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Pique Arabesque

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Everything posted by Pique Arabesque

  1. Waterbury's documents were certainly prepared with a lot of care, and at no point did Waterbury present herself as a dancer or employee of NYCB in order to shake them down. She said that she was Finlay's ex-girlfriend, who accidentally stumbled upon communications between men in the company in the course of checking her email. The law is often behind the times when it comes to sex crimes. Even if it doesn't meet the definition of revenge porn (and I'm not sure about that), Finlay's actions still are a grievous violation of privacy. I cannot say what Waterbury plans to do re criminal charges. And the group chat was absolutely connected to Waterbury. Finlay shared her nudes with his friends, and Ramasar even requested that Finlay "send him that pic [of Waterbury]." This is all in the filing. Waterbury would have probably never seen the texts if Finlay had not willingly given her his laptop (bad move, Chase!). And she absolutely did the right thing in making these communications public. The management and dancers of NYCB - along with the general public - had a right to know about the types of communications that these men were having about their colleagues. Defenders of Catazaro and Ramasar repeatedly raise the issue of *privacy,* and it is clear that the texts were clearly not meant to find a wider audience. That being said, they revealed each man's lack of ethics and character. If they think that women are 'sluts' and think about corps women as jailbait, how are they expected to partner and dance with them? While I am glad that AGMA is advocating for its dancers, I wish they had not reversed NYCB's decision about its own personnel. This undermines the gains that have been made regarding workplace sexual harassment in the wake of #MeToo. It is possible that they were texting and exchanging nudes at work, which would also make it a *work* issue and pull it out of the realm of the private. While some have criticized Catazaro and Ramasar, they have also received an enormous amount of support from NYCB dancers and fans. Both men have also been able to dance almost continuously. Longhitano is an NYC finance guy with enough spare change to donate to NYCB. I have not heard anything about him being fired from his job. He will be fine. Hardly a "derailing." Ashley Bouder is one of the company primas and has been a dancer at NYCB for almost 20 years. I'm sure that the NYT contacts her for comment, not the other way around. But some will clearly circle the wagons around powerful men at any cost.
  2. The media accounts of Waterbury that I have seen all make it clear that she was a SAB student, not a member of NYCB. I also never thought that Longhitano was an NYCB employee - most reports have described him as a "donor." Waterbury was in her late teens when she began dating Finlay, but is now in her early twenties. I am not familiar with NYCB's denial of any other assault allegations. Frankly, whatever "mistakes" may have occurred in her legal documents are minor, likely unintentional, and easily corrected. Fixating on this is grasping at straws and seems like a convenient way of smearing a survivor. And regardless, they pale in comparison to Finlay's revenge porn and the vile group chat he started with Ramasar and Catazaro. The arbitrator's decision is less of a vindication of the character of these men, and more of an indication that making misogynistic comments about coworkers is not a fireable offense until it becomes criminal. It is unfortunate that these men are being celebrated while people like Bouder - who are trying to make the company more equitable - are criticized for not being "classy" enough. As others have pointed out, Catazaro is arguably in a much better place professionally than he was pre-incident, and Ramasar will likely be welcomed back into the company with open arms. (And counseling seems very appropriate for a nearly 40 year old man who almost derailed his career to send his girlfriend's nudes to his friends). This should punch a wide hole in the idea that the #MeToo movement derails men's careers. Marv Albert pled guilty to assaulting a woman and was back on the air in three years. I wouldn't be surprised to see Finlay - who is experiencing consequences that are much less severe - to be back coaching "Apollo" within the next five years. Not to my knowledge. Finlay resigned before he could be fired, and Waterbury went public with her allegations 8 months ago (providing plenty of time to discredit the texts themselves, which hasn't happened). Ramasar and Catazaro have also admitted that they participated in it. Waterbury's critics are focused on criticizing details about her biography and the methods that she used to obtain access to the material, which implies that they have accepted that texts themselves were real.
