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Finlay Resigns, Catazaro and Ramasar Suspended -- Update: Catazaro and Ramasar Fired

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22 hours ago, cobweb said:

Thanks for this concise summary On Pointe. I also question whether this is justification to fire Catazaro. If you have the time and energy to provide an equally clear summary of the charges against Ramasar, I would be interested to hear it. 

The sections of the complaint dealing with Ramasar are written in such a sloppy,  ungrammatical fashion that it's difficult to figure out who did what to whom,  allegedly.  At one point,  the complaint seems to allege that Catazaro and Ramasar were actually filming Ms. Waterbury  performing sexual acts,  which they are not accused of doing.  Ramasar definitely does ask Finlay for photos and videos.  But the only person who mentions Ms. Waterbury by name (as "Alex") is Craig Hall.  Considering all that this Craig Hall is alleged to have texted and done,  more than Ramasar,  far more than Catazaro,  it's curious that he is not named as a defendant.  Ramasar seems to have sent photos of only one woman,  who is possibly a willing participant.

22 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

I am of the view that a company is entitled to terminate employees if their behavior damages the company's reputation, even if that behavior took place off site and off hours.

I have no idea whether that sort of condition is written into NYCB contracts, but it's certainly been included in some of mine.

Most of the claims against the defendants are ridiculous and will certainly be thrown out - like but for the existence of NYCB and SAB,  Ms. Waterbury  would not have met Chase Finlay,  therefore the company and school owe her damages.  But it's as if the lawsuit itself is an act of revenge,  no matter what the outcome.

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21 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

The sections of the complaint dealing with Ramasar are written in such a sloppy,  ungrammatical fashion that it's difficult to figure out who did what to whom,  allegedly.  At one point,  the complaint seems to allege that Catazaro and Ramasar were actually filming Ms. Waterbury  performing sexual acts,  which they are not accused of doing. 

The amended complaint was actually corrected again after it was filed, you can see this in the database. The first complaint was also corrected after it was filed.

Catazaro was removed from this part you are referencing above. I agree, very sloppily written and a mockery of the legal system quite frankly.

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19 hours ago, On Pointe said:

Most of the claims against the defendants are ridiculous and will certainly be thrown out - like but for the existence of NYCB and SAB,  Ms. Waterbury  would not have met Chase Finlay,  therefore the company and school owe her damages.  But it's as if the lawsuit itself is an act of revenge,  no matter what the outcome.

If and when NYCB wins and gets the case dismissed, they should send a press release touting the victory to every news outlet in existence.  I do feel badly that Waterbury hooked up with such a lousy boyfriend as Finlay, but trying to bring down NYCB for this is farfetched, to put it mildly.  In the end, if NYCB is victorious, Waterbury will suffer consequences down the road.  If I were a potential employer, I would never hire Waterbury because she now has a reputation of being litigious and bringing frivolous claims against the institutions she is affiliated with.  

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One person's revenge may be another person's justice. Or her self-affirmation in the face of mistreatment.

In any case, Waterbury didn't create this situation and has every right to seek redress for what was done to her from whatever parties she thinks bears responsibility. For whatever motive. That is, unless it was established that she was a liar,  her motives seem to me a non-issue, and the company's own investigation confirms that they found her concerns to have some basis in truth. (Though the details of what they confirmed remain confidential, and that's a very different matter from confirming all the things alleged in the formal complaint.)

Her lawyer thinks there may be a case against more parties than Finlay. The courts may well decide otherwise--NYCB obviously thought and probably still thinks so, as do many here. But her suit is a response to things done TO her and around her; the damage to NYCB's reputation was done by others.

(I'll add that the idea that NYCB's reputation wouldn't be hurt if Waterbury only sued Finlay seems dubious to me--of course other names and stories were going to be part of the case against him. He was sharing photos and video with other employees at NYCB--Ramasar at the least, and Ramasar also happens to be one of their biggest male stars. How was NYCB's reputation NOT going to take a hit on the basis of the case against Finlay alone?)

