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

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5 minutes ago, vendangeuse said:

Personally, I don't care if it happened on NYCB property, or at a NYCB event; if an NYCB dancer is assaulting other members of the company, that person shouldn't be allowed to continue dancing there. And if this is true—if there is a history of assaults occurring and those responsible being allowed to return to work? Yes, that creates an environment that emboldens behavior like the kind Finlay is accused of, and that is NYCB's fault, IMO.

Of course, none of this has been proven yet. But I do feel that NYCB has an obligation to provide a safe work environment for all its dancers, and part of that includes not hiring sexual predators.

Doesn't this put the company in the position of legal enforcers? Will it be expected to perform a criminal investigation of what can often be a he-said, she-said (or he-said, he said, or she said, she said) situation? 

i think crimes should be reported to the police and investigated by the police, and persons who are convicted of a crime by the justice system should be tossed out of the company. On the other hand, I don't want someone whose expertise is in the Balanchine technique to be investigating or serving as the judge and jury on sexual assaults. They are simply not qualified to do so. 

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In the case of the $150,000 trashed hotel room with underage girls being supplied drugs and alcohol, it sounds like it was while the company was on tour in DC. 

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11 minutes ago, KayDenmark said:

Doesn't this put the company in the position of legal enforcers? Will it be expected to perform a criminal investigation of what can often be a he-said, she-said (or he-said, he said, or she said, she said) situation? 

i think crimes should be reported to the police and investigated by the police, and persons who are convicted of a crime by the justice system should be tossed out of the company. On the other hand, I don't want someone whose expertise is in the Balanchine technique to be investigating or serving as the judge and jury on sexual assaults. They are simply not qualified to do so. 

It's pretty standard for an employer to engage in some internal investigation following the raising of sexual harassment claims and similar alleged abuses, I believe. It may not be a criminal investigation (they're employers, after all, not the police), but it's still an investigation. Behavior that constitutes sexual harassment may not even itself be a crime (though sometimes it is); and yet, the employer is still expected (i.e. legally required) to respond to the allegations — for instance, with an investigation — and to take appropriate action.

Major companies such as NYCB have many people on staff who have expertise in areas other than Balanchine technique.

Edited by nanushka

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In a workplace where, by definition, everyone is competing for the same roles, it's difficult to believe that 

6 minutes ago, nanushka said:

some internal investigation following the raising of sexual harassment claims and similar alleged abuses,

wouldn't be weaponized. In addition, there is a long tradition within the NYCB for romantic partnerships between dancers, gay and straight. Relationships go bad sometimes. I don't think it's the role of the company to sort this out.

Perhaps the NYCB could outsource sexual harassment allegations to a qualified third party who could investigate carefully and impartially. But refusing to cast people because there's been an accusation against them sounds like a very bad idea. 

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27 minutes ago, KayDenmark said:

Doesn't this put the company in the position of legal enforcers? Will it be expected to perform a criminal investigation of what can often be a he-said, she-said (or he-said, he said, or she said, she said) situation? 

i think crimes should be reported to the police and investigated by the police, and persons who are convicted of a crime by the justice system should be tossed out of the company. On the other hand, I don't want someone whose expertise is in the Balanchine technique to be investigating or serving as the judge and jury on sexual assaults. They are simply not qualified to do so. 

To follow up Nanushka's comment, I don't work in the arts and my workplace has a cods of conduct. If someone reported that I had violated that code, my workplace would investigate me. It's not an unproblematic system but it is normal. Add to that  NYCB very much has a public image to preserve. And not just the company but the School of American Ballet where Waterbury was a student when she met Finlay even if they only started going out afterwards....(what happened there and when is unclear to me). That is, the company and the school have an interest in protecting their reputation. That includes investigations of complaints and it may include proving this lawsuit is unfair--at least as far as the company's role in events goes--if they are able to do so.

20 minutes ago, nanushka said:

It's pretty standard for an employer to engage in some internal investigation following the raising of sexual harassment claims and similar alleged abuses, I believe. It may not be a criminal investigation (they're employers, after all, not the police), but it's still an investigation. Behavior that constitutes sexual harassment may not even itself be a crime (though sometimes it is); and yet, the employer is still expected to respond to the allegations — for instance, with an investigation — and to take appropriate action.

I agree, with Nanushka that there are behaviors that without being illegal may constitute a problem for the workplace. And of course workers need protections against overzealous investigations and inappropriate penalties. I assume at NYCB the unions have a role to play in this, but don't know exactly how they figure into it. Presumably unions have to speak up for dancers on all sides of an issue as well.

