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Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations


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1 minute ago, abatt said:

I don't agree.  If she had written "I believe your are siding with an abuser" or "in my opinion you are siding with an abuser",  it would have been clear that she was stating her opinion.  However, the words that she wrote state as a fact that Martins is an abuser.  The exact words used matter, especially when those words are being published to a wide audience in a magazine.

Ok, now I'm confused.  I'm not sure I understand what you're disagreeing with.  Could you clarify?

If she had stated "in my opinion..." I wouldn't have said a word.  

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13 minutes ago, aurora said:

Flack did not say they don't have the same right to speak their truth as the accusers. You are once again twisting her words. Robbie Fairchild managed to both speak his and express compassion. 

“You are siding with an abuser” is a pretty strong hint that if you don’t have anything bad to say about Martins, keep it to yourself.  You may choose to exempt Fairchild, but I notice Flack did not.

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2 minutes ago, dirac said:

“You are siding with an abuser” is a pretty strong hint that if you don’t have anything bad to say about Martins, keep it to yourself.  You may choose to exempt Fairchild, but I notice Flack did not.

She didn't single anyone out on either side.

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42 minutes ago, aurora said:

Robbie Fairchild managed to both speak his and express compassion. Something that is sorely lacking in this thread.

I, for one, believe Martins is probably guilty and is receiving just treatment, but I've said I feel bad for everyone at this point, and I complimented Fairchild. 

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1 hour ago, Amy Reusch said:

Okay, this is addressed generally, not specifically to the Martins situation, but given how widespread the MeToo movement now is:  

If flirtation is equal to harassment, then aren't there many women who have harassed their male co-workers?  Is showing cleavage at work harrassment?  What about the hemline?  How far does this go?  Are women all going to have to don the hajib at work to avoid harassing the men?    Ask the men you know, has a woman ever flirted with them at work?

I feel anyone who has been repeatedly "hit on" at work, after indicating a lack of interest, has a different situation than the casual flirtation or off color joke... but...  we are talking about a slippery slope here... and there are whole generations of men who have been taught persistence is a virtue.  There are magazine articles out there advising women to never accept the first invitation for a date because it's a turn-off, makes them seem "too easy"...   There is a tremendous amount of subtext in flirtation, and it is possible to misread it.  Some flirtation is never intended to go beyond a smile.

I believe anyone who has been forced to have sex to keep their job has been horrendously abused and should be protected.  


On the other hand, I feel Leonard Lopate should have been left in his job at WNYC, and is a victim of the MeToo movement.

Peter Martins?  I don't know.  I was not there.   Clearly there is something.  Was that something everything everyone has ever accused him of?  I have no idea.  I just don't like the mob justice situation, it makes me nervous.   One should be able to face one's accusers.  How are we to judge these situations where most of the time someone coming forward long after all evidence has disappeared is telling the truth.  Until someone can assure me that 100% of the time no one innocent has ever been accused...  I'm not in a rush to jump to any conclusions.  Let's hear what the investigation turns up.  In the meantime, he has lost his job and his reputation.  

 

I have no axe to grind.  I do not think a situations are the exactly the same.

Thank you, Amy. You have very clearly expressed my thoughts, which I have been unable to articulate nearly so well. 

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57 minutes ago, aurora said:

You must be speaking of Dana McCallum in 2014. She was no longer employed at Twitter following her case. Dropping in obliquely referenced (and incorrect) evidence of other people's horrible behavior doesn't invalidate the fact that most employers would have acted on the allegations against Martins long ago (if not by firing, then at least in some way).

Flack did not say they don't have the same right to speak their truth as the accusers. You are once again twisting her words. Robbie Fairchild managed to both speak his and express compassion. Something that is sorely lacking in this thread.

It took several months after McCallum's bail was set at $350,000 for him to leave Twitter.  He had multiple issues,  including alcohol abuse,  that could have impacted his leaving.  Considering the nature of the charges,  one would think that dismissal would have been swift,  but it wasn't,  if it ever took place at all.  He may have quit on his own.

I was writing in response to Helene's post,  where she suggested that she believed that Martins' supporters should not speak up.  If I have mischaracterized her post,  I'm sure she can speak for herself.

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5 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

It took several months after McCallum's bail was set at $350,000 for him to leave Twitter.  He had multiple issues,  including alcohol abuse,  that could have impacted his leaving.  Considering the nature of the charges,  one would think that dismissal would have been swift,  but it wasn't,  if it ever took place at all.  He may have quit on his own.

