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  1. nanushka, the chorister’s male, and given the compositon of the Met’s chorus, he’s probably white. So I’m scratching my head at your theory. Also, I didn’t dispute Copely’ s right to decide for himself, I posed alternative options and asked why they weren’t better. We’ve been putting ourselves in the chorister and the director’s shoes all along and offering opinions on their choices – it won’t do now to say “we can’t know what’s best.” My question stands. And aurora, you ought to see my “extreme privilege,” ;-). All that privilege and three bucks buys me a cup of coffee bigger than I really want anyhow. You’ve already presumed I’ve never experienced any sexual harassment.
  2. I think what I wrote is at the heart of the matter, and I’d be interested in hearing other people's responses. Marta, I think the safe space mentality quite clearly produces incidents like this, if not necessarily in this case by making the chorister feel bad in the first place, but in affirming his ethical “right” to handle the situation as he did. Good point about how the law works. Of course you're right.
  3. The punishment should fit the crime, as the saying goes. You’re welcome to believe me or not, but I think if he is a victim, quite possibly what he’s a victim of is the whole triggering/safe space mentality, in which not only sticks and stones but words also are thought to break bones, that makes people turn inward and become extra sensitive and fragile. We live in a culture which we're all about rights rights rights and every group asserting their rights against other group’s rights. Humanistic it's not. Would it not have been better for the chorister himself for him to have spoken with Copely face to face? If the chorister was truly traumatized (which we don’t know), would not a face to face apology and expression of understanding by Copely have made him feel better than getting Copely fired? Why not? To quote a phrase, what’s so funny ‘bout peace, love and understanding? Having written this, I just saw a tweet that said “Offended is the new righteous.” To which a man I know replied, “The new self-righteous.” Exactly.
  4. They can always be brought back if they're proven innocent, but in Weinstein's case I wonder if anyone in the world besides Weinstein claims he's innocent.
  5. Whether the chorister was a victim is what’s been under discussion, but in any case he’s victimized Copely, or he and Gelb together have. One tasteless joke and the guy loses the job. Aurora, talk of what the law says is beside the point. No one thinks all laws are just, even when, as in this case, they are clearly designed to address a very serious problem. We all judge the laws. And despite thinking the chorister overreacted, I wrote that if he was truly traumatized (which we don't know), "I feel for him."
  6. Aurora, I not only have empathy, I’ve expressed it in this conversation. Context can make an enormous difference. Copely may have been the director, but the atmosphere of a good rehearsal is collegial. You can’t possibly know he was trying to “get away” with it. That's possible, but not knowable, and people's reputations do precede them. Copley has known to be flamboyant but not unpleasant to work with. Age may have played a role in that he was in the habit of saying that kind of thing and having it understood and not objected to.
  7. Aurora, I am very sorry those things happened to you. But I think they are clearly far, far worse - so far worse as to practically be in another category - than what Copely did. We're all sick of putting up with other people's harmful mistakes. It's the human condition. We all also make harmful mistakes. nanushka, in regards to whether the remark was absolutely and without question inappropriate I go back to what Mashinka said. I myself would never in a million years make a remark like that, but I have known people who would and wouldn't mean anything by it and would therefore be understood. Would I have advised Copely against making it? Most definitely. Would I have winced if I had been there when he said it? Yes.
  8. nanushka, I'm not inventing the details, I'm thinking of possible scenarios. You've imagined a plausible but worst-case scenario in which the chorister was truly traumatized. While yours may be accurate, I've imagined a scenario that I think fits with what we know of Copley, namely that he was only joking. Both can be true of course, because we're talking about two different people. Aurora, I'm a firm believer that everyone does wrong and everyone does harm, and that therefore it's best to show as much mercy as possible whenever possible. Whether that harm involves a sexual joke or not is to my mind beside the point. In this case, it seems as if an apology would have solved the problem the chorister said he had going forward, that of a hostile environment. It's not like Copley could have been expected to make a similar remark again. Helene and Aurora, I have also repeatedly agreed that the remark was probably inappropriate. However, a racist remark is a put-down. An admiring one by itself is not. Also, Copley's silence on this matter may simply indicate embarrassment and a wish that the matter be dropped
  9. The union could have been expected to defend Gelb’s handling of the situation if it felt his action was warranted. Instead it implicitly criticized both Copely and Gelb, taking Copely's side in regards to whether he should have been fired - in other words, in regards to the seriousness of the offense. Clearly the union didn’t feel the chorister was too traumatized to continue working with Copely or even to meet with him to ask for an apology. The chorister both said that he’d accept a written apology and that he “felt unable to continue working with Mr. Copley because of the hostile, sexually charged environment that had been created.” One passing remark that has been formally apologized for creates a lasting hostile environment? C’mon, Mr. chorister. As Helene said earlier, this is about power. I hope the next time you or I screw up we're met with mercy and understanding, not an unfeeling, I-got-my-rights application of the law.
