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JumpFrog

Binet Allegations

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Very nice sleuthing!

My thoughts would be something along the lines of:  1) young Binet is very lucky, both in terms of family connection and the wonderfully talented dancers who he gets to work with. 2) There are other quite talented dancer/choreographers in Toronto who do not have the advantages mentioned in 1).

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to see a piece of Robert Binet's performed by NBOC dancers at the end of the summer program.  The other choreographer that year was a woman with many years of experience; no NBOC dancers were in her piece, and only NBOC dancers in Binet's piece.  The Binet work was not something I was swooning over, but it made some sense, the dancers were incredibly talented, so generally I'd have to give it a "good."  Now, at that time the Banff program was for dancers fairly new to the professional world - so the NBOC dancers were either from YouDance or first/second year corps (Lindsay Fischer was head of the Banff program at the time).  The piece was quite appropriate for that setting and event.  At minimum KK has pushed the "fast forward" button a bit too strongly.

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Posted (edited)

David Binet's name has now been removed from the Soaring Campaign Cabinet per the link that mom2 posted. This would be amusing/silly if it weren't so serious. He's getting shuffled around more than a sketchy priest at this point...

The Soaring Campaign cabinet now:

  • Sandra and Jim Pitblado
  • David Macdonald
  • Gail Appel
  • Judi Conacher
  • The Honourable Nicole Eaton (Senator)
  • Sandra Faire
  • Krista Kerr
  • Genevieve McKillon
  • Julie Medland
  • Jessica Ray
  • Gretchen Ross
  • Liam Sobey
  • Michele Symons

 

Edited by kylara7
Added current cabinet members

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Curiouser and curiouser.  Fitting, as the company is doing Alice again next season it appears...

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On 3/8/2018 at 7:39 AM, kylara7 said:

I agree that it appears like the company keeps shuffling Binet Sr. around. There are likely requirements (legal ones) on reporting sources of funding, board membership, fundraising structures, etc. that keep this information public.

I also agree that a) the financial backing of Binet Sr. and his companies/professional networks is probably significant and buys influence that comes with many strings, i.e., "golden handcuffs", and that the installation of Binet Jr. is clearly questionable and explains the sub-par work we've been subjected to.

It strikes me that this onion has many layers, and there are likely more to come, sadly. As with other such situations I've witnessed in my personal/professional life, people eventually start connecting the dots, and if public relations handwaving and cover-ups are going on, it's 100 times worse when the details of the situation come to light. I have a continual bad feeling about this whole situation, and I am deeply disappointed with the company leadership.

This keeps getting deeper.

Binet Sr. has now had his quotes and history under the Endowment section of the website removed entirely. He has also been removed entirely from the National Ballet School website.

This means that other than the financial contributions made through his companies (Thomson Reuters, The Globe and Mail, The Woodbridge Company L.L.C.) he will now, at least personally, appear absent from both organizations.

Binet Jr. remains present throughout including under the Soaring - New Productions referenced above.

Obviously, like any company would, they are trying to minimize the unfortunate optics that suggest conflict of interest. It would help them to realize that most everything, once on the internet, is forever, and, that people have been keeping a careful track of this situation for a while now.

Does anyone have access to a recent programme from this season at all? It would be useful to compare the printed material and compare it to the most recent and updated website information. With all the shuffling around it is probably important to keep a record.

I agree mom2. Curiouser and curiouser this is getting.

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Yes, the internet is forever. There's The Wayback Machine and screenshots. And disappearing listings and information is not a good look, I agree.  When someone is trying this hard to hide/mask something, there's reason(s).

Coincidentally, I've been listening to an 8-part podcast series on Watergate called Slow Burn. Curiouser and curiouser is right.

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JumpFrog - I have handy the two programmes from March 4 and March 11.  As of March 11 Binet Sr. was still listed under the "Soaring" campaign.  They must have had these printed before things started coming off the website.  I'll see if I can take some time over the next couple of days to compare what's in the programme and what's online.  Last week you'll recall that I did do that and he was still listed on the company website (Binet Sr.).

Is someone from NBOC lurking here, perhaps?

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Posted (edited)

I also have a .pdf of a programme from fall 2017.