I was writing in response to Helene's post,  where she suggested that she believed that Martins' supporters should not speak up.  If I have mischaracterized her post,  I'm sure she can speak for herself.

McCallum is a rapist but that is no excuse for mis-gendering her 4x in one short passage. That is a move straight from anti-trans right wing playbooks.

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5 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

I was writing in response to Helene's post,  where she suggested that she believed that Martins' supporters should not speak up.  If I have mischaracterized her post,  I'm sure she can speak for herself.

Also, for a dancer to say publicly, "That wasn't my experience with Martins as a boss or with the company," does not in itself enlist the speaker as a "supporter," in the sense of endorsing everything Peter Martins has ever said or done or accusing those who have spoken out of sour grapes. Such statements add to the current store of what is public knowledge and can be evaluated along with other things we know, or "know."

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2 hours ago, On Pointe said:

 

At no time have the dancers who support Martins discounted or disparaged anyone else's account of their experiences with him.  They have simply espressed that their experiences were good.  Are you suggesting,  as Flack is,  that they don't have the same right to "speak their truth" as the accusers?

Of course they have the same right. She doesn't suggest that they don't have the same right to "speak their truth" either. 

As the saying goes, freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences of that speech.  She's asking them to think about what their support means and how it might be judged.  

 

2 hours ago, On Pointe said:

Silicon Valley is the "outside world" and a staggering number of executives there charged with sexual abuse have kept their jobs,  including a transgender engineer who beat and raped his estranged wife while claiming to be a feminist and advocate for womens' rights.  This,  along with the rampant sexual harassment  the STEM field is notorious for,  doesn't excuse Martins' actions one bit.  But he isn't the first exec to get a pass for his actions and he's hardly the worst.

I'm not one of the people who thinks the outside world is perfect.  I've worked in the tech sector for decades, and before that for corporations and non-profits.  More often than not, my experience is that if these kinds of charges are made public, there's some action by the company, including job loss.  But by no means are they all made public, and by no means is this universal.  

When the Martins arrest in 1992 was made public, I was still living in NYC, where it was major news, and my co-workers, who weren't even ballet fans, were almost universally astonished that he could hit not only his wife, but an employee, endangering a foot that took years to heal, but not lose his job.

But Flack wouldn't be the first person to come from a very insular world and have a different experience in the outside world. 

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4 hours ago, kfw said:

I'm sorry Balanchine sunk that low, and I'm sorry both for Farrell and Mejia, but I don't think a spurned would-be husband's taking his emotions out on the actual husband professionally falls into the same category as sexual harassment, which involves demanding sex.

Actually, if you look at the current requirements for a hostile workplace, that kind of retributory action would indeed fit the description.

But in many ways, comparing Balanchine's and Robbins' behavior 30 or so years ago to current standards is interesting intellectually, but not really helpful when it comes to current expectations.  And using their old behaviors to justify or excuse current bad action is a poor choice.  Genius or not, some of what Balanchine did was wrong -- many people thought so then, and most people think so now. 

We are likely not going to know the breadth and depth of Martins' behavior at SAB/NYCB -- this is not, to my knowledge, being investigated for criminal activity.  As a private employment matter, neither party is automatically required to make evidence public.  Since both organizations are non-profits, they may have a more complex obligation to report than another commercial activity, but more often than not, these kinds of investigations end in an agreement, possibly with damages assessed, but with some form of non-disclosure involved.  The dancers who may have been harmed are not obliged to make their troubles public just to satisfy our curiosity.

In my family, we say that explanations are not excuses -- understanding why something works the way it does is helpful, but it doesn't make it right.

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1 hour ago, aurora said:

McCallum is a rapist but that is no excuse for mis-gendering her 4x in one short passage. That is a move straight from anti-trans right wing playbooks.

I am not right wing,  but I am anti-trans and I make no apologies for it.  I will not refer to a man as "she" just because he wears a dress and pearls.  Your mileage may vary.  I don't care.

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14 hours ago, Amy Reusch said:

If flirtation is equal to harassment...

