.

Yes, there was a report by a rather self important self-styled business philosophy guru

Everyone has faults. If faults discredit a finding, everyone's findings and everyone's opinions are discredited.

so Hubbe is now a pusher, pimper luring innocents into his office for his nefarious self gratification.


No one has said anything like that. No one, not on BA and not in the report as far as we know, has said he sold or even literally pushed drugs on anyone, and no one suggested ill motives.

#42 canbelto

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 07:00 PM

Making employees do lines of coke doesn't seem that out of the blue. If it actually happened, it'd be a very cruel power trip, and I've known first-hand of fashion designers doing the same or very similar to models.

#43 Mashinka

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 01:41 AM

Yes, there was a report by a rather self important self-styled business philosophy guru who was drafted in to apply a very inflexible model based on her pet theory of prima donnas to a man who is pretty verbose, arrogant and who instigated widespread catholic changes within a moribund institution - and got results.


I very strongly object to the description of the Royal Danish Ballet as a "moribund institution" it is not and never has been. Frank Andersen, Hubbe's predecessor, happened to be an excellent director and the company was in first rate shape under his leadership with exceptional dancers performing a diverse repertoire. I understand one of Nikolai Hubbe's stated aims when he took over was to enlarge the company and raise the profile internationally, all to the good in my opinion. Now I personally don't care if the man sticks half the annual crop of Columbia up his nose, what I do care about is whether his actions are having a bad effect on the company morale and if the report is to be believed, that may be happening. Perhaps this is currently a wait and see situation: either he will be vindicated or he won't.

A word about the Queen of Denmark: we are talking of a lady who is one of the world's most ardent ballet goers and I personally have been to few performances of the RDB in Copenhagen when she has not been present. She is very, very hands on in what is after all the Royal Theatre and therefore hers. She is also, apart from the day job, a highly talented theatre designer and was responsible for the designs of the previous version of A Folk Tale, as at home back stage as in the audience. Please do not dismiss her views, believe me - they matter.

#44 puppytreats

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 09:07 AM

Canbelto: I love your website, especially your photographs and the rainbow in your picture.

SimonG: You have quite a sense of humor. I am not suggesting anything factual regarding RDB. I lack any ability to offer factual evidence or opinion. However, in theory, I can think of many reasons why someone would do something to please a boss or superior, or out of fear of disapproval and potential loss. I can also think of many reasons a superior or adversary would want to set up an actual or potential opponent, adversary, or someone with inside information. Obtaining information to use in a potential, future extortion or blackmail situation, or for the sake of discrediting a future critic or potential whistleblower, is common. In sexual harassment cases, the defense frequently uses the "nuts or sluts" defense. Allegations, even if false, of drug use could dissuade a feared, potential claimant. Opponents always seek to destroy adversaries, by innuendo or evidence, even if (and I agree with you here) all human beings are fallible and most of what people do on their own time is irrelevant. I even agree with many of your libertarian views about personal freedoms, and that many laws are merely snares and traps used by those seeking to maintain their power. By way of example, look at the recent newspaper assassination of an alleged rape victim. The New York Post has gone so far as to declare the maid, who was allegedly raped by a powerful man, a "hooker" (not "alleged," but an actual, legally proven prostitute.) Of course, even prostitutes can be raped. Apparently, the paper does not fear a defamation lawsuit from an economically weak, immigrant maid. Besides, someone who allegedly lied on an immigration application to obtain protection most certainly lied about being raped, and the accused, who is a powerful politician and financier, never lies, right? Having negative information, whether true or not, can muddy the waters and get a powerful person a get out of jail free card. On the issue of the RDB, the entire issue seems suspicious, drummed up, and irrelevant.

#45 Anthony_NYC

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 09:40 AM

I quite agree about drawing too many conclusions from statements taken out of context. Nevertheless, "Nobody lives in New York for 15 years without trying cocaine," sounds suspiciously excuse-making.

For me as a New Yorker, that line was the great scandal of the story, so patently untrue it made me laugh. Perhaps it was just his misjudged way of admitting that he had "inhaled" at some point, perhaps only once, during his time in New York, in case that subject ever comes up in court one day.

But Peter Martins must be thrilled by what that statement implies about him and the dancers of New York City Ballet.


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