  3. Agree. And I would put Robbins in the genius category (particularly as someone who choreographed iconic works for ballet, musical theater, and film, and had a larger pop culture impact than Balanchine). And though most new works will not stay in the rep, it is important to keep those creative gears turning. What makes NYCB unique is that it's a choreographer's company that is at the forefront of creating ballets that are subsequently disseminated around the world. It's not just a repository for Balanchine/Robbins works.
  4. There is quite a bit of support for Waterbury, but there is also backlash that centers the concerns of the accused men. I think that most people agree that Finlay messed up, but there is a pernicious idea that Ramasar and Catazaro have been unfairly caught up in Waterbury's grievance against her ex, when in fact they are grown men who were active participants in the reprehensible communications. Ramsar could have elected not to participate in the nude sharing, and Catazaro could have told Finlay that his behavior was gross. While termination might seem severe to those who are used to dismissing similar behavior as private locker room talk, I am not going to cry any tears for these men. I agree that NYCB dancers should not be obligated to make statements, but the support for Ramasar at Carousel and Sterling Hyltin's defense of Ramasar in the comment section of her IG posts reveal that dancers are unafraid to do so. And any person who makes sexual misconduct/assault claims understands that their claims will be looked over with a fine-toothed comb. However, there is a difference between fact-finding that is intended to uncover the truth vs bad faith questions that are intended to impugn the character of the survivor and place a smokescreen in front of the accused. As for the 'snooping' - it seems that Waterbury was simply trying to check her email and had the misfortune of stumbling upon Finlay's communications. I see no reason to think otherwise. Morning TV interviews do tend to be short and not particularly comprehensive, but my argument was that the GMA producers do have editorial standards and must have found Waterbury's story credible to put it on the air (Aside: I think that CBS' morning show does a good job of balancing the superficial and the serious). And the Jezebel article shows that there is interest from the feminist press in Waterbury's story. (Your original post expressed surprise that Waterbury had not done an interview with a more feminist-leaning publication). I double-checked and couldn't find anything from Teen Vogue, but there has been coverage in the WaPo and WSJ. Waterbury has an established relationship with Shiffon, which is likely why they got the first interview. I don't think she is fearful of talking to a *serious* journalist, though I agree that it shouldn't be a priority at this point.
  5. Unless one is an NYCB insider - and we are not able to discuss inside information here - no one can determine what specific piece of information led to the firings. Management could have felt that the communications were more damaging than initially anticipated, causing the suspension to turn into a termination. Calling the firings 'illegitimate' without insight into management's decision process is a step too far. (Also, referring to Waterbury's few interviews as a "blitz" also seems cynical). I found Reichlen's statement to be very generic and harmless. It simply emphasized NYCB's emphasis on creating a positive company culture. While I do agree that a dancer's only real duty is to dance, referring to dancers as 'pawns' strips them of their agency in the situation.
  6. It is not the responsibility of victims - and even the general public - to redeem abusers. And as others have said, the #MeToo movement is very young. However, there have been many countless instances where the rape/misconduct allegations didn't stick in the courts or the public imaginary, and the accused was allowed to go on with his life and reputation unscathed - Kobe Bryant and R Kelly immediately come to mind. Also, Marv Albert was convicted of misdemeanor assault and battery. He was fired from NBC, but brought back less than 2 years later. He currently commentates on TNT. For all of the patriarchal *what about the men!!!* handwringing (and those of you concerned about the *unjust* firing of Ramasar and Catazaro), they do just fine in the end. And most strikingly, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to SCOTUS yesterday, even after facing multiple credible accusations of sexual assault. He is someone who has become even more powerful and influential since his abuse allegations emerged.
