Jump to content
abatt

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

Recommended Posts

32 minutes ago, Drew said:

These are serious concerns--I mostly wanted to indicate my strong conviction that a joke about giving a women "no choice" in matters of sex is a joke about rape not about "convincing." Still, it is worth remarking that these are not thoughts, but words. Private words (at last as far as is known) that became public because of criminal actions one of the two parties to the conversation is alleged to have committed. Having become public they impact the company and its employees, and the company might reasonably feel a need to address them.  In this case they decided to do so -- first through suspensions then firing; the union (and others) are arguing the last is over-reach. That will be determined in arbitration, not by me and not on this discussion board. As far as Waterbury's suit goes, likewise I leave it to the courts to determine ... But yes, when a (purported) crime is investigated (Finlay) other stuff, that might not be expected to come out, comes out. (And given that the point of her suit against the company is to argue that this case isn't just about Finlay, her case then has to show just that.  Though I continue to think that a suit against Finlay alone would still be a plenty big problem for the company.)

And once something comes out (for whatever reason) that has consequences.  And raises red flags which, even if the courts decide don't rise to the level to justify a suit against NYCB, might be worthwhile for the company to discuss. As indeed Barry Kerollis discusses in general terms regarding the ballet world -- not the specific case -- in the podcast Helene and Quiggin mentioned.

In terms of public perceptions, I will add that given that these words became public Catazaro's unwillingness to express regret (as Ramasar did in his second public statement) is all the more puzzling to me. I imagine that if you said something about co-worker that came out and caused "awkwardness," as in the scenario you invoke,  you might apologize  EVEN IF you were pissed off that something you thought was private became public and didn't think should have. Perhaps you would not, but I have seen exactly that scenario at my workplace.

 

 

Ms. Waterbury's case is a civil action.  It is yet to be determined that a criminal act took place.  It likely will never come to that.  At any rate,  it's the police that do the investigating. It's telling that the first version of the complaint did not include this conversation.  If it had been necessary for Merson to make his case,  it would have been in there.  (If the female dancer's name is included or easily guessed in a new version of the complaint,  it will be proof positive that the main motivation is to hurt and embarrass,  not seek justice.)  At any rate,  in my opinion,  Catazaro  and  Finlay  were not joking about rape.  As there are others here who feel otherwise,  one can conclude that we might represent  a microcosm of the public - some will find it a hanging offense and some will not.

I listened to the podcast and what Barry Kerollis calls toxic masculinity is behavior familiar to anyone who has spent time around adolescent boys,  whether they dance or play football.   They are not yet fully formed men and they tend to do silly things.  But men from every  walk of life have done what Chase Finlay is alleged to have done.  It's not a ballet problem,  it's a human problem.

I don't  think  we should think less of Catazaro  because he didn't  apologize.  He might have been advised to refrain from saying anything until this matter is adjudicated,  which would be good advice.  Or not.  

Share this post


Link to post
35 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Ms. Waterbury's case is a civil action.  It is yet to be determined that a criminal action took place.  It likely will never come to that.  At any rate,  it's the police that do the investigating,  not a suspicious girlfriend snooping in her boyfriend's email.  It's telling that the first version of the complaint did not include this conversation.  If it had been necessary for Merson to make his case,  it would have been in there.  At any rate,  in my opinion,  Catazaro  and  Finlay  were not joking about rape.  As there are others here who feel otherwise,  one can conclude that we might represent  a microcosm of the public - some will find it a hanging offense and some will not.

I listened to the podcast and what Barry Kerollis calls toxic masculinity is behavior familiar to anyone who has spent time around adolescent boys,  whether they dance or play football.   They are not yet fully formed men and they tend to do silly things.  But men from every  walk of life have done what Chase Finlay is alleged to have done.  It's not a ballet problem,  it's a human problem.

Oh I was actually just editing my post to get rid of the word criminal--so point taken!

I don't think joking about rape is a hanging offense. I don't care for it either and think it can be destructive in the workplace. Fairly or unfairly, Catazaro's words are now known to his fellow workers.

Finlay, Catazaro, and Ramasar are not adolescent boys. (And not all adolescent boys behave with appalling disrespect to women. By a long shot.)

Men from every walk of life have done what Chase Finlay is alleged to have done or something like it or worse.  Yet some workplaces are worse when it comes to such things than others. Consistently. So things can be done to influence how people conduct themselves towards one another without veering off into thought control and fascism. Has NYCB done all it reasonably could have done over time on these issues? I've already said that I don't believe so.

