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Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

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13 minutes ago, balletforme said:

Mr. Daniels, the ballet spokesman, said that since 2010 the company “has had a policy precluding a reporting relationship between a supervisor and subordinate where a romantic relationship exists.”

 

Doesn't this mean that  the policy does not prevent the reporting of relationships between supervisors and subordinates? As in its not required per policy.

 

This quote is very confusing, and I had to reread it several times before I understood what I think it is saying, which is this: The company forbids relationships between a supervisor and a subordinate when that subordinate reports to the supervisor (i.e., they have a "reporting relationship"). It then cites the case of the head of Lincoln Center, who was fired for having a relationship with a woman who reported directly to him.

So, a relationship between someone who is say, head of development, and someone who is a manager in the PR department wouldn't necessarily be forbidden. The thing is, every dancer in the company reports to Martins, so any sexual/romantic activities between him and a dancer would violate the policy cited above.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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There is a tendency for accusers to come forward after the first accuser speaks out. We'll see if anyone else comes forward to speak out against Martins. If it is only this one "anonymous" complaint, he probably will not be in danger

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1 minute ago, abatt said:

There is a tendency for accusers to come forward after the first accuser speaks out. We'll see if anyone else comes forward to speak out against Martins. If it is only this one "anonymous" complaint, he probably will not be in danger

Not that I expect any of the dancers to be saying much online, but it was been radio silence, at least on Instagram, where I follow many NYCB dancers. No posts about anything, Martins-related or otherwise.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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I also just realized that the year NYCB's "reporting relationship" policy was instituted, 2010, coincides with Kistler's retirement. Of course they couldn't institute it earlier, unless they found someone else for Kistler to report to besides her husband. So were they waiting around for Kistler to retire before they bothered to protect other dancers?

Edited by fondoffouettes

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The organization can decide how to judge that information.  It's all subjective and slippery.  

Here's the EEOC standard https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/fs-sex.cfm

"Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment."

The investigation will focus on evidence that he engaged in a systematic harassment pattern.  It will also investigate his interactions with minors.  

Mods remove if you want.  

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31 minutes ago, balletforme said:

Mr. Daniels, the ballet spokesman, said that since 2010 the company “has had a policy precluding a reporting relationship between a supervisor and subordinate where a romantic relationship exists.”

 

Doesn't this mean that  the policy does not prevent the reporting of relationships between supervisors and subordinates? As in its not required per policy.

 

 A "reporting relationship" is one in which a person "reports to" a boss, and in business, means almost always also means reports to the boss' boss all the way up the line.

Darci Kistler retired in 2010: after that she no longer could have worked for her husband, since she reported to him, and the timing of the policy does not appear to be random.  Similarly, a person in the accounting department couldn't be in a romantic relationship with their boss, or a stagehand with their boss.

Peter Boal said in a Q&A that Ballet Masters have some casting responsibilities at PNB for roles below the "named" level. I'm not sure if this is also true at NYCB.  If it is, I don't know if this would be considered a "dotted line" report if a corps member was in a relationship with a Ballet Master who controlled whether or not they were cast.

 

Edited to add:  sorry for the repeats -- I'm clearly slow to the trigger.

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[Admin hat back on]

I've removed allegations in which there is an assertion of "much evidence" and no citations for it. let alone citations that are relevant to the period in which Martins has been the boss at NYCB.  

I will use the "Moderated" function if they continue to be posted.

[Admin hat back off]

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What I'm unclear on is the scope of the investigation: is this specific to  relationships with his employees/dancers in the company, or within the scope of SAB? (Implying that he had improper relationships with students- who are typically minors.) This could get very serious if it's the latter. 

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15 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

I also just realized that the year NYCB's "reporting relationship" policy was instituted, 2010, coincides with Kistler's retirement. Of course they couldn't institute it earlier, unless they found someone else for Kistler to report to besides her husband. So were they waiting around for Kistler to retire before they bothered to protect other dancers?