Anyone can think what they want about Waterbury, but if NYCB or its dancers, for example, were to take the position that SHE is the source of their problems, I suspect their reputation would take another hit.

I find turning the case into an excuse to bash Martins for everything from firing Suzanne Farrell to not having Balanchine's gnomic wisdom to be absurd. (Bash him FOR firing Farrell if you like--that's a different matter.) And the implication of pieces like Bentley's that in Balanchine's day all was high-minded self-sacrifice and that in Martins' day all became narcissistic self-glorification seems to me itself a piece of narcissism and disrespectful of many great artists. But that's very different from simply giving the company a pass on everything that has happened while insinuating and/or stating that it's somehow Waterbury's fault.  

Edited by Drew

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4 minutes ago, abatt said:

I do feel badly that Waterbury hooked up with such a lousy boyfriend as Finlay, but trying to bring down NYCB for this is farfetched, to put it mildly.

It does sound farfetched. Is that what Waterbury is doing? Trying to "bring down" NYCB?

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2 minutes ago, nanushka said:

It does sound farfetched. Is that what Waterbury is doing? Trying to "bring down" NYCB?

She is trying to get money. Look at Merson's case records https://mersonlaw.com/

He doesn't care about changing culture, he cares about making HUGE money... and guess who has the money here.... not Finlay!

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17 minutes ago, Drew said:

One person's revenge may be another person's justice. Or her self-affirmation in the face of mistreatment.

In any case, Waterbury didn't create this situation and has every right to seek redress for what was done to her from whatever parties she thinks bears responsibility. For whatever motive. That is, unless it was established that she was a liar,  her motives seem to me a non-issue, and the company's own investigation confirms that they found her concerns to have some basis in truth. (Though the details of what they confirmed remain confidential.)

Her lawyer thinks there may be a case against more parties than Finlay. The courts may well decide otherwise--NYCB obviously thought and probably still thinks so, as do many here. But her suit is a response to things done TO her and around her; the damage to NYCB's reputation was done by others.

(I'll add that the idea that NYCB's reputation wouldn't be hurt if Waterbury only sued Finlay seems dubious to me--of course other names and stories were going to be part of the case against him. He was sharing photos and video with other employees at NYCB--Ramasar at the least--who also happens to be one of their biggest male stars. How was NYCB's reputation NOT going to take a hit on the basis even of the case against Finlay?)

Anyone can think what they want about Waterbury, but if NYCB or its dancers, for example, were to take the position that SHE is the source of their problems, I suspect their reputation would take another hit.

I find turning the case into an excuse to bash Martins for everything from firing Suzanne Farrell to not having Balanchine's gnomic wisdom to be absurd. (Bash him FOR firing Farrell if you like--that's a different matter.) And the implication of pieces like Bentley's that in Balanchine's day all was high-minded self-sacrifice and that in Martins' day all became narcissistic self-glorification seems to me itself a piece of narcissism and disrespectful of many great artists. But that's very different from simply giving the company a pass on everything that has happened while insinuating and/or stating that it's somehow Waterbury's fault.  

I don't  disagree with you.  Ms. Waterbury  was done wrong.  But it was by Chase Finlay,  not NYCB.  She is entitled to seek redress in any manner that she chooses.  But huge chunks of her complaint are boiler plate nonsense,  cooked up by a lawyer looking to get his hands in the deepest pockets in the vicinity.  When the dust settles,  which could take years,  I don't  expect this to have had much effect on her career.  People tend to forget this kind of low level scandal quickly.  I really think that NYCB overreacted.