  7. I don't think that the opinions of female dancers were the sole justification for the firing, though I am glad that the interim team is listening to their dancers. I imagine the texts/images were the deciding factors in the firings. There is also a difference between working with someone who you have a personality conflict with vs working with someone who has been accused of wrongdoing. The strength of the Ramasar/Catazaro case vs Waterbury's is also relative. There is also a tension between communications covered by privacy laws and acceptable behavior for NYCB dancers. And with the ubiquity of electronic devices, notions of acceptable behavior extend beyond the workplace - especially when your private communications concern coworkers. While the correspondence between Finlay, Ramasar, and Catazaro might seem small in comparison to the assaults that Kavanaugh is alleged to have committed, there are many instances of people being fired for behavior that was perfectly legal, but didn't look "good" professionally (for example, school teachers who were fired when their pasts as exotic dancers were revealed). I find this entire situation much less egregious than that.
  8. The union is just doing its job in appealing the firings, but the dancers are certainly entitled to their feelings, especially as the union's job is also to ensure a safe workplace for those still employed by NYCB. I would not want to be in a workplace where men made rape jokes about my colleagues. These dancers might also be concerned that their nude images might be circulating. I was more disturbed by the group of dancers who took a smiling photo with Ramasar at Carousel shortly after his firing and the individuals who seem to think that Ramasar and Catazaro are the real victims in this situation. I think its also worth mentioning that this is not a criminal proceeding (therefore, guilt and innocence - at least in the criminal/legal sense - are not issues here). Comparisons to The Crucible or The Scarlet Letter seem overwrought. This is not a life or death matter.
  9. It was his problem. You are a survivor. If there are a large number of abusers in an environment and leadership is looking the other way, then there is a culture of abuse. Glad he has recovered, though. I think that some of the backlash to Waterbury, broadly speaking, comes from the fact that it is making others reckon with their trauma. People are upset that she is publically asking for accountability instead of staying silent/minimizing the severity of the behavior like previous generations of survivors. Also as Finlay's partner - who accompanied him to official NYCB events - she had more access to the goings-on inside NYCB than the average former SAB student. I'm sure he told her quite a bit, and she saw some events herself. I have no reason to believe she was snooping. And it's always a terrible idea to give any passwords to anyone. As for her desire to avoid a rigorous interview: she was interviewed by Good Morning America and Teen Vogue and Jezebel have covered her story.
  10. People should treat all electronic and internet communications as if they might be discovered. In this era of metadata, there is no real privacy anymore. One should not type anything 'privately' that they feel unprepared to defend in a public forum. To answer your question, I have found that law is often behind developments in technology. (There also might be a generational gap here in these discussions of privacy). We can split hairs about what it means to be "underage" (shades of R Kelly there!), but over 18 makes you an adult in every US jurisdiction, and over 21 means you can drink legally in every jurisdiction. While it is not illegal for underage children to be in the presence of alcohol, the $150,000 in damages that occurred in the hotel room suggest that this was not some tasteful reception, or even a laidback gathering (and the claims appear to suggest that the girls were specifically invited to the event with the intent of consuming alcohol). And all writing is meant to persuade - sometimes the 'salacious' event is in fact, salacious (though I am more concerned about the safety of the underage girls than gossip). 18 to 22-year-old women are adults - but the fetishization of the "barely legal" woman is not only crude but also deeply misogynistic. Also, the texts between Finlay and Catazaro could have been sent while they were on the clock, using Lincoln Center wifi. Regardless, they involved the company as soon as they looped the poor corps woman into their misogynistic drivel (and there is no evidence to suggest that she wanted to have sex with them). I am glad that Finlay has resigned. The communication between Finlay and Catazaro is public knowledge, but I'm sure that his union rep and/or lawyer are currently mounting a zealous defense.
  11. They ceased to be thoughts once they were communicated in the group chat. I have heard that some apprenticeships can be offered at 17, but most company members are 18 and up. Though it is still not legal to drink alcohol between the ages of 18-20, you are still an adult. "Underage" specifically connotes someone who is under 18. Jokes about non-consensual sex are not funny and reflect poorly on the character of those making the joke. Employers care about that. (Also, if the butt of the joke is that the corps woman found Finlay and Catazaro irresistibly attractive, then she would, in fact, be consenting to sex).
