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Gomes and ABT

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2 hours ago, Classic_Ballet said:

 

I think  that people close to him do know the details of the allegations. It is hard to believe that major international stars as Vishneva or Ratmansky, or even Kent,  would make a public clear statement supporting Marcelo, unless they know more about the facts, it would be highly irresponsible otherwise.

Just to offer another view......I knew a teacher (and even went to her wedding....who divorced her) who ended up all over the news for sleeping with a student. This was one of the most high profile cases because the teacher in question was so far the "hottest" females who has done this. That made the news sensational (her looks). Anyway, when the scandal at my school broke (as summer began and we were off work) we were all in a state of shock, and most of us wanted to believe it was not true. That was our immediate reaction. "This can't be true! The student is lying!" because we genuinely liked this woman. But then I read the police report made public on "The Smoking Gun" website with names redacted. Well, what I know about teen boys.....they can lie, but not that good with all the details the boy provided (tattoos in private areas and hair cut in a certain pattern). My heart sank, and in my heart I knew it was true. When we returned to school her best friend was going around saying it isn't true and stuck by her longer than any of us even after DNA evidence was found on a couch the boy talked about in the teacher's portable.

My point:   people who are close to someone and like someone very much have a VERY hard time admitting something horrible is true about someone they care about.

I am not saying this is the case here, but it happens. I am just saying that colleagues who love Gomes may not have the true scoop and simply cannot believe anything horrible about him. I hope I am wrong.

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22 minutes ago, Birdsall said:

 

My point:   people who are close to someone and like someone very much have a VERY hard time admitting something horrible is true about someone they care about.

I am not saying this is the case here, but it happens. I am just saying that colleagues who love Gomes may not have the true scoop and simply cannot believe anything horrible about him. I hope I am wrong.

This is very true. Recently, Lehna Dunham had to apologize for initially supporting a writer of her show, Girls, apparently a friend of her, who had been accused of Sexual Assault. ......It could also be the case here, but I find Vishneva, Ratmasky and Kent statements quite strong, although I agree with your point that believing that someone close has done something really bad its not easy. ...On the other hand, Vishneva did label the incident to have "dubious intentions" and the critic's tweet as a  "small indiscretion", I would say these two statements are more indicative of having some degree of knowledge about the facts though......both indeed highly contradictory with the official press release given by abt, from which one can interpret that something really horrifying did happen

Edited by Classic_Ballet

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Why is there the assumption that Marcelo didn't have legal counsel? I would think that ABT would have made him have full legal representation before he signed anything – if only to protect them against being challenged in the future. 

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10 hours ago, Drew said:

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.

I agree with your whole post, but I wanted to emphasize this. 

It doesn't matter how much we love might love Gomes.  It doesn't matter how much we might despise [take your pick].  

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11 hours ago, Quiggin said:

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.

Agreed. If Perron, Scherr, et al. have information that vindicates Gomes, let them write it up. If they have it I hope they do. It'll have to be better than "Julie Kent knows for sure!"

 

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6 hours ago, abatt said:

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

That's how it seems to me too.  Even the phrase "profoundly disheartening" sounds insincere and lawyerese.  Abatt, I  agree with everything you've written.   

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Gomes is a well-loved person and dancer, a beloved partner, and a more-than-reliable professional who has saved the company's bacon many times over.  I don't know why it would be any less profoundly disheartening for the Board than it is for the audience or his colleagues.

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47 minutes ago, Helene said:

Gomes is a well-loved person and dancer, a beloved partner, and a more-than-reliable professional who has saved the company's bacon many times over.  I don't know why it would be any less profoundly disheartening for the Board than it is for the audience or his colleagues.

Very true. With their current male principal lineup, Gomes' departure will have severe consequences for the company, ones that we haven't even begun to address here, and it's highly unlikely they would have acted lightly.

At this point, the male principal roster consists of the following:

  • Roberto Bolle (ha!)
  • Jeffrey Cirio (has danced few full-length leading roles with ABT and is only able to partner certain dancers due to height)
  • Herman Cornejo (is only able to partner certain dancers due to height)
  • David Hallberg (as beloved as Marcelo but with many open questions — e.g. will he still dance with the Bolshoi or other companies? will he still try to have the sort of globetrotting career that he had before his major injuries? will he become injured again? what are his current capacities as a full-time dancer?)
  • Alban Lendorf (my own personal jury is out on him still)
  • Daniil Simkin (now has a substantial commitment to another company and is only able to partner certain dancers due to height)
  • Cory Stearns (among the more versatile on the roster, but with limited artistic depth, in my opinion)
  • James Whiteside (ditto)
Edited by nanushka

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4 hours ago, fondoffouettes said:

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? 