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Thank you, Drew. I couldn’t agree more. As someone who has personally has been through sexual violence, it hurts all over again when I read comments that could be misconstrued to suggest that Ms. Waterbury is the one causing problems. She did not do this. And if she feels that the actions taken by several men at NYCB were a result of an atmosphere that allowed these men to think they were above reprimand then she has every right to sue the company, School and anyone else she feels contributed in some way. This does not mean the court will agree, but she still has the right. She is the victim here as are the other women whose photos were shared without their knowledge or consent. I do not think the lawsuit’s goal is to ‘take down NYCB’. Otherwise the scope would be set quite a bit larger. If we are all now making assumptions on her motives this is mine, as it would be what I would be thinking in her place:

in her head, regardless what her attorny’s motives might be, perhaps she is naming both the school and company in the complaint to force a change in the status quo. To finally call out the atmosphere of demoralizing women in order to force NYCB’s hand to make real change and not just do lip service. 

 

The one good thing that has come from this is that it has opened some major discussions in ballet schools and companies all across the US. I think that many finally realized just how far this all has gone and really does need to be addressed instead of brushing it under the rug. Finally things are out in the open to the degree that it can no longer be ignored.

 

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53 minutes ago, abatt said:

 If and when NYCB wins and gets the case dismissed, they should send a press release touting the victory to every news outlet in existence.

At the same time, they might be wise as well as compassionate not to be seen as attacking Waterbury or taking her suffering lightly.

40 minutes ago, fordhambae said:

She is trying to get money. Look at Merson's case records https://mersonlaw.com/

He doesn't care about changing culture, he cares about making HUGE money... and guess who has the money here.... not Finlay!

As an aside I can't help reflecting that  if I were Finlay I would rather be sued than face criminal charges that could land me in prison. But that's just me. 

As far as your point goes--yes lawyers take these cases for money and NYCB has money. As it happens, in our society anyway, money awards in lawsuits and/or settlements have proven to be one way to get institutions to look at themselves and change...in this case it may be a non-issue if the case is thrown out and/or a case goes forward and shows no change is needed.  But it might not be and statements made by  Bouder and Lovette, as well as the company's decision to fire Catazaro and Ramasar (however that gets resolved) suggest that not all the dancers are treating it as a non-issue even if they want to defend the company as an institution, which they surely do.

In any case, in our system of law wanting to "get money" is a legitimate way of seeking redress, even as saying someone wants to "get money" is sometimes used as a way to discredit them. To me it's more than believable that Waterbury sees her case as a case about NYCB and not just Finlay even if she is wrong.  And cases involving sexual issues are incredibly painful for victims to go through. The vast majority of victims in these cases do not take any legal action lightly or merely greedily--it's just too hard and too humiliating.  In fact I assume motives in most lawsuits are complex -- I said that above...and I have no problem with that.

NYCB in all this? I just don't share the view that several have expressed that it's obvious they bear no responsibility. Even if it's not a legal responsibility (which courts will decide): if an organization does an in-house investigation and finds that THREE of their top people are involved in behavior that is judged to be problematic, then I own it's very hard for me to take it as simply given nothing more is going on... that, say in this case, it's no more than one bad apple plus two slightly oxygenated ones...

Fraildove posted just as I was wrapping up my typing...I think s/he puts some of these issues more eloquently than I do, but I will go ahead and post...

 

Edited by Drew

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7 minutes ago, Drew said:

 Even if it's not a legal responsibility (which courts will decide): if an organization does an in-house investigation and finds that THREE of their top people are involved in behavior that is judged to be problematic, then I own it's very hard for me to take it as simply given nothing more is going on... that, say in this case, it's no more than one bad apple plus two slightly oxygenated ones... 

The company suspended them before this lawsuit was filed as well as releasing a statement saying that Merson had come for them asking for a settlement, which they had declined.

The aftermath of the lawsuit, as well as now implicating the school in the lawsuit as an additional defendant, has undoubtedly caused massive representational damages to the company (donors complaining, ticket sales etc) and as for the school, I can only imagine the concerns of student parents as well as future parents sending their children to the school.

 I don't doubt that all of this was an attempt at trying to get the company to buckle for a big cash settlement.