  12. While many American arts institutions are in a precarious state, NYCB is not one of them. Catazaro embarrassed himself. And Finlay and Catazaro are Millenials. They, more than anyone, should understand that no print or electronic communications - even a group chat that is not put on public-facing social media - are really private. This is not about 'thought crime,' either. If they had that conversation in Finlay's apartment, we might not be having this conversation. This is not fascism. Certain aspects of the illicit behavior were allegedly covered up by the organization, which would make them complicit. But yes, time will tell. Sidebar, but if anything, this whole situation has revealed the deep "small c" conservatism of ballet dancers and balletomanes. Reducing this situation to one bad actor and reducing his colleagues to men unfairly targeted by the #MeToo pitchforks (and absolving an employer from any responsibility) is a good way to perpetuate workplace sexual misconduct. I want to end rape culture, and I believe survivors. There are much easier ways to gain one's 15 minutes of fame than reliving the most traumatic experience of one's life or fabricating trumped-up accusations that will eventually destroy your reputation and even your livelihood once exposed (ask Crystal Gail Mangum). Survivors know that their character will be attacked (just ask Christine Blasey Ford and Anita Hill) and their claims will be pored over with a fine-toothed comb. In fact, Ford and Deborah Ramirez (Kavanaugh's second accuser) have even requested an FBI investigation.
  13. Circulating nude images (some of which were taken without the subject's consent) and engaging in degrading talk are examples of disrespect towards colleagues. Regardless of how superficially polite they may have been in the studio, it is clear that they thought of some of their female colleagues as chattel. And just because Bouder hasn't gone through the extra effort to delete old photos doesn't mean that she approves of their behavior. As I have illustrated, bad behavior outside the workplace occasionally has consequences within the workplace. If these men had exercised better judgment, they would be dancing right now. They created this situation. They are not the victims here. And furthermore, as I have also stated, NYCB allegedly knew about aspects of Finlay's behavior - the drunkenness, parties with underage girls - that crept into the rehearsal room and official NYCB tours. Also, Finlay and Catazaro were clearly joking about rape (the text exchange re the corps dancer). Sex without consent - "giving her no choice" - is rape. (And Catazaro claims that he never saw the images of Waterbury). While I am not negating these women's personal experiences, it is important to note that these are all principal women with social capital and influence. I also did not take their statements to be rebuttals of Waterbury. Placed in context, they reflected gratefulness for their long, successful careers. That doesn't mean that the NYCB is immune from sexual misconduct. (I found their statements less problematic that Sterling Hyltin's defense of Amar, which reiterated the hoary victim-blaming rhetoric that has swirled around this conversation - and will have the intended or unintended effect of intimidating any people from coming forward to corroborate Waterbury's claims).
  14. I don't think that McKenzie is sadistic enough to promote Lane with the with the intent of humiliating her.
  15. You should see Copeland in the La Scala production of R&J with Bolle. It's fantastic.
  16. Catazaro's language was more than crude, though. According to the amended complaint, he and Finlay engaged in an extended back and forth where they fantasized about raping a corps member (Finlay specifically used the language "give her no choice"). I don't know if NYCB has any character/behavior clauses in their dancer contracts, but conversations like that would probably fall under that umbrella. An NYCB job is an enormous privilege - not a right - and I imagine that dancers are expected to elevate themselves beyond "street corner" talk. And this is not unprecedented - a few years ago, several incoming Harvard first-years lost their places at the university when racist group chat messages that circulated among them were discovered. (And if you don't want something to be public, you shouldn't put in in print.)