Agreed. It’s also worth noting that white-collar internal investigations are fundamentally different from litigation — when a law firm is engaged to perform an internal investigation, it’s about finding the facts on the ground and allowing the client to make a decision, not about getting into an adversarial legal situation. (An example for context: companies often hire law firms when they have reason to suspect there’s insider trading or FCPA violations within their ranks, because handling it internally is better than getting the company getting fined by, for example, the SEC.) The goal is to find out what happened, not to start a fight.

The ideal situation for everyone involved — including ABT management — would be an investigation revealing that allegations were meritless, with evidence from an investigation to refute anyone who claimed otherwise. It doesn’t look like that’s what will happen (or even, perhaps, that the investigation will be completed). That makes me sad and frustrated and disappointed, but it doesn’t make me say that ABT did something wrong in hiring a lawyer.

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1 hour ago, Marta said:

That's how it seems to me too.  Even the phrase "profoundly disheartening" sounds insincere and lawyerese.  Abatt, I  agree with everything you've written.   

Cahill is one of the top law firms in the country, and ABT likely has a continuing relationship with the firm over the years on many matters.   That's how big organizations like ABT operate.  I'm sure Cahill is on McKenzie's speed dial.  ABT learned about this sometime on Saturday, and then confronted Marcelo shortly thereafter. Do we really think that Marcelo was able to arrange any kind of meaningful legal counseling, much less counseling equal to a behemoth like Cahill, in 36 or so hours - during the week before Christmas?  Not a chance.  (Didn't intend to quote Marta)

Edited by abatt

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Does anyone know whether Marcelo is a US citizen.  I'm wondering whether his resignation will impact his ability to continue to live in the US, if that's what he wants to do.

Yes, ABT's male roster is now much too thin.  McKenzie will either need to promote at least one of the male soloists to principal, or hire someone from another company who can step into principal roles.

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I think that Gomes has enough friends in high places, ex, the dancers who are supporting him, to counsel him to find a lawyer and to help him find one.  It might have taken more than one call on speed dial, but there are lawyers who take on the big guns and win.  But big law firms are paid to get the job done within legal means necessary.

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I'm not sure whether Gomes is a US citizen. On one hand, he's been living and working in the US for two decades. It only takes a green card holder 5 years to be able to apply for citizenship (some, however, choose not to apply). On the other hand, this is what he posted during last year's presidential elections "Please vote!!! #Imwithher #pleaseletmestay" I don't know whether the "please let me stay" was in reference to one of the candidate's threat to deport a lot of immigrants. If he were a US citizen, he wouldn't have to worry about that. Then again, what do I know? He could have been playing around. It's just instagram, after all.

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18 minutes ago, LadyBubbles said:

I'm not sure whether Gomes is a US citizen. On one hand, he's been living and working in the US for two decades. It only takes a green card holder 5 years to be able to apply for citizenship (some, however, choose not to apply). On the other hand, this is what he posted during last year's presidential elections "Please vote!!! #Imwithher #pleaseletmestay" I don't know whether the "please let me stay" was in reference to one of the candidate's threat to deport a lot of immigrants. If he were a US citizen, he wouldn't have to worry about that. Then again, what do I know? He could have been playing around. It's just instagram, after all.

When Ratmansky and Ferri became naturalized US citizens in recent years, there was a fair amount of press announcing that. I just did some serious googling and couldn't get anything to come up about Gomes, although he might have kept this quiet for his own reasons.  He has talked in interviews of wanting to retire in Brazil, but it appears that Brazil and the US do permit dual citizenship. Let's hope he thought that through!

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53 minutes ago, abatt said:

Cahill is one of the top law firms in the country, and ABT likely has a continuing relationship with the firm over the years on many matters.   That's how big organizations like ABT operate.  I'm sure Cahill is on McKenzie's speed dial.  ABT learned about this sometime on Saturday, and then confronted Marcelo shortly thereafter. Do we really think that Marcelo was able to arrange any kind of meaningful legal counseling, much less counseling equal to a behemoth like Cahill, in 36 or so hours - during the week before Christmas?  Not a chance.  (Didn't intend to quote Marta)

I really doubt Cahill is one ABT's speed dial.  Cahill's bread and butter is securities, anti-trust and corporate litigation and they're also known for their first amendment work, hardly the practices that a performing arts organization would need, and definitely not at the billing rates that a non-profit can afford regularly.  I took a look at an old program and Cahill is not the firm listed as their labor & employment counsel.  It may have changed more recently, but it certainly looks like ABT went out of their way to make sure that whatever the allegation may have been was investigated by a team with an impeccable reputation.  

I'd also say, I don't think that even Cahill can move THAT fast in 36 hours.  Even with a first-class firm like Cahill, you would have to get the partners together to staff the associates and then give them marching orders, all while juggling other client loads.  Cahill probably had barely started the investigation in any meaningful way before Gomes resigned.

2 hours ago, tutu said:

Agreed. It’s also worth noting that white-collar internal investigations are fundamentally different from litigation — when a law firm is engaged to perform an internal investigation, it’s about finding the facts on the ground and allowing the client to make a decision, not about getting into an adversarial legal situation. (An example for context: companies often hire law firms when they have reason to suspect there’s insider trading or FCPA violations within their ranks, because handling it internally is better than getting the company getting fined by, for example, the SEC.) The goal is to find out what happened, not to start a fight.

