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Opera director John Copley fired from the Met


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4 minutes ago, kfw said:

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.

You expressed sympathy for me. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. You have shown little evidence of that.

 

Relationships between professors and students should be collegial as well. Nevertheless there is still an imbalance of power, as there is between a director and a member of the choir. They aren't pals hanging out.

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11 minutes ago, kfw said:

Aurora, I not only have empathy, I’ve expressed it in this conversation.        

kfw, your very first post on this topic began as follows:

Quote

An old man known for his wild and irreverent sense of humor makes one flip comment in front of a whole group of people and some guy is too "traumatized" to work the rest of the night? Sillier and sillier. How exactly was this chorister harassed? Certainly he didn't think Copely was propositioning him in front of the entire chorus. Certainly he didn't fear for his job if he didn't sleep with Copely. Certainly, given the existence of the union, he didn't fear that expressing his displeasure right there and then would cost him his job. In what way was Copely abusing his power? Since when do men - I am one - get bent out of shape at being called attractive?

That, to me, was telling. I'm not saying that, since then, you have expressed no empathy here. But I can see where aurora is coming from (and I share the feeling) in thinking that there has been a lot of blaming the alleged victim here and a lot of excusing of Copley's offense (to the extent of suggesting there was no offense at all, in some cases). (I'm not singling you out in summing things up thus, by the way. It's come from several different sources.)

Edited by nanushka
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I have explained at length on these pages why I believe that remarks such as Copley's (as reported), in a professional environment, to a subordinate colleague, constitute an offense and why, yes, I consider the "complainant" to be an alleged victim (and I believe I have always used the term alleged). You are welcome to disagree, of course, but if you would like to know my reasoning I would simply ask that you read carefully what I have written.

And again, there is no evidence whatsoever from eyewitness testimony or credible reporting, that I have been made aware of, that Copley's remark was a joke. It may well have been; I personally don't think it matters much if it was.

Edited by nanushka
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Just now, Mashinka said:

Victim?  How does someone who can't take a joke become a victim?  Complainant, obviously, but he is not a victim.

When the organization states that the complaint has merit and fires the director.

You really do not understand what constitutes sexual harassment. https://www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/crc/2011-workplace-harassment.htm

There are good grounds (under hostile work environment) to call Copley's actions harassment, even if it was a joke.

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The core of my argument is here, posted this morning, page 3 above:

11 hours ago, nanushka said:

Copley's remark was foolish but it was also, in my opinion, simply wrong. You just don't say to a colleague — especially one you don't know really, really well and have a very personal understanding with; especially in a situation where you are an outsider coming in for a brief time to work in a professional environment that is not your own — in those and many other circumstances, you just don't say to a colleague, in the workplace, in front of other people, that you are thinking of him naked in your bed. You just don't do it. In part, that's simply a human matter: you don't know this person, you don't know his past, you don't know his complicated experience of sexuality, you don't know his beliefs, you don't really know anything about him. But more to the point, it's a legal matter: because the workplace — where economic necessity dictates that most of us must be, and where structures of power already entwine us — is a place where we all have the right to be treated as professionals, not as sexual objects. (And yes, structures of power are all around us. They're not the only things that are there, but they are always there.) Copley violated that man's right.

Does that mean Copley deserved to be fired? As I've said, I don't think that's necessarily the case. But once Copley did that, firing became one very possible, if not reasonable, outcome. And if Copley didn't know that, that's on him, in my opinion.

 

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1 hour ago, nanushka said:

That, to me, was telling. I'm not saying that, since then, you have expressed no empathy here. But I can see where aurora is coming from (and I share the feeling) in thinking that there has been a lot of blaming the alleged victim here and a lot of excusing of Copley's offense (to the extent of suggesting there was no offense at all, in some cases). (I'm not singling you out in summing things up thus, by the way. It's come from several different sources.)

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."

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25 minutes ago, kfw said:

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."

Consequences for your actions do not make you a victim. If Copley is a victim it is of his own bad judgment.

And your conditional slight attempt at empathy is noted, however the fact you consider the man who said such an inappropriate thing in a work situation the true victim rather negates it.