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46 minutes ago, Fraildove said:

Thank you, Drew. I couldn’t agree more. As someone who has personally has been through sexual violence, it hurts all over again when I read comments that could be misconstrued to suggest that Ms. Waterbury is the one causing problems. She did not do this. And if she feels that the actions taken by several men at NYCB were a result of an atmosphere that allowed these men to think they were above reprimand then she has every right to sew the company, School and anyone else she feels contributed in some way. This does not mean the court will agree, but she still has the right. She is the victim here as are the other women whose photos were shared without their knowledge or consent. I do not think the lawsuit’s goal is to ‘take down NYCB’. Otherwise the scope would be set quite a bit larger. If we are all now making assumptions on her motives this is mine, as it would be what I would be thinking in her place:

in her head, regardless what her attorny’s motives might be, perhaps she is naming both the school and company in the complaint to force a change in the status quo. To finally call out the atmosphere of demoralizing women in order to force NYCB’s hand to make real change and not just do lip service.

 

Where is there any evidence that NYCB or SAB are in the business of demoralizing women?

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1 hour ago, On Pointe said:

Where is there any evidence that NYCB or SAB are in the business of demoralizing women?

That wasn't said: "In her head, regardless what her attorny’s motives might be, perhaps she is naming both the school and company in the complaint to force a change in the status quo. To finally call out the atmosphere of demoralizing women in order to force NYCB’s hand to make real change and not just do lip service."

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1 hour ago, TripleAxel61 said:

That wasn't said: "In her head, regardless what her attorny’s motives might be, perhaps she is naming both the school and company in the complaint to force a change in the status quo. To finally call out the atmosphere of demoralizing women in order to force NYCB’s hand to make real change and not just do lip service."

If any school or institution has the ability to change the "atmosphere of demoralizing women",  given that it is an intrinsic part of much of male-female relations,  they should convey their method to the world.  It occurs in the lowest rungs of society all the way to Congress,  the White House,  the Catholic Church,  the military,  the Ivy League and the Supreme Court,  to name just a few.  It's ironic that male ballet dancers,  who actually get to handle female bodies as a part of their job,  still get aroused by photos of women,  like most other men.  That's hard wired and not going to change.  What can change is the socialization that makes some men,  like Finlay,  believe they are entitled to use a woman's body as they wish.  But that socialization starts in the home,  long before boys get to the ballet studio.

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4 hours ago, TripleAxel61 said:

That wasn't said: "In her head, regardless what her attorny’s motives might be, perhaps she is naming both the school and company in the complaint to force a change in the status quo. To finally call out the atmosphere of demoralizing women in order to force NYCB’s hand to make real change and not just do lip service."

If Waterbury can inspire that kind of change, we might be seeing the balletic equivalent, in terms of impact, of the Libby Zion case.  That case changed the rules about how many consecutive hours medical residents are allowed to be on call.  The New York State medical establishment reevaluated and restructured their training programs.  Her father Sidney Zion was the force leading to the systemic reforms. His NY Times obituary provides a brief summary of the events leading too and resulting from his daughter's death.

https://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/03/nyregion/03zion.html

 

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8 hours ago, Drew said:

As an aside I can't help reflecting that  if I were Finlay I would rather be sued than face criminal charges that could land me in prison. But that's just me. 

 

 

The two are not mutually exclusive, and one may be a prelude to the other, and even a point of leverage in the first.

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I doubt Finlay would "land in prison" for a first offense. But if a conviction would put him on the sex offenders' register, that would have a much bigger impact on his life. Not only would he be unable to teach ballet - or teach anything to people under 18 - but he would also be restricted in where he would be allowed to live.  And in many places, the sex offender registry has no end-date: once you're on, you don't get off. This is a very potent weapon for Miss Waterbury. 

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On Pointe,

Again, if you reread my post I said ‘maybe in her head’, meaning her opinion. Obviously she feels like there is evidence that makes NYCB culpable. And it is her right to file a suit. It is the court that decides if there is anything in the lawsuit that can move on to the next phase after it is filed. She doesn’t need to prove anything to us. She technically doesn’t need any proof to file a suit although it would be difficult to get an attorney who works on contingency to do so without some evedience. But the key word in my statement was in her head. I never once said whether or not I think NYCB is responsible. This was a hypothetical reasoning like so many of your examples. As I said in my post, if I were in her position, and felt that this happened because of a bigger problem, I would name what I felt to be the bigger problem and try and get some real change in the company.