That "ballet" generally shares in problems pervasive in our society is hardly a reason for people in the ballet world not to try to address those problems. Though it may be a reason to realize there is a limit to what can be done in any one given sphere without larger social movements. And I'm not yet prepared to give up on positive change altogether.

 

Edited by Drew

Share this post


Link to post
47 minutes ago, Drew said:

Still, it is worth remarking that these are not thoughts, but words. And words that however jokingly refer to a potential crime. 

Drew, you probably did not mean it this way but this comment sends shiver down my spine reminding of how prophetic Philip K. Dick was. Have we reached the state where pre-crime no is longer a science-fiction but a reality?

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Dreamer said:

Drew, you probably did not mean it this way but this comment sends shiver down my spine reminding of how prophetic Philip K. Dick was. Have we reached the state where pre-crime no is longer a science-fiction but a reality?

You are right--the issue is NOT and should not be pre-crime which would be at once tyrannical and absurd. Also I rather assume the two men were joking however unpleasantly. But once these words became public, are they a non-issue for Catazaro's fellow dancers and his place of work? NYCB seems to have decided otherwise. On the face of it, it's not clear to me that that is automatically the wrong decision. Was the firing over-reach? Well, the union thinks so and arbitration will decide.

(Lauren Lovette spoke about safety in her instagram post..."we are speaking up and working every day to make our work environment more safe and transparent.")

Edited by Drew

Share this post


Link to post
23 minutes ago, Drew said:

Oh I was actually just editing my post to get rid of the word criminal--so point taken!

I don't think joking about rape is a hanging offense. I don't care for it either and think it can be destructive in the workplace.

Finlay, Catazaro, and Ramasar are not adolescent boys. (And not all adolescent boys behave with appalling disrespect to women. By a long shot.)

Men from every walk of life have done what Chase Finlay is alleged to have done or something like it or worse.  Yet some workplaces are worse when it comes to such things than others. Consistently. So things can be done to influence how people conduct themselves towards one another without veering off into thought control and fascism. Has NYCB done all it reasonably could have done over time on these issues? I've already said that I don't believe so.

That "ballet" generally shares in problems pervasive in our society is hardly a reason for people in the ballet world not to try to address those problems. Though it may be a reason to realize there is a limit to what can be done in any one given sphere without larger social movements. And I'm not yet prepared to give up on positive change altogether.

 

Have Finlay,  Catazaro  and  Ramasar  been accused of appalling disrespect towards their partners and other female dancers in their work at NYCB?  I don't  think  so.   Ashley Bouder still has photos of herself with all three on her Instagram.  If they had been problematic I don't  think they'd be there.  Evidently their adolescent  behavior does not extend to the workplace.

This really is a workplace issue,  whatever you think about what they did in their private lives.  Did  Catazaro and  Ramasar  fulfill the terms of their contracts and treat their work colleagues with respect?

 

Share this post


Link to post
41 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Have Finlay,  Catazaro  and  Ramasar  been accused of appalling disrespect towards their partners and other female dancers in their work at NYCB? 

 

I was responding to your comments about about toxic masculinity in adolescents--I believe we are all agreed here that Finlay, Catazaro, and Ramasar are not adolescents. I wasn't referring to them in that sentence at all, though reading my post over I see how it could be construed as directed at them.

That said, based on what we know so far (which may be missing information) I don't think Ramasar and Finlay treated Waterbury with respect; and I don't think joking about raping (or even "double teaming") a colleague is exactly respectful either.  The fact that Waterbury is not a work colleague and that the joke was outside the workplace (assuming that gets confirmed) may save their jobs--Ramasar's and Catazaro's that is...What it says about New York City Ballet is, to borrow Lovette's word, less "transparent" to me. I mean that exactly--not that I know the answers, but that it's not clear.

(Edited to add: if it turns out that they circulated sexually explicit photos of dancers in the company without their consent...that, too, I would find disrespectful. Perhaps I should save "appallingly" for worse things--but circulating such photos of fellow workers without consent would be bad enough.)

By the by, here is Marina Harss's recent piece in Dance Tabs--it's a review that also discusses the current situation and mentions transparency in a slightly different sense:  http://dancetabs.com/2018/09/new-york-city-ballet-jewels-all-balanchine-4bill-new-york/

Edited by Drew

Share this post


Link to post

Yesterday, at least three pincipal women posted to Instagram essentially praising the company and stating how glad they are to be in it. Lauren’s post was in an Instagram story in which she spoke directly to the camera. I can’t reproduce it. Here are excerpts from the other posts:

Maria: “NYCB is so strong and I’m so proud to be a member of this glorious company for more than twenty years.”