A mite harsh, perhaps. Kistler and Martins have been married twenty years. I suppose today they would have the dilemma of choosing between marriage or one of them leaving the company? Ballet is a small world. There would not be many equivalent places for them to go.  Seems potentially extreme, especially since many ballet companies have functioned successfully with an AD in a long-term relationship with a leading dancer.

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26 minutes ago, abatt said:

There is a tendency for accusers to come forward after the first accuser speaks out. We'll see if anyone else comes forward to speak out against Martins. If it is only this one "anonymous" complaint, he probably will not be in danger

NYCB has started an investigation and had reached out as part of it.  They are not simply waiting for more people to come forward.  For example:

Quote

In a recent interview with The Post, Wilhelmina Frankfurt, a former NYCB dancer, said she was among the SAB alumni called in to meet with SAB Executive Director Carrie W. Hinrichs shortly before Thanksgiving to discuss the investigation. She said she was contacted after Hinrichs saw an article Frankfurt wrote in 2012, which Frankfurt recently posted on Facebook. 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/ballet-chief-peter-martins-under-investigation-after-sexual-harassment-allegations/2017/12/04/a474eae6-d3a3-11e7-a986-d0a9770d9a3e_story.html?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.1fea84702e62

 

 

2 minutes ago, DC Export said:

What I'm unclear on is the scope of the investigation: is this specific to  relationships with his employees/dancers in the company, or within the scope of SAB? (Implying that he had improper relationships with students- who are typically minors.) This could get very serious if it's the latter. 

He was suspended from teaching at SAB, not from managing NYCB, and, in the Washington Post article above, it was SAB Executive Director who called in Frankfurt and other SAM alumni.

Clearly the investigation at least includes SAB.

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Just now, dirac said:

A mite harsh, perhaps. Kistler and Martins have been married twenty years. I suppose today they would have the dilemma of choosing between marriage or one of them leaving the company? Ballet is a small world. There would not be many equivalent places for them to go.  Seems potentially extreme, especially since many ballet companies have functioned successfully with an AD in a long-term relationship with a leading dancer.

 

I'm not suggesting she should have left the company. It just seems reckless that they shouldn't have enacted a policy to protect other dancers/staff before Kistler retired. Certainly they could have added some clause about preexisting marriages or something like that. 

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3 minutes ago, Helene said:

NYCB has started an investigation and had reached out as part of it.  They are not simply waiting for more people to come forward.  For example:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/ballet-chief-peter-martins-under-investigation-after-sexual-harassment-allegations/2017/12/04/a474eae6-d3a3-11e7-a986-d0a9770d9a3e_story.html?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.1fea84702e62

True, but once the headlines start and it makes the news, people often start to feel more comfortable about saying me too.

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13 minutes ago, abatt said:

True, but once the headlines start and it makes the news, people often start to feel more comfortable about saying me too.

It depends on where they are in their career and what they have to lose.  

For example, in this former opera singer's article written after the Weinstein story broke, but before opera and ballet directors had been accused:

Quote

The only reason I can write this, even without identifying a single perpetrator, is because I’ve left the business. I don’t need to ever sing again. Just like in Hollywood, singers are unprotected, stranded without HR and saddled with an ineffective union. Singers can’t speak out for fear of losing everything, because they all know someone who said no and who was never called again.

Ballet is an even smaller, more paternalistic world than opera, where companies are critical, and self-financing is rare and on a much smaller scale than it is for film.

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16 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

I'm not suggesting she should have left the company. It just seems reckless that they shouldn't have enacted a policy to protect other dancers/staff before Kistler retired. Certainly they could have added some clause about preexisting marriages or something like that. 

My point was that if the policy had been in place before they married, then they could not have married without violating the policy. In other professions that often means that one spouse transfers or leaves the office, and my related point was that ballet is a small world and there would be few equivalent jobs that could be found outside the company without leaving town (or the state - or the country).  That could potentially be a difficult or even cruel dilemma.

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33 minutes ago, Helene said:

 A "reporting relationship" is one in which a person "reports to" a boss, and in business, means almost always also means reports to the boss' boss all the way up the line.