It's all public information plus what has come out in the tabloids. It adds insult to injury to keep assuming that people/the public are stupid/too gullible to put the pieces together, especially these days with many journalists and other investigative writers willing to listen and dig for what has been hidden under the rugs in many institutions and organizations.

And if the leadership at NBoC has sunk to reading/reacting to internet discussions, then that speaks volumes about the level of competence.

Edited by kylara7

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The NBoC's French webpages do not seem to be updated as regularly, so the website itself is something of a Wayback  Machine. Here's the French version of the Board of Directors, which contains a link to the English.

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On 3/13/2018 at 5:17 PM, mom2 said:

JumpFrog - I have handy the two programmes from March 4 and March 11.  As of March 11 Binet Sr. was still listed under the "Soaring" campaign.  They must have had these printed before things started coming off the website.  I'll see if I can take some time over the next couple of days to compare what's in the programme and what's online.  Last week you'll recall that I did do that and he was still listed on the company website (Binet Sr.).

Excellent mom2. That is very useful. Thank you!! Please keep us updated.

 

22 hours ago, Blackcurrant said:

The NBoC's French webpages do not seem to be updated as regularly, so the website itself is something of a Wayback Machine. Here's the French version of the Board of Directors, which contains a link to the English.

The incompetency would be funny if it were not so sad.

 

23 hours ago, kylara7 said:

I also have a .pdf of a programme from fall 2017.

It's all public information plus what has come out in the tabloids. It adds insult to injury to keep assuming that people/the public are stupid/too gullible to put the pieces together, especially these days with many journalists and other investigative writers willing to listen and dig for what has been hidden under the rugs in many institutions and organizations.

And if the leadership at NBoC has sunk to reading/reacting to internet discussions, then that speaks volumes about the level of competence.

Thats it! It is all documented publicly already. The company going back and deleting files from the Internet because the public are now asking questions just makes things look ***worse***.

Awesome work on the PDF file. Definitely save everything. As an audience we are going to have to work together to demand this change . These wrongs are unacceptable and need fixed. Karen Kain and Barry Hughson are obviously not up to the task.

A repertoire based on quality, a zero tolerance policy for nepotism, and an organization without harassment (or at the least an impartial process of some kind in the event it does).

These are not unreasonable requests. And we should all be questioning those who actively try to prevent them from happening.

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Posted (edited)

Amen to ALL of that, JumpFrog...I can't add anything other that the fact that I agree 100%.

Thank you Blackcurrant for the keen eye on the French version of the website. One gets the impression that things are not running smoothly or professionally there.

Change happens because the people demand change.

Edited by kylara7

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On 3/13/2018 at 7:18 PM, Blackcurrant said:

The NBoC's French webpages do not seem to be updated as regularly, so the website itself is something of a Wayback  Machine. Here's the French version of the Board of Directors, which contains a link to the English.

David Binet's name has now been removed from the French version of the NBoC website. The shady behaviour continues.

 

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Found this article, noting that Binet Senior completed his term on the Board in October 2017, after 6 seasons:

https://www.broadwayworld.com/toronto/article/The-National-Ballet-Of-Canada-Posts-Surplus-For-Eighth-Consecutive-Season-20171026

The programme for Sleeping Beauty still has him listed on the cabinet for the Soaring Campaign, but he is no longer listed as such on the NBOC website as others have mentioned.

This link is more of a professional bio, and mentions his involvement with the Board of both the National Ballet School and NBOC.

https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/people/person.asp?personId=8075066&privcapId=515275

 

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Posted (edited)

It seems like when questions about Hannah Fischer's advancement have been raised on this board or in Frank magazine, it's been in relation to whether her parents have an unfair hand in her casting. But, looking at her (public) Instagram account, there seem to be a few group vacation-like photos that also include Robert Binet.

Edited by Blackcurrant

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Blackcurrant - they are likely good friends, I don't know that I'd read anymore into it.  They were both at the school around the same time, perhaps even danced together during some of those years (I mention this only as both are tall; Binet is a few years older however if I remember correctly, so I really don't know if they actually would have had classes or performances together back then).  She was in the first cast for his piece "The Dreamers Ever Leave You" for the company.