  10. If it was said with a twinkle and a chuckle? Union members who were presumably present came to Copely's defense (union officials act on their behalf). In fact, has anyone besides Gelb, who of course would have been afraid of a lawsuit, come to the chorister's? That says a lot right there.
  11. I've never said I excuse the actions. I've said the remark was probably inappropriate but that a conversation and an apology could probably have restored harmony - if the chorister was willing for it to be restored. To ask for an apology is not to give someone a pass. It is by definition to confront him.
  12. I don't know what your second sentence means - this discussion has gotten so involved - but the first isn’t what I was trying to say. Liking and not taking as demeaning are two different things. The chorister didn’t have to like it to not feel demeaned. He might, for example, have felt embarrassed for Copley given he’d made himself look bad. Respecting someone for his work and expressing admiration for his looks are not mutually exclusive. Copely made one joke, not a running series of them. One joke doesn’t set the tone for a whole relationship, and the chorister didn’t accuse him of anything else. Intention should be a mitigating factor here just like it should be in any other human relationship. Do we really want a society where people just assert their legal rights and don't try to understand the person their asserting them against? Does that chorister prefer to be offended and (possibly) feel demeaned? If not, a simple conversation, or if not that then a written apology, could have done the trick. Yes you did, and I'm sorry not to have noted it. You say it's crucial to several of the points you were making; we just disagree about your logic. If the guy was traumatized, that might explain his reaction, but it would still be an overreaction because it would be rooted in what happened to him earlier, not in what Copely did, which only triggered memories of the trauma. Copley, of course, did not sexually abuse the guy. So Copley should not in effect be held responsible for what (might) have happened to the guy.
  13. Helene, racist jokes insult and denigrate. A complimentary joke, even one that’s sexual and makes the recipient uncomfortable, does neither, and this chorister didn’t have to either suck it up or do what he did. He had other ways to deal with it. The joke may be and probably was ill-considered and inappropriate, but it did not have to be handled the way it was, as even the union representing the chorister has said. People in the room, according to the Times, said “there appeared to have been a miscommunication.” A miscommunication is not like a racist joke. sandik, I would say that not that the explanation is an excuse, period, but that it may be a mitigating factor. The older we get, the harder it is for us to change our ways, after all. If Copely was relaxed, caught up in his work and enjoying himself, that could explain why he said something he might not have if he’d stopped to consider it. But he misjudged, and then he was shown no mercy, no understanding. nanushka, I agree that if the guy was traumatized he couldn’t just reconsider in real time, and perhaps as soon as the rehearsal ended, before he had time to think it through, he made his complaint. That doesn’t change the fact that there may be other ways to take the remark, other ways other people might have taken the remark (actually, see above, they did), other ways he could take such a remark from someone else if he hears it again. As for your hypothetical, I had considered it. But Copely is not responsible for the chorister having been abused, if in fact he was. And as for all those other things Copely “essentially” said, what I’ve been saying is that were quite likely imagined and not essentially said at all. While we can ask Copely to be more sensitive, especially in 2018, insensitivity is not “hostile,” as the chorister charged it was.
  14. By get it wrong I mean for one thing to misunderstand the tenor of the remark. But more than that, one can not realize that it isn't necessarily necessary to feel insulted or demeaned and all the rest. One might, for example, just see Copely as a character who came up in a time when he could joke about sex without people taking offense. One might just be embarrassed for the guy. Or one might just ask for an apology and get one.
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