  17. If anyone embarrassed Maxwell, it was Ramasar, who sent her nude photo to his friends. It would be a shame to punish whistleblowers for attempting to hold institutions and the people in them accountable. SAB and NYCB are in the lawsuit because they are alleged to have turned the other cheek to their male dancers'/patrons' bad behavior. Longhitano's drunken rant and Finlay's DC party (and showing up to rehearsals drunk) all occurred on the clock and were allegedly swept under the rug. Historically, Balanchine's attempt to force Farrell's hand in marriage, Martins' dalliances with then-underage dancers (and the domestic violence incident) have shown that NYCB has not been the safest place for women historically - and all of those events happened before Waterbury was even born. Though Finlay is currently unemployed, family wealth is passed on generationally. Also, NYCB is an enormously powerful arts institution with a large endowment. If it survived the death of Balanchine and the departure of Martins, it will survive this. No one person is going to "bring them down." And no one is trying to police male sexuality - if Finlay, Catazaro, and Ramasar wanted to talk about how hot Jennifer Lawrence is, that would be their business. The issue was the nonconsensual distribution of photos and the company that allegedly overlooked it.
  18. RIP, Mr. Mitchell. My heart sunk when I read this news today. I hope he did not pass on poor terms with DTH. He may have just preferred to stay out of the limelight. Calling him "unreliable" seems a little harsh. His interviews were always illuminating for me and created a vivid picture of what it was like to be an early Balanchine dancer.
  19. The fetishization of the "barely legal" woman (aka she's old enough so I won't go to jail, but young enough to manipulate) is a very common trope.
  20. I agree with this. There should be strict no-fraternization policy between SAB and NYCB, even if the SAB dancer is 18+. Merson's assertions have provoked mixed reactions from the broader ballet community (mod note: I am not talking about this board, in particular). There are survivors of sexual harassment/assault who see themselves in Waterbury and understand that false sexual misconduct claims are very, very rare. There are others who think this is a tempest in a teapot and are more interested in defending the accused and the institution than demonstrating accountability. The fact that this claim has been filed (along with Martins departure, etc) suggests that something is in fact broken. The #MeToo movement has encouraged a reevaluation of norms in the entertainment industry at large. Things that might have been acceptable previously, like May-December relationships between people with differing levels of power, are now thankfully being reevaluated. The hypothetical 18-year-old SAB student/NYCB corps dancer couple likely began dating when they were both students. It is not the same as a principal danseur in his late 20s or 30s beginning a relationship with an 18-year-old SAB student (which while legal, is still creepy and predatory. The young corps woman/older principal man relationships give me pause as well, but that's for another post). While people with significant age gaps can have relationships based on love and respect, many 25+ year old men who pursue 18 year old women would likely be having relationships with underage girls if the law allowed. And according to the claim, Finlay and Catazaro specifically fetishized "barely legal" women in the 18-22 year old range. Yuck.
  21. He probably knew about the feature, but just didn't care. Or didn't think that *those* texts would pop up. I don't see any reason to suspect that she was snooping around.
  22. Good for those men! However, if senior management allows the Finlays to flourish, then it does become a company issue.
  23. According to the NYT, Catazaro has said that he didn't share images of Waterbury, but took part in "communications" that were not intended to "harm or embarrass." That language is deliberately ambiguous but implies that the communications were NSFW and might open him up to some scrutiny. I will let the courts sort out the specifics of Waterbury's claim. I used the "iceberg" language because it contains multiple damning accusations that extend beyond Finlay and Waterbury. SAB is not the NYCB, but it is under the NYCB umbrella. While there might not be a legal duty for Catazaro to intervene, it could be argued that there was a moral one. Many people have been fired for less. There is a desire to pin this all on Finlay (and Waterbury for stirring the pot) and absolve Ramasar, Catazaro, and the NYCB, but I am not convinced that the firings are a massive outrage. If Ramasar and Catazaro were involved in wrongdoing, they should face consequences. If Finlay gave Waterbury his password, it's very likely that the texts automatically popped up on his home screen as soon she logged in.
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