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Gomes and ABT

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21 minutes ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

... We don't know the details of Gomes ordeal, but we might suspect very well it could be a guy, given that he is gay. And pardon my French, but this sounds fishy. 

This seems to imply that there can never be any sexual harrassment or abuse of a guy by a guy.  As I remember high school it was filled with little incidents of harassment and humiliation, if not overtly sexual, of lower classmen by upper classmen. And it seemed to continue throughout society wherever there was a significant inequality in status  – and especially behind the scenes in Hollywood.

So I don't buy any of this.

And we don't know anything of what Marcelo Gomes was implicated in and may never know. The comment “I am profoundly disheartened by this matter,” by the ABT rep is very sobering.

 

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Wendy Perron (Dance Magazine editor) and Apollinaire Scherr (Financial TImes) on twitter have been very critical of ABT and sympathetic to Gomes:

In her tweet Perron responds to Vishneva's tweet as follows:

 

(If Perron knows more about the case than has been made public so far ("small indiscretion"), then I wish she would report on it. If she doesn’t then she is making a strong judgment, based on...well, I don’t really know what she is basing it on other than admiration for Gomes. But perhaps she will say more soon. Or not.)

In another tweet she expresses "kudos to Julie Kent" for her support of Gomes, "many of us in the dance world feel the same."

And another Perron tweet (liked by Scherr among others):

Will put the Scherr comments in a different post.

 

Edited by Drew

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Apollinaire Scherr responding to Julie Kent and in a different tweet trying to give historical context to situation:

And:

 

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Scherr's attempt at historical contextualization seems to me a reasonable intervention. I'm glad she made that particular point. But otherwise the tweets I posted above surprise me a little. That is, I'm surprised that members of the press/critics--not fans, not former colleagues--are posting their support of Gomes in this kind of "raw" way.

I would understand if they said, as Abatt has, that ABT should just have announced the resignation, and said nothing more. Based on what we know, that seems to me a reasonable criticism to make of how ABT has handled things. (Though I kind of suspect that Gomes' resignation would still have created a hullabaloo and speculation and probably ended with ABT having to say something more.)

These writers are weighing in decidedly on Gomes' side when publicly very little is known. So: do they know something we don't? Can they not report on it as journalists? Or tell what they know to other journalists?  Because if they want to publicly defend him and attack ABT based on something they know privately, then maybe some reporting is what needs to happen. Or is this just closing ranks around a beloved dancer? In which case...it makes me very uneasy.

Certainly, if Gomes comes out of this smelling like a rose (guilty of no more than "small indiscretion" in Perron's words, nothing that should have been considered "seriously concerning" by ABT )...that would be great--except maybe for ABT--and people who stood up for him would have a right to feel vindicated. But the language and reasoning of these tweets remains troubling to me for what it says about how people view these issues/accusations whenever they are raised -- that is, they seem based on misplaced assumptions. For example, the broader assumption that, as Scherr says in her tweet, Julie Kent's support for Gomes carries some special "authority" regarding ABT's decision seems puzzling unless Kent was a witness to what happened eight years ago or, at least, unless Gomes spoke to her about it, and so far no-one is claiming that.  Phrases like Perron's "totally noble person" also seem unfortunate to me in this context. Because whatever Gomes may or may not have done, this is the kind of idealizing discourse that is often used to close ranks around powerful people and shut up victims.  It's not evidence one way or another. It's a version of  'He's such a great artist that he can't possibly...' or 'He has friends and admirers, so he can't possibly...' 'I've always found him so kind and gracious, I can't believe...'  And those are not serious ways to think about sexual harassment/misconduct of any kind.

I allow that when you know a lot of great personal stories about someone, it can be harder to process a bad story.

Still, and put a little differently, Gomes could be a horrible person and a dreadful performer, rightly hated by everyone who ever danced with him, and still be innocent or at least guilty of no more than a "small indiscretion."  The issue isn't whether he is a beloved ballet superstar. That he surely is. As to whether he is being treated fairly or sensibly--well, I don't feel able to form a judgment, though I admit I am also not altogether prepared to believe ABT pushed Gomes to resign on a puritanical whim...But if that is what happened, then I hope we find out.

Edited by Drew
clarify an attribution

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Thanks, Drew, for laying all of this out so clearly. I too was surprised that they could act as journalists and advocates at the same time.

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10 hours ago, nanushka said:

And in many of the situations we've been discussing, physical force would not likely be the primary or best response, and we don't know any details of what Marcelo is alleged to have done, so there's no particular reason to think that physical force would likely have been the primary or best response to it.