 

Sara”...nycballet is unreal and amazing. I feel so f**kin lucky to be in this company.”

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, Olga said:

Yesterday, at least three pincipal women posted to Instagram essentially praising the company and stating how glad they are to be in it. Lauren’s post was in an Instagram story in which she spoke directly to the camera. I can’t reproduce it. Here are excerpts from the other posts:

Maria: “NYCB is so strong and I’m so proud to be a member of this glorious company for more than twenty years.”

 

Sara”...nycballet is unreal and amazing. I feel so f**kin lucky to be in this company.”

These posts don't sound like what I would expect to hear from women working in a dangerous workplace where rape, sexual assault and domestic violence are rampant and tolerated by management -- especially Lovette's video where you can feel the sincerity of her comments in a more visceral way than you can when reading a written post. This sets up an interesting contrast between what is alleged by Waterbury versus the increasingly public support conveyed by the women of NYCB. Although the courts will have final say, for now I am inclined to side with the women who work in the company and have a better understanding of the workplace environment and culture.

Share this post


Link to post
11 hours ago, On Pointe said:

Have Finlay,  Catazaro  and  Ramasar  been accused of appalling disrespect towards their partners and other female dancers in their work at NYCB?  I don't  think  so.   Ashley Bouder still has photos of herself with all three on her Instagram.  If they had been problematic I don't  think they'd be there.  Evidently their adolescent  behavior does not extend to the workplace.

This really is a workplace issue,  whatever you think about what they did in their private lives.  Did  Catazaro and  Ramasar  fulfill the terms of their contracts and treat their work colleagues with respect?

 

Circulating nude images (some of which were taken without the subject's consent) and engaging in degrading talk are examples of disrespect towards colleagues. Regardless of how superficially polite they may have been in the studio, it is clear that they thought of some of their female colleagues as chattel. And just because Bouder hasn't gone through the extra effort to delete old photos doesn't mean that she approves of their behavior. As I have illustrated, bad behavior outside the workplace occasionally has consequences within the workplace. If these men had exercised better judgment, they would be dancing right now. They created this situation. They are not the victims here.

And furthermore, as I have also stated, NYCB allegedly knew about aspects of Finlay's behavior - the drunkenness, parties with underage girls - that crept into the rehearsal room and official NYCB tours.

Also, Finlay and Catazaro were clearly joking about rape (the text exchange re the corps dancer). Sex without consent - "giving her no choice" - is rape. (And Catazaro claims that he never saw the images of Waterbury).

2 hours ago, Longtimelurker said:

These posts don't sound like what I would expect to hear from women working in a dangerous workplace where rape, sexual assault and domestic violence are rampant and tolerated by management -- especially Lovette's video where you can feel the sincerity of her comments in a more visceral way than you can when reading a written post. This sets up an interesting contrast between what is alleged by Waterbury versus the increasingly public support conveyed by the women of NYCB. Although the courts will have final say, for now I am inclined to side with the women who work in the company and have a better understanding of the workplace environment and culture.

While I am not negating these women's personal experiences, it is important to note that these are all principal women with social capital and influence. I also did not take their statements to be rebuttals of Waterbury. Placed in context, they reflected gratefulness for their long, successful careers.  That doesn't mean that the NYCB is immune from sexual misconduct. (I found their statements less problematic that Sterling Hyltin's defense of Amar, which reiterated the hoary victim-blaming rhetoric that has swirled around this conversation - and will have the intended or unintended effect of intimidating any people from coming forward to corroborate Waterbury's claims).

Edited by Pique Arabesque

Share this post


Link to post
16 hours ago, Amy Reusch said:

Any performing arts institution without State or Royal subsidy is a house of cards.  

Tell me again where NYCB's longtime co-tenant  at the State Theater, NYCO, is these days?

1

While many American arts institutions are in a precarious state, NYCB is not one of them.

12 hours ago, On Pointe said:

In a non-sexual context,  I've thought and said a lot of things about people I've worked with that would have caused a great deal of awkwardness if they had known about them.    Rod Rosenstein is in very hot water over an offhand remark he had no reason to believe would be published in the New York Times.  Ms. Waterbury  is not the only person with a right of privacy.  As the exchange between Catazaro  and  Finlay  had nothing to do with her,  they only served to embarrass Catazaro  and imperil his career.  What the two of them said on their own time is their own business.  They didn't  post it to Facebook or publish it in any form.  This policing of adults' private thoughts smacks of fascism.