My experience as a mom of a dancer is that it's not uncommon for small groups within a company to become quite friendly, and even to vacation together.  Certainly there are advantages and disadvantages to these close friendships within a working environment, but I don't think the world of dance is unique to that...

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Posted (edited)

There is a new article on the ongoing fractures at the NBoC in the latest issue of Frank magazine. It says that Frola and Hawes are leaving for English National Ballet, that McKie is back after a three-month absence that he will not comment on "for legal reasons" and has his own legal/mental health team. NBoC management is still denying that anything is wrong despite several major individual donors pulling their support and citing the situation with nepotism/sexual harassment allegations as a reason. TD bank, a major corporate sponsor asked for a meeting to "address concerns" and ask why NBoC doesn't have nepotism/sexual harassment and was told "because no one has that!" only to have TD present hard copies of their own and say that they are monitoring the situation. The "internal investigation" found nothing wrong, NBoC management continues to deny that anything is wrong but are allegedly going to meet with dancers to find out who is snitching.

Ugh. I'm so disappointed in NBoC yet again, but we're seeing it in other arts/dance orgs and businesses as well. Personally, I think the entrenched culture of denial and coverup is not going away easily but is in the stage of extinction burst. And again, my concerns are for all of the individuals who are speaking up and letting us know (as a society) that all is not well.

Edited by kylara7

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I would also like to know who is snitching. Whoever is leaking information about dancers before they've made public statements on these matters is behaving very unethically.

By the way, whatever happened to the exposés Frank hinted would be forthcoming in the Toronto Star? If there were substance to these allegations, I would expect the Star to jump at the chance to expose their rivals at the Woodbridge Company, but it hasn't, so to me this looks like a smear campaign directed against Karen Kain's leadership.

Here I will reiterate for the umpteenth time that I am no fan of Karen Kain, that her programming is uninspired to the point of being pedestrian, and that I wouldn't blame any dancer for leaving the company in search of a better repertoire. But this doesn't make her corrupt, just unimaginative.

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Posted (edited)

On a positive note, Scottish Ballet AD Christopher Hampson published an excellent and personal statement on the company website. This is the face of leadership that I hope will spread and become a new norm.

"Have I ever been abusive to a dancer? Never intentionally, but here lies the grit of the issue; when you are in a position of power and influence, it isn’t simply a question of whether you did or you didn’t, you do or you don’t. The questions should be: how do others perceive you and how does your leadership affect them? Do you inspire working practices that bring out the best in others? Through leadership, do you demonstrate fallibility and how to learn from mistakes, accepting that success is the sum of the work of many, not just one individual? To these questions, we should strive to answer ‘yes’, always.

And what about the dancers? Millennials get a bad press but, on the whole, I’m inspired by them. They expect to be treated with respect and they search it out. The new generation of dancers anticipate guidance and mentorship at all levels. They do not accept the instances of misogyny, nepotism or discrimination that previous generations of dancers and directors felt the need to consent to as ‘just part of the dance world’. Thankfully, most of the millennials I work with, both at Company level and in schools, do not recognise being shouted at, or humiliated as ‘working hard’, as some in previous generations did." 


https://www.scottishballet.co.uk/articles/behaviour-in-the-ballet-world

Edited by kylara7

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I worked for family businesses or for small businesses in which families worked together with others. I don't understand why that is a problem.  Except for large organizations, I would assume it is the norm.  Some did good work, and some did no work (and I don't think anyone officially complained).  However, the family signed the paycheck, and the work assigned to the outsider was expected to be done by the outsider. 

Now, POB is complaining of bullying. I have never not encountered bullying in any endeavor in my life. It is not illegal.  (Ironically, Aurelie complained of it, and was criticized for it. Now, everyone says she is creating such an atmosphere).

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Vs1 said:

I have never not encountered bullying in any endeavor in my life. It is not illegal.

Bullying is said in this Ontario education-related bill's preamble to be included within harassment:

"In December 2009, the Occupational Health and Safety Act was amended to add Part III.0.1 to provide protective measures against violence and harassment in the workplace. Such harassment can include bullying. It is appropriate to expand that approach to deal with bullying in schools. Bullying in schools is particularly odious since its victims are children who are often less able to defend themselves than adults are."