 

In my own experience as a professional dancer what Ma Waterbury is claiming is not too far out of the norm from what my own experiences were. The enormous power that AD’s and School directors have, the influence that principals have over newer and younger dancers, the feeling that because boys/men are a precious commodity that they could literally do as they pleased without fear of reprimand due to their status where if a female student or dancer was to do anything similar they would be kicked out of the school/company. Just curious what your own experiences were like. And if I misinterpreted in my thought that you might have been a professional ballet dancer then I apologize.

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7 hours ago, On Pointe said:

the "atmosphere of demoralizing women".... is an intrinsic part of much of male-female relations

Um. what? It is not intrinsic.

It is pervasive but your argument seems to be therefore that no change is needed or wanted. 

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4 hours ago, lmspear said:

If Waterbury can inspire that kind of change, we might be seeing the balletic equivalent, in terms of impact, of the Libby Zion case.  That case changed the rules about how many consecutive hours medical residents are allowed to be on call.  The New York State medical establishment reevaluated and restructured their training programs.  Her father Sidney Zion was the force leading to the systemic reforms. His NY Times obituary provides a brief summary of the events leading too and resulting from his daughter's death.

https://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/03/nyregion/03zion.html

 

I remember the Libby Zion case well,  as the trial was televised on Court TV.  While it brought about welcome changes in the training of new physicians,  what was most memorable to me was how it consumed the lives of not just her father but her brothers as well.  Their various legal actions,  that went on for years,  were attempts primarily to punish the doctors and the hospital where Libby was treated.    They even tried to get the doctors indicted for murder.  Concern for the well being of overworked interns was not the family's motivation.  They wanted revenge,  which they never got as all of the doctors involved retained the ability to practice medicine.

In the Waterbury  case,  nobody died,  no one was battered,  and all of the sex was consensual.  It doesn't  meet the criteria for "revenge porn".  Finlay was a cad and a boor,  but it's  highly unlikely that there will be any criminal charges.  This is a private dispute that Merson is trying to make institutional.  There is nothing any school or company can do that will stop consenting adults,  or minors,  from having sex,  and sexual relationships always have the potential of going sideways and hurting the participants.

A company-wide seminar on sexual harassment,  and warning against the making and sharing of intimate images is an excellent idea.  But it wasn't  the culture of the ballet studio that brought Ms. Waterbury  to grief.  It was Chase Finlay.

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43 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

In the Waterbury  case,  nobody died,  no one was battered,  and all of the sex was consensual.  It doesn't  meet the criteria for "revenge porn".  Finlay was a cad and a boor,  but it's  highly unlikely that there will be any criminal charges.  This is a private dispute that Merson is trying to make institutional.  There is nothing any school or company can do that will stop consenting adults,  or minors,  from having sex,  and sexual relationships always have the potential of going sideways and hurting the participants.

 

Also "there is nothing any school or company can do that will stop consenting adults,  or minors,  from having sex" is a ridiculous argument. Of course there isn't. And no law is going to stop all robberies, murders or rapes either (people are still going to do all those things!), but that doesn't mean we say OH WELL! and not have or enforce these laws.

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6 hours ago, Fraildove said:

On Pointe,

Again, if you reread my post I said ‘maybe in her head’, meaning her opinion. Obviously she feels like there is evidence that makes NYCB culpable. And it is her right to file a suit. It is the court that decides if there is anything in the lawsuit that can move on to the next phase after it is filed. She doesn’t need to prove anything to us. She technically doesn’t need any proof to file a suit although it would be difficult to get an attorney who works on contingency to do so without some evedience. But the key word in my statement was in her head. I never once said whether or not I think NYCB is responsible. This was a hypothetical reasoning like so many of your examples. As I said in my post, if I were in her position, and felt that this happened because of a bigger problem, I would name what I felt to be the bigger problem and try and get some real change in the company.