Catazaro embarrassed himself. And Finlay and Catazaro are Millenials. They, more than anyone, should understand that no print or electronic communications - even a group chat that is not put on public-facing social media - are really private. This is not about 'thought crime,' either. If they had that conversation in Finlay's apartment, we might not be having this conversation. This is not fascism.

14 hours ago, abatt said:

I guess we will have to disagree.   I don't regard Waterbury as a whistleblower.  A whistleblower is someone who informs on an illicit organization.  The illicit behavior, however, was committed by an individual on his off hours in his personal life.  There is no basis to impose liability on NYCB for the private actions of Finlay and his friends.  Time will tell, as they say.

 Certain aspects of the illicit behavior were allegedly covered up by the organization, which would make them complicit. But yes, time will tell.

Sidebar, but if anything, this whole situation has revealed the deep "small c" conservatism of ballet dancers and balletomanes. Reducing this situation to one bad actor and reducing his colleagues to men unfairly targeted by the #MeToo pitchforks (and absolving an employer from any responsibility) is a good way to perpetuate workplace sexual misconduct. I want to end rape culture, and I believe survivors. There are much easier ways to gain one's 15 minutes of fame than reliving the most traumatic experience of one's life or fabricating trumped-up accusations that will eventually destroy your reputation and even your livelihood once exposed (ask Crystal Gail Mangum). Survivors know that their character will be attacked (just ask Christine Blasey Ford and Anita Hill) and their claims will be pored over with a fine-toothed comb.  In fact, Ford and Deborah Ramirez (Kavanaugh's second accuser) have even requested an FBI investigation.

Edited by Pique Arabesque

Share this post


Link to post
40 minutes ago, Pique Arabesque said:

As I have illustrated, bad behavior outside the workplace occasionally has consequences within the workplace. 

And furthermore ... NYCB allegedly knew about aspects of Finlay's behavior - the drunkenness, parties with underage girls - that crept into the rehearsal room and official NYCB tours.

While I am not negating these women's personal experiences, it is important to note that these are all principal women with social capital and influence. 

This is an important point. I agree – perhaps in a different way – that company members could sense during class and rehearsals that something was going on between the dissident men through coded remarks, a certain tone of voice – and this could have had a disruptive effect on company morale. It's like something you realize was unpleasant only after it is gone or has been lifted. And, by nature of their senior status within the company, through their "social capital and influence," the women who have posted that nothing was wrong were not really affected or potentially vulnerable. 

Edited by Quiggin

Share this post


Link to post
15 minutes ago, Pique Arabesque said:

Circulating nude images (some of which were taken without the subject's consent) and engaging in degrading talk are examples of disrespect towards colleagues. Regardless of how superficially polite they may have been in the studio, it is clear that they thought of some of their female colleagues as chattel. And just because Bouder hasn't gone through the extra effort to delete old photos doesn't mean that she approves of their behavior. As I have illustrated, bad behavior outside the workplace occasionally has consequences within the workplace. If these men had exercised better judgment, they would be dancing right now. They created this situation. They are not the victims here.

And furthermore, as I have also stated, NYCB allegedly knew about aspects of Finlay's behavior - the drunkenness, parties with underage girls - that crept into the rehearsal room and official NYCB tours.

Also, Finlay and Catazaro were clearly joking about rape (the text exchange re the corps dancer). Sex without consent - "giving her no choice" - is rape. (And Catazaro claims that he never saw the images of Waterbury).

While I am not negating these women's personal experiences, it is important to note that these are all principal women with social capital and influence. I also did not take their statements to be rebuttals of Waterbury. Placed in context, they reflected gratefulness for their long, successful careers.  That doesn't mean that the NYCB is immune from sexual misconduct. 

What "they  thought" does not matter.  They can think whatever they want.

A number of women in the company can be described as "underage girls".  If there is a party where "the company" is invited,  those dancers will likely be there.  The complaint makes it seem that there were only underage girls present,  which strikes me as highly unlikely.

Clearly Finlay and Catazaro  were joking about how they are so devastatingly attractive the girl would have "no choice" but to have sex with them.  That interpretation is just as likely - more likely - than the conviction that they were plotting rape.

Share this post


Link to post
23 minutes ago, Quiggin said:

And, by nature of their senior status within the company, through their "social capital and influence," the women who have posted that nothing was wrong were not really affected or potentially vulnerable. 