It isn't. At least not legally, not in the workplace. Again from the EEOC:

Quote

Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

Isolated or finite incidents have to be quite severe in order to rise to the legal standard of sexual harassment. Simply flirting with a colleague, asking a colleague on a date, wearing flattering or suggestive clothing, making an off-color joke — such behaviors may be inadvisable, but they do not rise to the legal standard. Assuming the harassment is not of the "quid pro quo" type (for example, a supervisor soliciting sexual favors from a subordinate, with the suggested or explicit promise of advancement — in which case a single instance is sufficient), a sustained pattern of offensive behavior is generally required in order for the legal standard to be met. As far as I understand them (and admittedly I'm not a lawyer or otherwise a specialist in this field), the laws are written in a way that should ease your concerns.

And really, if people need to be educated a bit — i.e. hey, it's not okay to ask one colleague 10 times for a date and repeatedly corner him/her in the staff lounge with your arm around his/her shoulder — is that so bad a thing?

Edited by nanushka
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11 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

I am not right wing,  but I am anti-trans and I make no apologies for it.  I will not refer to a man as "she" just because he wears a dress and pearls.  Your mileage may vary.  I don't care.

That's cross-dressing which is not the same as transgender, but whatever.

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24 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

I am not right wing,  but I am anti-trans and I make no apologies for it.

It's your right to be as anti-trans as you want.  That is even became an issue on Ballet Alert! in this context is a diversion.

Our policy is that racist, sexist, and discriminatory language will not be tolerated, and that includes buzzwords or phrases. 

We also have policies against discussing the discussion, and this is not the place to voice approval or disapproval of each other.  

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56 minutes ago, sandik said:

Actually, if you look at the current requirements for a hostile workplace, that kind of retributory action would indeed fit the description.

But in many ways, comparing Balanchine's and Robbins' behavior 30 or so years ago to current standards is interesting intellectually, but not really helpful when it comes to current expectations.  And using their old behaviors to justify or excuse current bad action is a poor choice.  Genius or not, some of what Balanchine did was wrong -- many people thought so then, and most people think so now.

I don't doubt you. What I'm saying is that I think a distinction nonetheless can be recognized and thus should be drawn between making a workplace hostile and harassing someone sexually. They are not one and the same. And I don't know who you're thinking of in your second paragraph, but I hope I've been clear that I don't believe Balanchine's treatment of Farrell and Mejia was at all justified. 

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27 minutes ago, Helene said:

It's your right to be as anti-trans as you want.  That is even became an issue on Ballet Alert! in this context is a diversion.

Our policy is that racist, sexist, and discriminatory language will not be tolerated, and that includes buzzwords or phrases. 

We also have policies against discussing the discussion, and this is not the place to voice approval or disapproval of each other.  

It was not my intent to derail the discussion.  In Parliamentary terms,  I rose to a point of personal privilege.  My apologies.

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9 hours ago, kfw said:

I don't doubt you. What I'm saying is that I think a distinction nonetheless can be recognized and thus should be drawn between making a workplace hostile and harassing someone sexually. They are not one and the same. And I don't know who you're thinking of in your second paragraph, but I hope I've been clear that I don't believe Balanchine's treatment of Farrell and Mejia was at all justified. 

I believe this is a misunderstanding of the term sexual harassment.

I may be wrong, but I believe that if I, as a supervisor, pressure a subordinate to marry me and professionally punish his/her later spouse (also an employee) for his/her refusal, and if none of those facts is in dispute, then I am legally guilty of sexual harassment — and the employee, his/her later spouse, and all of my other subordinates (because my actions have communicated to them that, if they do not submit to my potential future sexual advances, they will in some way be professionally punished) are all victims of that offense.

Edited by nanushka
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16 minutes ago, nanushka said:

I believe this is a misunderstanding of the term sexual harassment.

I may be wrong, but I believe that if I, as a supervisor, pressure a subordinate to marry me and professionally punish his/her later spouse (also an employee) for her refusal, and if none of those facts is in dispute, then I am legally guilty of sexual harassment — and the employee, his/her later spouse, and all of my other subordinates (because my actions have communicated to them that, if they do not submit to my potential future sexual advances, they will in some way be professionally punished) are all victims of that offense.

Whether Balanchine punished Mejia by not casting him is in dispute,  if you believe that an AD has the right to make those decisions.  No doubt,  the optics are not good.

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1 minute ago, On Pointe said:

Whether Balanchine punished Mejia by not casting him is in dispute,  if you believe that an AD has the right to make those decisions.  No doubt,  the optics are not good.