 

In my own experience as a professional dancer what Ma Waterbury is claiming is not too far out of the norm from what my own experiences were. The enormous power that AD’s and School directors have, the influence that principals have over newer and younger dancers, the feeling that because boys/men are a precious commodity that they could literally do as they pleased without fear of reprimand due to their status where if a female student or dancer was to do anything similar they would be kicked out of the school/company. Just curious what your own experiences were like. And if I misinterpreted in my thought that you might have been a professional ballet dancer then I apologize.

I was a ballet dancer and one time member of AGMA,  but I spent most of my career performing on Broadway.  I have observed preferential treatment given to male dancers over female dancers in ballet,  although that may not be as prevalent now that there are many more men in the profession.  There was also preferential treatment for thinner dancers,  dancers with the highest extensions,  dancers with the best feet,  dancers with the prettiest faces.  In an aesthetic art form,  some will be preferred and valued over others.

Company and school directors wield enormous power because it's necessary for the running of the institutions.  Bosses are bosses on every job.  (During the recent action against sexual harassment  at McDonald's,  women workers described how male managers had such power over their lives that some routinely demanded sex from them during their shift if they requested so much as a schedule change.  And all they're doing is selling hamburgers.)  In artistic institutions,  like symphony orchestras and ballet companies,  where there are many more talented artists than there are jobs,  the power of the bosses to make or break a career is overwhelming,  but there seems no remedy for that,  except to demand that their actions be transparent with some semblance of fairness.

Ms. Waterbury  is angry at Chase Finlay and she's taken action against him,  rightly so.  

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33 minutes ago, aurora said:

 

Also "there is nothing any school or company can do that will stop consenting adults,  or minors,  from having sex" is a ridiculous argument. Of course there isn't. And no law is going to stop all robberies, murders or rapes either (people are still going to do all those things!), but that doesn't mean we say OH WELL! and not have or enforce these laws.

Sex between consenting adults is not against the law.  Sexual attraction can not be regulated.  If you have any suggestions as to how a ballet school can stop female students from swooning over handsome company stars please put them forth.  What do you think NYCB and SAB should be doing that will prevent any more Waterbury  situations?

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1 hour ago, aurora said:

Um. what? It is not intrinsic.

It is pervasive but your argument seems to be therefore that no change is needed or wanted. 

Change is both needed and wanted by women,  but there is no greater illustration of the imbalance between men and women in our culture than the spectacle of the Senate Judiciary Committee preparing to treat Christine Blasey  Ford exactly the way they treated Anita Hill over twenty years ago.  Some of the same guys will be doing the probing.  Men like lording  it over women.

Edited by On Pointe
Typo

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Sexual attraction can't be regulated, but I don't see any argument that it should.

Sexual behavior can be and is regularly regulated by legislatures and institutions, including schools.  By allowing or not creating the opportunities for two groups to work and train together under their auspices, for example, they weigh in on one or the other side of the trade-off.  That doesn't stop prohibited relationships from happening, nor could it be expected to do so. It signals and can enforce expected norms.

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5 hours ago, On Pointe said:

I

Ms. Waterbury  is angry at Chase Finlay and she's taken action against him,  rightly so.  

Yes, her claim is against Finlay, and potentially against any of his friends who also distributed her image after receiving it from Finlay. SAB and NYCB are in the suit because they have deep pockets.  Hopefully the institutions will be dismissed from the suit.  If and when that happens, Waterbury's chance of collecting her damages from Finlay may be an uphill battle.  He comes from a wealthy family, but their wealth is not his wealth.  He is an unemployed student at the moment.  

If any members of the company were her friends, I'm not sure they still are. By embarrassing members of the company such as Alexa Maxwell and others by repeating the stories she has heard or says she has heard, all she has done is treat other women poorly.  For someone who holds herself out as a representative of "me too",  Waterbury has not done any of these women in the company a service.  

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