They've certainly aged out of the target demographic expressed in the quotes in the complaint.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Quiggin said:

And, by nature of their senior status within the company, through their "social capital and influence," the women who have posted that nothing was wrong were not really affected or potentially vulnerable. 

Did these women really say in their posts "that nothing was wrong"? That's not how I read their words. It's very possible to express love for and loyalty to and gratitude toward an organization (or a family, or a school, or a community, or any other complex social group) while still recognizing that there are problems there — even very serious problems that one would like to see remedied. I would imagine many of us could relate to the experience of having such complex feelings about groups to which we belong.

Edited by nanushka

Share this post


Link to post
42 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Clearly Finlay and Catazaro  were joking about how they are so devastatingly attractive the girl would have "no choice" but to have sex with them.  That interpretation is just as likely - more likely - than the conviction that they were plotting rape.

I note that you say three different things here about your interpretation of their words: (1) that it's "clearly" the right one; (2) that it's "just as likely" the right one; and (3) that it's "more likely" the right one. I find (2) barely plausible, but I can understand thinking that. (1) and (3) seem to me to be completely unsupported at this point.

Also, just because one is joking about rape doesn't mean one is "plotting rape." That's an exaggeration of how others are reading the quotation, I think.

Edited by nanushka

Share this post


Link to post
23 minutes ago, nanushka said:

I note that you say three different things here about your interpretation of their words: (1) that it's "clearly" the right one; (2) that it's "just as likely" the right one; and (3) that it's "more likely" the right one. I find (2) barely plausible, but I can understand thinking that. (1) and (3) seem to me to be completely unsupported at this point.

Also, just because one is joking about rape doesn't mean one is "plotting rape." That's an exaggeration of how others are reading the quotation, I think.

I should have put "clearly" in quotes.  I hoped to illustrate merely that different people could interpret their words in different ways.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, On Pointe said:

What "they  thought" does not matter.  They can think whatever they want.

A number of women in the company can be described as "underage girls".  If there is a party where "the company" is invited,  those dancers will likely be there.  The complaint makes it seem that there were only underage girls present,  which strikes me as highly unlikely.

Clearly Finlay and Catazaro  were joking about how they are so devastatingly attractive the girl would have "no choice" but to have sex with them.  That interpretation is just as likely - more likely - than the conviction that they were plotting rape.

They ceased to be thoughts once they were communicated in the group chat.

I have heard that some apprenticeships can be offered at 17, but most company members are 18 and up. Though it is still not legal to drink alcohol between the ages of 18-20, you are still an adult. "Underage" specifically connotes someone who is under 18.

Jokes about non-consensual sex are not funny and reflect poorly on the character of those making the joke. Employers care about that. (Also, if the butt of the joke is that the corps woman found Finlay and Catazaro irresistibly attractive, then she would, in fact, be consenting to sex).

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Pique Arabesque said:

They ceased to be thoughts once they were communicated in the group chat.

I have heard that some apprenticeships can be offered at 17, but most company members are 18 and up. Though it is still not legal to drink alcohol between the ages of 18-20, you are still an adult. "Underage" specifically connotes someone who is under 18.

Jokes about non-consensual sex are not funny and reflect poorly on the character of those making the joke. Employers care about that. (Also, if the butt of the joke is that the corps woman found Finlay and Catazaro irresistibly attractive, then she would, in fact, be consenting to sex).

You bring up an interesting point - from the transcript,  there is no evidence that Finlay and Catazaro  were engaged in a group chat.  It appears to be a conversation between just the two of them.  Is a private communication between two people treated differently than a group chat by the law?

One could argue whether "underage" means under eighteen or under twenty-one.  While drinking under the age of twenty-one is against the law,  merely being in the presence of a young person at a social gathering where alcohol is served is not.  But "partying with underage girls" has a nice salacious ring to it,  what my high school English teachers would call "writing to persuade".  BTW in that same conversation,  they discuss the age of consent (they're wrong - it's seventeen in New York,  not eighteen)  and agree that "prime time" for women's bodies is "18-22.  It's crude and it's tasteless,  but it indicates that while young women appeal to them,  they aren't  considering underage girls.

Employers care about tasteless jokes in the workplace.  What happens on the employees' own time is literally not their business.  If the corps woman found the men irresistible and consented to sex,  that is the point I'm making.  It's possible to read it just that way.

At any rate,  Finlay has taken himself out of the picture.  If I were Catazaro,   I'd argue that any communication between the two should be off-limits regarding his just cause hearing.

Edited by On Pointe
Redundancy

Share this post


Link to post
×