I totally agree with this. I was in my 20s getting bad medical help at the university infirmary and at my wit’s end....undiagnosed mono for months and told repeatedly nothing was wrong with me. My parents finally told me by phone to go to the ER. Long story short:  my follow up involved a full physical by this doctor who felt like my savior (finally diagnosed, finally got correct medication, finally felt better after months of being sick and feeling crazy because nurses at the infirmary kept telling me nothing was wrong with me). Under the guise of a complete physical I was molested and by the time I realized what happened I felt stupid that I hadn’t recognized the warning signs and went along with it. Driving away I was really upset and realized from the point I “knew” what the real deal was I was okay, but it was how he manipulated me into a state of arousal, how I trusted him for good medical care, and how I could never take his medical care of me seriously ever again....that is what bothered me.

He had pictures of his wife, children, and Bibles all over his office, by the way...

He had to close his practice shortly after because I was not the only one.

There are many incidents that do not involve a physical response like fighting someone off. Many instances even between men involve a power play, trickery, manipulation of someone at a low point in life, etc.

I have had female doctors ever since. It took me years to agree to a full physical ever again. Some situations are a confusing mind play that have long lasting effects.

The idea that men can fight off attackers so men aren’t victims is absolutely ridiculous, in my opinion, so I totally agree with you, Nanushka!

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13 hours ago, balletforme said:

 

I guess that I would also point out that both organizations DID hire law firms to investigate the matters in an attempt to be fair.  

 

The two situations should not be compared.  It was entirely appropriate for NYCB to hire a law firm to investigate because the allegations against Martins come from alleged victims who are or were employees of NYCB. The claims are for wrongdoing by Martins during the course and in the scope of his employment as head of NYCB and SAB. That is not the case  regarding the claim against Marcelo.  One size reaction does not fit all.

 

Also, ballet dancers abruptly resign from companies all the time.  (See Cojocaru and Kobborg). There was no need for ABT to slather on the innuendo re Marcelo in the press release.  All they had to do was announce his resignation and leave it at that. Instead, this release apparently passed through a committee of lawyers who didn't give a damn whether they destroyed Marcelo as a human being or a performer.    

Edited by abatt

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The Barth press release screams lawyer-speak. ABT was lawyered up the wazoo. Marcelo never had a chance.

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5 hours ago, Drew said:

I'm surprised that members of the press/critics--not fans, not former colleagues--are posting their support of Gomes in this kind of "raw" way.

(Though I kind of suspect that Gomes' resignation would still have created a hullabaloo and speculation and probably ended with ABT having to say something more.)

 

Working critics should not be acting as advocates, especially when basic facts are not known. If Wendy Perron knows something that allows her to distinguish between a "small indiscretion" and "shameful behavior," then she needs to report on it. Otherwise, she should have written nothing. As for Scherr, I would respond as a gay male that there are plenty of gay male predators out there. (Responding solely to her tweet and not making any commentary about Gomes because, again, basic facts are unknown.)

It's been bad enough watching Alastair Macaulay try to ingratiate himself with various dancers on their Instagram feeds. Seeing Perron and Scherr wade into the fray as advocates instead of journalists only cheapens the critical function even more.

Regarding the ABT press release, I don't think it would have made a bit of difference if the ABT board had just written that Gomes resigned and left it there. Given his stature in the dance world, the speculation would have been just as intense.

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35 minutes ago, Birdsall said:

We don't know what Gomes did (or what he is accused of doing). If it involved someone who admired him and was maybe mentored (just a wild guess) outside the walls of ABT there could be "some" gray area.....because if it somehow involved his career and fame, even if not related specifically to ABT, it might have a sort of roundabout attachment to his job at ABT. Who knows? There is no way for us to know why ABT felt the need to hire a lawyer until (or if) details come out.

Yes, and Kathleen's post above (around the middle of page 3 of this thread) would speak directly to a case such as this, or a number of possible others. Dancers have multi-faceted professional lives beyond the confines of their home companies. If a dancer is alleged to have committed a serious offense in one of those outside professional contexts, even if no one else from their home company was involved, that home company would be well advised to investigate.

Note that I'm not supporting here ABT's press release and its inclusion of vague details about the case, only their decision to open an investigation and potentially act on the matter.

What I keep coming back to in my mind, over and over, is that (in my opinion) we just don't know enough about what is alleged to have happened to adequately judge much (if any) of this—the likelihood of guilt, the appropriateness of forgiveness and rehabilitation, the cause of the resignation, the appropriateness of the investigation, even perhaps the appropriateness of the press release. That's what makes this whole situation so difficult and frustrating and uncomfortable. We just don't know.