I was not talking about Balanchine. I was talking about the definition of sexual harassment.

Edited by nanushka
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On 1/8/2018 at 8:24 AM, KayDenmark said:

Sorry, but this is nonsense. In the 1940s and 1950s, interracial marriage was considered "wrong", having children outside of marriage was "wrong" and gay marriage was unthinkable. All of these things are accepted and often applauded in 2018. By contrast, in the 1940s and 1950s, the idea of a relationship between a boss and an underling - usually a male boss and a female underling - was accepted and often commonplace. How many men of that era married their secretaries? What's "right" and "wrong" change with time and place, and I'm not sure I'd like to know what the self-righteous types of 2088 will be saying about us. 

I had a long response with multiple quotes that disappeared (ack!), but I wanted to clarify: 

Any abusive behavior is wrong, regardless of the decade in which it occurred.

And to address some other points that have been raised:

I see no issue with Flack's statement. Martins told the NYT that he pushed Darci into an etagere. It is a documented fact. Flack clearly cares about NYCB, and is not out to "get" Martins. Instead, she is encouraging current dancers like T Peck and Mearns to speak out in ways that reflect their experiences while not alienating the people who are making allegations against Martins. (Also, if Flack is "bitter," one might argue that Peck and Mearns are looking at Martins with rose-colored glasses).

One of the best things about the #MeToo movement is that it is questioning certain courtship rituals. It is okay for women to say yes when they are first asked out, and shows that men shouldn't repeatedly pursue women who have demonstrated that they aren't interested in a relationship. The #MeToo organizers are likely not interested in policing women's wardrobes, or ending all workplace relationships. 

Also, married women are harassed in the workplace as well - just an FYI.

And if an individual has a long, documented track record of abuse, then they are an abuser. It becomes fact, and not opinion.

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3 minutes ago, nanushka said:

I believe this is a misunderstanding of the term sexual harassment.

I may be wrong, but I believe that if I, as a supervisor, pressure a subordinate to marry me and professionally punish his/her later spouse for her refusal, then I am legally guilty of sexual harassment — and the employee, his/her later spouse, and all of my other subordinates (because my actions have communicated to them that, if they do not submit to my potential future sexual advances, they will in some way be professionally punished) are all victims of that offense.

Again, I'm drawing a distinction between any particular legal definition and what I think a wise and accurate definition is. Legal definitions follow culturally current ones anyhow. Balanchine, as we know, was a romantic, which is a far cry from what we see in Martins' choreography. That legal definition may even be a good one for the purposes of preventing harassment, but I don't think it accurately describes Balanchine's actions or state of mind. Nor did Balanchine fall in love with and propose to just anyone, so in a company of 40 female dancers or whatever he had in the late 60s, few would likely even worry. In fact, while he was clearly wrong to punish Farrell and Mejia, by today's legal workplace rules, or by some of them at least from the impression I get, he would have been wrong to even go out with and propose to Tallchief and L'Clerq. He would have been guilty for sexual harassment even for that. I see his fault as something significantly different. It's clear you don't. :)

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16 minutes ago, kfw said:

Again, I'm drawing a distinction between any particular legal definition and what I think a wise and accurate definition is. Legal definitions follow culturally current ones anyhow. Balanchine, as we know, was a romantic, which is a far cry from what we see in Martins' choreography. That legal definition may even be a good one for the purposes of preventing harassment, but I don't think it accurately describes Balanchine's actions or state of mind. Nor did Balanchine fall in love with and propose to just anyone, so in a company of 40 female dancers or whatever he had in the late 60s, few would likely even worry. In fact, while he was clearly wrong to punish Farrell and Mejia, by today's legal workplace rules, or by some of them at least from the impression I get, he would have been wrong to even go out with and propose to Tallchief and L'Clerq. He would have been guilty for sexual harassment even for that. I see his fault as something significantly different. It's clear you don't. :)

Again, though, I was not talking about Balanchine. I was talking about the particular legal — and, I believe, culturally current and common — definition of the term sexual harassment.

Edited by nanushka
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3 minutes ago, nanushka said:

I will simply repeat that I was not talking about Balanchine. I was talking about the particular legal — and, I believe, culturally current and common — definition of the term sexual harassment.

I was talking about Balanchine of course, and if it's a good definition, why should Balanchine not be judged by it? I've tried to explain why I think that would be a misjudgment, which I think shows why it's a bad definition.

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