 

Copley has other jobs. Unlike the chorister, who I would imagine depends on his work at the Met. I'm sure he will be just fine. Someone earlier noted another job he's already been given.

Edited by aurora
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We all know a great deal about Copley, as the years pass and opera productions become more bizarre and ugly, John Copley stands as a beacon of reliability and artistic integrity, never disregarding the text or imposing silly interpretations onto works.  However we are told next to nothing about the complainant.  According to Sarah Connolly he had a poor grasp of English  anyway, which does make the incident even stranger.  Is he still working at the Met?  Has he been sent to Coventry? Has he been blacklisted yet?  I agree with the poster who suggested there might be more to this than meets the eye.  There can be no other explanation.

 

J

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2 minutes ago, Mashinka said:

We all know a great deal about Copley, as the years pass and opera productions become more bizarre and ugly, John Copley stands as a beacon of reliability and artistic integrity, never disregarding the text or imposing silly interpretations onto works.  However we are told next to nothing about the complainant.  According to Sarah Connolly he had a poor grasp of English  anyway, which does make the incident even stranger.  Is he still working at the Met?  Has he been sent to Coventry? Has he been blacklisted yet?  I agree with the poster who suggested there might be more to this than meets the eye.  There can be no other explanation.

 

J

I'm not sure why you bring up his English ability unless it is to suggest he misunderstood Copley--except no one has denied that this is indeed what Copley said.

Are you honestly obliquely suggesting that the alleged victim should be ostracized and blacklisted?

 

Also it is irrelevant if he is a beacon of artistic integrity. That makes his art good, it doesn't mean he is a good person. Weinstein produced a lot of good movies. It doesn't mean he didn't behave despicably (You could insert a lot of other examples here if you wanted--Gauguin, Wagner, Woody Allen, etc.)

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18 minutes ago, Mashinka said:

According to Sarah Connolly he had a poor grasp of English  anyway

Where does she make the claim and what does she cite as the basis for it? If that were true, I would think the Times would have mentioned it along with the other potentially complicating factors discussed in the article.

Edited by nanushka
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12 minutes ago, aurora said:

. Weinstein produced a lot of good movies. It doesn't mean he didn't behave despicably (You could insert a lot of other examples here if you wanted--Gauguin, Wagner, Woody Allen, etc.)

Off topic I know but has this Weinstein bloke actually been convicted of something in a court of law?

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Just now, Mashinka said:

Off topic I know but has this Weinstein bloke actually been convicted of something in a court of law?

Not yet, though I heard this morning about a civil case that is being brought against the company he founded and some of its principal employees.

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6 minutes ago, Mashinka said:

Off topic I know but has this Weinstein bloke actually been convicted of something in a court of law?

He is being currently charged with various crimes. https://www.vogue.com/article/harvey-weinstein-criminal-charges-investigations

You honestly think all these women made it up...70+ women and you still don't believe any of them?

Edited by aurora
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26 minutes ago, Mashinka said:

Where did I say they're making it up?  However I do rather like the principle of people being innocent until proven guilty.

I agree, but at least here it is in many cases legal (and, I would argue, moral) to fire someone even if they haven't been convicted of a crime.

Edited by nanushka
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31 minutes ago, nanushka said:

I agree, but at least here it is in many cases legal (and, I would argue, moral) to fire someone even if they haven't been convicted of a crime.

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. 

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18 hours ago, aurora said:

Consequences for your actions do not make you a victim. If Copley is a victim it is of his own bad judgment.

And your conditional slight attempt at empathy is noted, however the fact you consider the man who said such an inappropriate thing in a work situation the true victim rather negates it.

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.

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16 hours ago, kfw said:
16 hours ago, nanushka said:

I agree, but at least here it is in many cases legal (and, I would argue, moral) to fire someone even if they haven't been convicted of a crime.

kfw said: 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. 

I don't believe a person can be  proven  innocent in a court of law.  I think  there are two legal cases against   Weinstein currently being developed. No matter what happens down the line, I'd say his a-- is grass.

 

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39 minutes ago, kfw said:

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.

It is hard for white men to lose a bit of the dominance they've always had over other groups. 

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