 

Edited by nanushka

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I hope that Marcelo gets proper legal advice and that they make a public statement with clear specifics to the case, sooner than later. If what happened or what he is been accused of doing its not that "horrendous", the lack of information is and will only do harm to him.

For many people his resignation is an indication of accepting responsibility and he hasn't denied that the allegations occurred either (as opposite to Martins). The only public statement made so far by "an spokeswoman for Marcelo said "This is a time of reflection for Marcelo. He is gratified and strengthened by the support he has received from family, friends and colleagues"......so if the incident happened, I agree with someone who posted above that the right thing to do is to come forward, accept it, apologize and move on....btw Alessandra Ferri has written an extensive reply supporting Marcelo, in Ratmansky's FB post.

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1 hour ago, abatt said:

The Barth press release screams lawyer-speak. ABT was lawyered up the wazoo. Marcelo never had a chance.

 

24 minutes ago, Classic_Ballet said:

I hope that Marcelo gets proper legal advice and that they make a public statement with clear specifics to the case, sooner than later. If what happened or what he is been accused of doing its not that "horrendous", the lack of information is and will only do harm to him.

ABT engaged a law firm, which seems perfectly reasonable. They aren’t equipped to handle this on their own, and I can’t imagine this was part of some sort of vendetta against Gomes. He’s clearly loved by the company and I imagine they would have done anything possible to keep him. Why would they want to besmirch the reputation of an audience favorite? 

I don’t buy that “Gomes didn’t stand a chance.” He’s a grown man, well-connected, who has earned a principal’s salary for some years now and could have engaged a lawyer to fight this. He has pretty much the whole dance community ready to rally for him. But he resigned. Taking that into account, plus the implied gravity of the misconduct, as stated in the press release, I’m led to interpret Gomes’ actions as an admission of guilt.

I can’t imagine a celebrated dancer sacrificing the last few years of his career because he was offended by management’s actions, but we are all just taking shots in the dark here.

I agree with Classic Ballet that Gomes should get a lawyer, if he hasn’t already. If he hopes to move forward professionally, he’s going to need to come clean with whatever it is he did. But if whatever he did was illegal, then I’m guessing we may not hear anything for some time.

I still think he has a better chance than almost any other accused figure of weathering this storm. There is a groundswell of support already, without even knowing the full details. I count myself among the fans eager to rally for him, pending more details.

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I wonder how the victim of the alleged incident is feeling about all of this support of Gomes.  They probably expected to be praised as brave and courageous for speaking out; as all other victims of the meetoo movement have been.  

 

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3 minutes ago, Balletwannabe said:

I wonder how the victim of the alleged incident is feeling about all of this support of Gomes.  They probably expected to be praised as brave and courageous for speaking out; as all other victims of the meetoo movement have been.  

 

It is a question worth asking, but since no information at all has been offered up to the public, it is hardly a surprise that people aren't willing to write off a beloved dancer (and among his peers, friend clearly) without any knowledge of what happened.

 

I also would point out not all victims of the metoo movement have been treated to nothing but accolades.

https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2017/10/asia-argento-harvey-weinstein-italian-backlash

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Just now, aurora said:

It is a question worth asking, but since no information at all has been offered up to the public, it is hardly a surprise that people aren't willing to write off a beloved dancer (and among his peers, friend clearly) without any knowledge of what happened.

 

I also would point out not all victims of the metoo movement have been treated to nothing but accolades.

https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2017/10/asia-argento-harvey-weinstein-italian-backlash

Fair point.

And yikes, I hadn't read about what happened to that woman.

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15 minutes ago, Balletwannabe said:

I wonder how the victim of the alleged incident is feeling about all of this support of Gomes.  They probably expected to be praised as brave and courageous for speaking out; as all other victims of the meetoo movement have been.  

We also have no idea whether the alleged victim did indeed speak out. All the press release says is "ABT was made aware of a highly concerning allegation." We don't know how they were made aware.

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7 minutes ago, nanushka said:

We also have no idea whether the alleged victim did indeed speak out. All the press release says is "ABT was made aware of a highly concerning allegation." We don't know how they were made aware.

I'm trying to think of how else an 8 year old incident would have come to light?  Who else but the victim would be making an allegation?

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2 minutes ago, Balletwannabe said:

I'm trying to think of how else an 8 year old incident would have come to light?  Who else but the victim would be making an allegation?