I just finished typing this when KayDenmark posted again: I rather like the suggestion of third party investigations in some circumstances at least. It's not a perfect solution,..but nothing is...I had thought that was more or less what happened with the Martins investigation. A third party was brought in to do it ... and it is a method some universities have used in the middle of big scandals.  If New York City Ballet really wants to find out about some of the wider issues raised in the Waterbury suit--and I hope that they do--that might be the way to go. Of course, now they are probably doing exactly whatever their lawyers tell them protects them from liability most effectively...to say nothing of contemplating the impact all this has on their donor base.

 

Edited by Drew

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There are qualified third parties, but rarely are they impartial.  The Martins investigation was handled by a law firm that advertises itself as representing companies against liability.

The company already sorts out relationships that go bad by accommodating (at least some) dancers who do not want to be partnered or otherwise work with their estranged partner, and they do this without a third party using their discretion.  What Waterbury describes is hardly simply a "relationship gone bad."  According to her lawyer, she has not ruled out pressing criminal charges, and these go far beyond sexual harassment. 

Anything can be weaponized for just about any personal reason that doesn't involve protected classes: the dancers are on short-term contracts, and the Company, like many companies, does not have to explain or defend its hiring, promotion, or demotion practices.

The dancers union has been mum so far, and it also wasn't a voice during the Martins investigation.  That I find curious.

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8 minutes ago, Helene said:

There are qualified third parties, but rarely are they impartial.  [...]

The dancers union has been mum so far, and it also wasn't a voice during the Martins investigation.  That I find curious.

True and true. But one hopes it could/would be possible to find third parties who are impartial and that unions could find a productive role to play.

Perhaps not easily?

:dunno:

Edited by Drew

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29 minutes ago, KayDenmark said:

In addition, there is a long tradition within the NYCB for romantic partnerships between dancers, gay and straight.

There's  also the tradition of having an extremely limited dating pool when dancers enter the feeder school at fourteen or fifteen and then continue into the company which is composed of people from the same source.

Edited by lmspear

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17 minutes ago, Drew said:

But one hopes it could/would be possible to find third parties who are impartial and that unions could find a productive role to play.

That sounds like a business opportunity.

 

8 minutes ago, lmspear said:

There's  also the tradition of having an extremely limited dating pool when dancers enter the feeder school at fourteen or fifteen and then continue into the company which is composed of people from the same source.

Most dancers talk about how it's hard to date someone outside the ballet world, especially when they are overworked corps members, who can go with their schedule and the professional demands.  One of the dancers at PNB likes to tell the story about how she vowed never to date a dancer, and then she married a fellow dancer in the company.  Other company members have dancer significant others from outside the ballet world.

But NYCB is its own kettle of fish, with dancers coming to SAB and NYC at a much earlier age than the two-year "finishing" programs in most company schools.  (Outside NYC, students who started younger are often local, living at home.)  Since NYCB is the prize, and the successful NYCB dancers are idols, there's a lot of room for grooming and exploitation, in addition to the garden variety relationships among students and young people who work so long and so closely together.

17 minutes ago, Drew said:

But one hopes it could/would be possible to find third parties who are impartial and that unions could find a productive role to play.

That sounds like a business opportunity.

 

8 minutes ago, lmspear said:

There's  also the tradition of having an extremely limited dating pool when dancers enter the feeder school at fourteen or fifteen and then continue into the company which is composed of people from the same source.

Most dancers talk about how it's hard to date someone outside the ballet world, especially when they are overworked corps members, who can go with their schedule and the professional demands.  One of the dancers at PNB likes to tell the story about how she vowed never to date a dancer, and then she married a fellow dancer in the company.  Other company members have dancer significant others from outside the ballet world.

But NYCB is its own kettle of fish, with dancers coming to SAB and NYC at a much earlier age than the two-year "finishing" programs in most company schools.  (Outside NYC, students who started younger are often local, living at home.)  Since NYCB is the prize, and the successful NYCB dancers are idols, there's a lot of room for grooming and exploitation, in addition to the garden variety relationships among students and young people who work so long and so closely together.

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2 hours ago, Rick said:

The scandal extends far beyond Finlay, Catazaro, and Ramasar. There were several unnamed male dancers and at least one donor who participated in the emails, according to the complaint.

Yes, I’m aware. That’s partly why I said the worst is yet to come. I can’t imagine a new AD walking into this mess. I’d think the job would look a little (to say the least) less appealing now.

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Just now, ABT Fan said:

Yes, I’m aware. That’s partly why I said the worst is yet to come. I can’t imagine a new AD walking into this mess. I’d think the job would look a little (to say the least) less appealing now.

Yes of course, I didn't mean to imply that you weren't aware of the scope of the scandal. I just wanted to elaborate on how this complaint is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm just waiting for Alastair Macaulay to opine on this mess. I'm sure he'll have something to say about the ideal qualifications of new AD.

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We can only hope that NYCB is doing very deep background checks on anyone they are taking seriously for the AD job. 