Is that a standard business term? If not it's just bad writing. A subordinate by definition reports to the supervisor, so the company could have omitted the phrase. 

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1 minute ago, kfw said:

Is that a standard business term? If not it's just bad writing. A subordinate by definition reports to the supervisor, so the company could have omitted the phrase. 

Yes, and used regularly in the Fortune-list companies for which I've worked and contracted.

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27 minutes ago, Helene said:

It depends on where they are in their career and what they have to lose.  

For example, in this former opera singer's article written after the Weinstein story broke, but before opera and ballet directors had been accused:

Ballet is an even smaller, more paternalistic world than opera, where companies are critical, and self-financing is rare and on a much smaller scale than it is for film.

Since the #metoo movement, the only first-person account I've come across from someone currently working in the business is this one by mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer, though admittedly she's winding down her performance career and focusing more on teaching. (She doesn't name names either.)

I've seen no other reports this fall from ballet dancers or opera singers currently working in the field. Making a living in either field is a daunting prospect, and I'm sure they feel they can't afford to burn bridges.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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1 hour ago, fondoffouettes said:

This quote is very confusing, and I had to reread it several times before I understood what I think it is saying, which is this: The company forbids relationships between a supervisor and a subordinate when that subordinate reports to the supervisor (i.e., they have a "reporting relationship"). It then cites the case of the head of Lincoln Center, who was fired for having a relationship with a woman who reported directly to him.

So, a relationship between someone who is say, head of development, and someone who is a manager in the PR department wouldn't necessarily be forbidden. The thing is, every dancer in the company reports to Martins, so any sexual/romantic activities between him and a dancer would violate the policy cited above.

That's my understanding as well. 

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1 hour ago, balletforme said:

 

The organization can decide how to judge that information.  It's all subjective and slippery.  

Here's the EEOC standard https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/fs-sex.cfm

"Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment."

The investigation will focus on evidence that he engaged in a systematic harassment pattern.  It will also investigate his interactions with minors.  

Mods remove if you want.  

ALL "subjective and slippery" ?? I don't think so.  You may know of situations that are or seem such. I know of a number where no reasonable person working in a modern economy could mistake the "offensive" and "hostile" work  environment or fail to see how "unwelcome sexual advances" were interfering "with an individual's work performance."

And law and legal decisions often involve standards based on what a "reasonable" person would conclude. That doesn't mean "subjective"--it means based on rational judgment.

I haven't the faintest idea what the situation has been at New York City Ballet or the School of American Ballet in the last couple of decades.

Edited by Drew

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23 minutes ago, kfw said:

Is that a standard business term? If not it's just bad writing. A subordinate by definition reports to the supervisor, so the company could have omitted the phrase. 

I believe "reporting relationship" is both a business and a legal term.

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12 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

I've seen no other reports this fall from ballet dancers or opera singers currently working in the field. Making a living in either field is a daunting prospect, and I'm sure they feel they can't afford to burn bridges.

This is not the place for gossip, but I can't be the only person who's heard ears-full of it over the years.

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37 minutes ago, dirac said:

My point was that if the policy had been in place before they married, then they could not have married without violating the policy. In other professions that often means that one spouse transfers or leaves the office, and my related point was that ballet is a small world and there would be few equivalent jobs that could be found outside the company without leaving town (or the state - or the country).  That could potentially be a difficult or even cruel dilemma.

Cruel or not, it's the reality at NYCB now.

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I know he's a bit long-in-the-tooth, but how about Arthur Mitchell as a replacement? That'd shake things up a bit. And considering the company's not so long ago rep for having been weak on the diversity front, it's poetic.

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19 minutes ago, Helene said:

Cruel or not, it's the reality at NYCB now.

As it should be. It's unfair to everyone in the company to have someone reporting to her spouse. It's filled with with potential conflicts of interest. But NYCB saw no need to establish this policy until after they had cut Kistler's last paycheck.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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