Plus, here's a definition of "workplace bullying" from the Government of Canada's Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety...since definitions do vary, e.g., with regard to whether repeated behaviour is required or intent is required to be shown, it's helpful to see what definition is likely in use across Canada.

"Bullying is usually seen as acts or verbal comments that could 'mentally' hurt or isolate a person in the workplace. Sometimes, bullying can involve negative physical contact as well. Bullying usually involves repeated incidents or a pattern of behaviour that is intended to intimidate, offend, degrade or humiliate a particular person or group of people. It has also been described as the assertion of power through aggression."

That said, the same site indicates that there's not much legislation  specific to bullying; it's more likely under the umbrella of other Things Not To Be Done. Here's the details:

"To date, few Canadian jurisdictions have occupational health and safety legislation that is specific to bullying.

In British Columbia, WorkSafeBC has developed policies and resources related specifically to workplace bullying and harassment. Treasury Board of Canada has published “People to People Communication – Preventing and Resolving Harassment for a Healthy Workplace”.

However, almost all jurisdictions have legislation specific to workplace violence and/or harassment. A list of which acts and regulations that cover violence/harassment is available on our website. Please note that while you can see the list of legislation for free, you will need a subscription to view the actual documentation.

Where there is no legislation which specifically addressed bullying, the general duty clause establishes the duty of employers to protect employees from risks at work. These risks can include harm from both physical and mental health aspects.

In addition, federal and provincial human right laws prohibit harassment related to race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, marital status, family status, disability, pardoned conviction, or sexual orientation. In certain situations, these laws may apply to bullying."

Sigh. This news, even if not all officially "news", is all sad- and anger-making.

 

Edited by Blackcurrant
for greater completeness, and to fight the good fight against typos

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Just now, Blackcurrant said:

Bullying is said in this Ontario education-related bill's preamble to be included within harassment:

"In December 2009, the Occupational Health and Safety Act was amended to add Part III.0.1 to provide protective measures against violence and harassment in the workplace. Such harassment can include bullying. It is appropriate to expand that approach to deal with bullying in schools. Bullying in schools is particularly odious since its victims are children who are often less able to defend themselves than adults are."

Plus, here's a definition of "workplace bullying" from the Government of Canada's Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety...since definitions do vary, e.g., with regard to whether repeated behaviour is required or intent is required to be shown, it's helpful to see what definition is likely in use across Canada.

"Bullying is usually seen as acts or verbal comments that could 'mentally' hurt or isolate a person in the workplace. Sometimes, bullying can involve negative physical contact as well. Bullying usually involves repeated incidents or a pattern of behaviour that is intended to intimidate, offend, degrade or humiliate a particular person or group of people. It has also been described as the assertion of power through aggression."

That said, the same site indicates that there's not much legislation  specific to bullying; it's more likely under the umbrella of other Things Not To Be Done. Here's the details:

"To date, few Canadian jurisdictions have occupational health and safety legislation that is specific to bullying.

In British Columbia, WorkSafeBC has developed policies and resources related specifically to workplace bullying and harassment. Treasury Board of Canada has published “People to People Communication – Preventing and Resolving Harassment for a Healthy Workplace”.

However, almost all jurisdictions have legislation specific to workplace violence and/or harassment. A list of which acts and regulations that cover violence/harassment is available on our website. Please note that while you can see the list of legislation for free, you will need a subscription to view the actual documentation.

Where there is no legislation which specifically addressed bullying, the general duty clause establishes the duty of employers to protect employees from risks at work. These risks can include harm from both physical and mental health aspects.

In addition, federal and provincial human right laws prohibit harassment related to race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, marital status, family status, disability, pardoned conviction, or sexual orientation. In certain situations, these laws may apply to bullying."

Sigh. This news, even if not all officially "news", is all sad- and anger-making.

 

Well, those are not US laws.  Oddly, the OSHA law says per the UN it applies universally, but businesses claim to leave the U.S. due to overregulation, and go see a video of a ladder leaning on a pile in Bangladesh. 