Anyone else who knew of it at the time or learned of it since, presumably, and perhaps was motivated by recent public disclosures to tip off the company. I'm not suggesting that one explanation is more likely than another, just again pointing out that we know next to nothing about what allegedly occurred, how it came to light, why the company responded as it did, why Marcelo resigned, etc. I think it's very important to keep that lack of knowledge in mind when judging or speculating about what we do know.

No matter how the company learned of the occurrence, though, your point about how the alleged victim must feel now is definitely worth keeping in mind.

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Posted by the co-authors of The Art of Movement on IG, with Marcelo at the center and wishes of “love and support to our friends”:

Subtle yet pointed.

Edited by nanushka

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18 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Anyone else who knew of it at the time or learned of it since, presumably, and perhaps was motivated by recent public disclosures to tip off the company. I'm not suggesting that one explanation is more likely than another, just again pointing out that we know next to nothing about what allegedly occurred, how it came to light, why the company responded as it did, why Marcelo resigned, etc. I think it's very important to keep that lack of knowledge in mind when judging or speculating about what we do know.

No matter how the company learned of the occurrence, though, your point about how the alleged victim must feel now is definitely worth keeping in mind.

Yes I suppose that's possible; I hadn't considered that.

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If there is official news about how this came to light, post about it then.  Until there is official news, do not speculate on the board. 

If you want to talk among yourselves, that's one of the reasons why we have PM.  You can communicate to anyone in "Member," "Senior Member," "Administrators," "Moderator," and "Board Moderator" status using PM -- the group name under the letter to the left of their posts -- , unless they have blocked you -- and that functionality has been iffy in prior versions of the software -- or have asked you not to contact them again.  We don't have access to the database to read any content, something we've been asked about in the past.

The way I read Apollinaire Scherr's "morass" tweet, that is one major accusation against ABT.   If I were the one accusing, I wouldn't have resorted to Twitter, but that's just me.

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Gomes is to me the least likely person in the co. to be thrown under the bus by them. From all I've read on social media and in interviews given by him and others, he's the most respected and beloved dancer there. It's also evident at every farewell or celebration (including his own this past summer). However, by my saying that I am in no way asserting that he must be guilty of whatever he's accused of because he must have resigned (or was pushed to resign) because he did something immoral or illegal. I'm merely saying that that further complicates understanding whatever possibly could have happened. And, any company with half a brain in this day and age would bring in outside counsel to investigate a sexual misconduct claim (again, assuming it was reported directly by the alleged victim or their attorney). Gomes is a 38 year old man, who has danced/toured all over the world and with companies besides ABT. He's worked with scores of different choreographers and producers. He's done modeling, has a documentary coming out, has been choreographing for at least 3 different companies. He has connections. He owns his own apt in NYC (that was in a Times article awhile back.) He's not a child with zero life experience. So, I don't buy that he didn't have a chance. If he didn't consult an attorney before resigning then that would be extremely poor judgement. But, he could have just as quickly lawyered up himself and resigned (or "resigned") under their advice. 

 

I also agree that if ABT had just put out a press release saying he resigned with no explanation, the speculation would have been intense and ongoing. This site alone would be lit up like a Christmas tree with us speculating, voicing our anger and sadness, why was there no warning?, no farewell at the Met?, what really prompted this?, etc. And, then what if the accusation leaked out afterwards and with the details? Accusations would be rampant that ABT tried to cover up immoral or illegal behavior by one of their own. Did they make Gomes sign an NDA before resigning so he wouldn't speak out about this and so he could keep whatever benefits they offered? Did they make the accuser also sign an NDA so they couldn't talk in return for them investigating? Is either even an option? Point is, unless either is possible then the details can always emerge. 

 

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6 minutes ago, Helene said:

he way I read Apollinaire Scherr's "morass" tweet, that is one major accusation against ABT.   

Is she really accusing a 21st century ballet company board of a homophobic presumption?

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5 minutes ago, kfw said:

Is she really accusing a 21st century ballet company board of a homophobic presumption?

The way I read it, she has one foot in the air over the other side of a very fine line.  But I'm not a lawyer.

7 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

This site alone would be lit up like a Christmas tree with us speculating,

It already has been, hence edits and deleted posts and warnings.

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9 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

I certainly hope that the alleged victim, or their attorney, was the one to notify ABT, because if it was by any other means (rumor? Writing on a wall?) that would be the most shameful reasoning to undertake an investigation.

Depending on the nature of the alleged offense, there is a lot of space for other possibilities between direct testimony from a victim on the one hand and mere rumor on the other. And some of those possibilities could certainly be reasonable (i.e. non-shameful) grounds for an investigation.

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