I totally concur with this statement.  Gomes has been the workhorse of the ABT principal men and a fan favorite.  ABT would not have considered going down this path lightly.

Quote

My point:   people who are close to someone and like someone very much have a VERY hard time admitting something horrible is true about someone they care about.

I'm not sure people even have to be close, so as to feel a great connection in some way.  There are still plenty of Penn State alums who will defend Joe Paterno, seemingly to the death.  

My high school went through something like this recently.  I guess you could have termed much of what happened "sexual misconduct," both serious and high-profile enough to make national news. The teacher question ended up in prison, and the long-time, very beloved head of school was forced to resign.   It was highly controversial at the time, and I still struggle with the cognitive dissonance at work, that someone I knew, liked and personally admired had so clearly misjudged and mishandled a genuinely tragic situation.

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2 hours ago, abatt said:

  ABT learned about this sometime on Saturday, and then confronted Marcelo shortly thereafter. Do we really think that Marcelo was able to arrange any kind of meaningful legal counseling, much less counseling equal to a behemoth like Cahill, in 36 or so hours - during the week before Christmas?  Not a chance.  (Didn't intend to quote Marta)

Which would suggest that the information was so damaging ABT did not dare even to risk the appearance of sitting on it and Gomes resigned because the accusation was true and further investigation might potentially do him more harm than good.  I'd like to be wrong, but there it is.

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I haven't posted for quite some time but have been following this thread and the terrible news about Gomes's resignation. He has been my favorite male dancer for so many years, gives his heart and soul to every performance. To say he will be missed is such an understatement. I just read Nanushka's assessment of who is left in the male principal ranks and it seems to me the situation is dire. Time to put a lot of effort into the promising male soloists like Thomas Forster, Blaine Hoven, and maybe one or two more. I do think Whiteside can turn in a great performance when he is moved to do so, but the other strong principal men are too short to partner any but the smaller women. Cory Stearns continues to unimpress me. Coincidentally I just sent ABT a check for my annual membership the day before the Gomes news broke. How will his loss affect subscription sales?

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Re Gomes and lawyers: he surely has a manager he can call at short notice--and his management must have lawyers they can contact relatively quickly even if he doesn't. As others have said above, he is not some newbie in the profession with no professional contacts or resources. (Including the dancers' union for that matter...) This did all happen very quickly and, unfortunately, that can be read in multiple ways--not all favorable to ABT and not all favorable to Gomes. Moreover this resignation may finally not really turn out to be about ABT versus Gomes. Even that may be assuming too much. I hate to channel Donald Rumsfeld but we really are talking not just about known unknowns, but about unknown unknowns.

Edited by Drew

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9 minutes ago, Drew said:

Re Gomes and lawyers: He surely has a manager he can call at short notice--and his management must have lawyers they can contact relatively quickly even if he doesn't.

I

Also, he has a union. 

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6 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Also, he has a union. 

Yes--when you posted, I was just in the middle of editing my post to add that! I assume Gomes's resignation short circuits union involvement...but if the story really were that he was bullied unfairly into resignation then I suppose the union might want to look into it. I think we don't know and don't know what we don't know.

Edited by Drew

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32 minutes ago, Drew said:

Re Gomes and lawyers: he surely has a manager he can call at short notice

He does. I was introduced to his manager last June. (Not by Gomes, whom I've never met.)

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5 minutes ago, Drew said:

Yes--when you posted, I was just in the middle of editing my post to add that! I assume Gomes's resignation short circuits union involvement...but if the story really were that he was bullied unfairly into resignation then I suppose the union might want to look into it. I think we don't know and don't know what we don't know.

I don't know if the union could, would, or should get directly involved on Gomes' behalf with respect to the charges and the investigation itself. (Does AGMA limit itself primarily to contract negotiation and dispute resolution?) I was simply thinking that someone at AGMA has a rolodex with some lawyers' names and numbers in it. 

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All of this brings up so many questions about who we are and who we want to be as human beings. Gomes has built a lifetime of good will among those he's worked with, danced with, interacted with etc.  A lifetime of generous and good behavior has value. If he committed sexual assault 8 years ago, how does that weigh on the scales? There is still an aggrieved party. What is the best way to bring restitution to that party? If there is a pattern of behavior and several aggrieved parties what about that? What would the end of Gomes' performing career accomplish?

I can't go the route of disbelief or disappointment because someone I admire did a bad thing. Life is too complicated for that. I am confused, at this point, about what justice really means. If someone's ongoing behavior is criminal, obviously it has to be stopped. Other than that I am full of questions. I've often questioned our criminal justice system for example, in that how locking someone up helps the individual harmed by the criminal behavior, but that's another topic.

 

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