I don't know how anyone would function. Every arena - teacher, dr., advertiser, scientist, pharmaceutical company, lawyer, government agent, corporation, military unit. salesperson, artist, donor, philanthropist, nonprofit - uses intimidation, manipulation (a/k/a persuasion)  (at mental and emotion risk, as well as physical) against the public, enemy, resource source, audience, and employees.   E.g., ads for drugs scares all (bullying), often create a disease (fraud) and "cure" (fraud, bullying), makes a worthless disclosure that the dr tells one to ignore, hides adverse events, and gets away with murder while making a profit (physicial, emotional, mental, economic harm).

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Posted (edited)
Just now, kylara7 said:

.

And what about the dancers? Millennials get a bad press but, on the whole, I’m inspired by them. They expect to be treated with respect and they search it out. The new generation of dancers anticipate guidance and mentorship at all levels. They do not accept the instances of misogyny, nepotism or discrimination that previous generations of dancers and directors felt the need to consent to as ‘just part of the dance world’. Thankfully, most of the millennials I work with, both at Company level and in schools, do not recognise being shouted at, or humiliated as ‘working hard’, as some in previous generations did." 


https://www.scottishballet.co.uk/articles/behaviour-in-the-ballet-world

I would have been fired so many times for airing any such grievance. And I would receive punishment and banishment, not praise.  And no one, especially women, would provide guidance; I expected and received sabotage. 

Yelling is not related to hard work. Perhaps it shows a style of management or a human loss of temper, better dealt with, with training, in private.  Some see it as a useful tool - to intimidate, influence, show power, get people to work (not my preference.)

The television view of big business may obviate any idea about nepotism, but most businesses are small, family businesses. And you suck it up. The boss won't treat you better than his kid, and you shouldn't even expect it.  People expect an ideal that is a fairy tale. Work sucks, is hard, and is not an act of love.

Edited by Vs1

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Posted (edited)
Just now, Vs1 said:

 

 

Edited by Vs1
repeat

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58 minutes ago, Vs1 said:

Well, those are not US laws.  Oddly, the OSHA law says per the UN it applies universally, but businesses claim to leave the U.S. due to overregulation, and go see a video of a ladder leaning on a pile in Bangladesh. 

I don't know how anyone would function. Every arena - teacher, dr., advertiser, scientist, pharmaceutical company, lawyer, government agent, corporation, military unit. salesperson, artist, donor, philanthropist, nonprofit - uses intimidation, manipulation (a/k/a persuasion)  (at mental and emotion risk, as well as physical) against the public, enemy, resource source, audience, and employees.   E.g., ads for drugs scares all (bullying), often create a disease (fraud) and "cure" (fraud, bullying), makes a worthless disclosure that the dr tells one to ignore, hides adverse events, and gets away with murder while making a profit (physicial, emotional, mental, economic harm).

Indeed, I was not addressing US law. Since the NBOC is in Canada, I thought Canadian sources would be most relevant to this thread.

Government of Canada's Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety  site also includes a Q and A about what examples are of what's considered bullying in its definition. These examples, designed with occupational health and safety / HR departments in mind, are narrower in scope than some of the ones pertaining to fradulent or intimidating persuasion that Vs1 mentions.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Stories of family businesses and Four Yorkshiremen aside, I personally expect a higher level of policy and behaviour from a public institution that is state supported and that represents, explictly or implicitly, the national arts. With so many similar stories from ballet and other companies emerging from all over the world, it's clear to me that we are confronting a longstanding systemic problem. Cultural shifts are difficult and slow, but the arc of social changes bends in a positive direction over time, as the wise person once observed.

What seems to be "new" is that individuals within systems have more options to communicate with each other, share stories, and get information out into the public sphere through new channels. Tabloids are part of the media ecosystem and serve a purpose. The Louis C.K. story (and others) started as a blind item in the tabloids, which sent up a flare to other people who were affected and enabled the gathering and vetting of information that finally came to light over a period of years. I expect that eventually someone is going to retire/resign/leave the ballet world and won't fear blacklisting or retaliation and will be willing to go on record.


This podcast episode and the linked "On Rumors" piece gives a good rundown of how these sorts of news stories pass from rumor to tabloid to news.
http://www.canadalandshow.com/podcast/ahead-of-the-times/

 

 

Edited by kylara7
Added link description

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Posted (edited)

Inadvertent double post...my apologies (my internet has been spotty since the ice storm this past weekend) :/

Edited by kylara7

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