Fraildove spoke of her own, personal observations as a student.  I don't think I'm outing Fraildove to say that this wasn't in the immediate past, ie, new behavior.  The only likely thing new about this is the technology.  It's hard for me to believe than anyone who applies for the job and knows the company well enough to qualify, doesn't have an inkling of its internal culture and its internal cultural history. Whether they expected to take it on, rather than taking the Company's party line about this being personal, when they applied is another story.  There's no reason to think that this wouldn't be a litmus test for the Board, and I'm not sure that's a positive thing, except possibly from the point of view of their lawyers, given their public position.

 

9 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

He is still in the ad via this link.

Did you mean to add a link?  I don't see him in the quoted link.  (I did see Geoffrey Zakarian.  I will never forgive the judges for his Iron Chef win.) If it's the quoted link, it may be cached for you.  Or I might be blind.

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5 minutes ago, Helene said:

We can only hope that NYCB is doing very deep background checks on anyone they are taking seriously for the AD job. 

Fraildove spoke of her own, personal observations as a student.  I don't think I'm outing Fraildove to say that this wasn't in the immediate past, ie, new behavior.  The only likely thing new about this is the technology.  It's hard for me to believe than anyone who applies for the job and knows the company well enough to qualify, doesn't have an inkling of its internal culture and its internal cultural history. Whether they expected to take it on, rather than taking the Company's party line about this being personal, when they applied is another story.  There's no reason to think that this wouldn't be a litmus test for the Board, and I'm not sure that's a positive thing, except possibly from the point of view of their lawyers, given their public position.

 

Did you mean to add a link?  I don't see him in the quoted link.  (I did see Geoffrey Zakarian.  I will never forgive the judges for his Iron Chef win.) If it's the quoted link, it may be cached for you.  Or I might be blind.

I was referencing Dale’s link. When I clicked on it, he was still in the ad, I believe the third guy down.

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3 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

I was referencing Dale’s link. When I clicked on it, he was still in the ad, I believe the third guy down.

No. Third guy is Geoffrey. 

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1 hour ago, vendangeuse said:

There have been comments on this thread questioning the role NYCB as an institution should or can play in this situation—eg, how accountable is the employer for the behavior of their employee, especially if that employee's behavior is consistent with broader, societal issues?

Now, I have not yet read the entirety of the complaint (I admit I had to stop part of the way through) but it seems to suggest that Finlay's behavior was part of a broader pattern of abuse. In the first few pages, if I recall, there are allegations that at least two instances of domestic and sexual abuse have been brought to NYCB's attention. Personally, I don't care if it happened on NYCB property, or at a NYCB event; if an NYCB dancer is assaulting other members of the company, that person shouldn't be allowed to continue dancing there. And if this is true—if there is a history of assaults occurring and those responsible being allowed to return to work? Yes, that creates an environment that emboldens behavior like the kind Finlay is accused of, and that is NYCB's fault, IMO.

Of course, none of this has been proven yet. But I do feel that NYCB has an obligation to provide a safe work environment for all its dancers, and part of that includes not hiring sexual predators.

We do not have any details to judge the veracity of those claims, nor do we know what actions were taken to investigate any claims that were made at the time.  If management and the board buried their heads in the sand as the lawsuit alleges, then there are serious issues that need to be addressed.  But until we know more, they are rumors and nothing more.

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4 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

I was referencing Dale’s link. When I clicked on it, he was still in the ad, I believe the third guy down.

When I click it now, I see Justin Hartley, Davie, Geoffrey Zakarian, Sean Bennett & Samir Robinson.  He appears to have been removed.

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2 hours ago, Helene said:

Intent to harm is pretty much baked into the word "revenge," but the Gothamist article when the law was passed was explicit about this.

I think that this incident falls under "Stephanie's Law" which is summarized below:

 

A09695 Summary:

BILL NO A09695
 
SAME AS SAME AS S03079-A
 
SPONSOR Palmesano
 
COSPNSR  
 
MLTSPNSR  
 
Add S52-a, Civ Rts L
 
Establishes a private right of action for owners and tenants of residential premises against person video taping recreational activities in the backyard of such premises.
Go to top    

A09695 Actions:

BILL NO A09695
 
05/16/2014 referred to judiciary
Go to top

A09695 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)

BILL NUMBER: A9695
 
SPONSOR: Palmesano

TITLE OF BILL:  An act to amend the civil rights law, in relation to
establishing private right of action for unwarranted video imaging of
residential premises
 
PURPOSE:
 
The purpose of this legislation is to establish a right of action for
damages from the unauthorized invasion of privacy by video surveillance
of an individual's recreational activities which occur in their own
backyard.
 
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
 
Section one adds a new section to create the right to sue for damages
for the unauthorized video imaging of a residential premises. A person
is guilty of this action if he or she intentionally uses or installs, or
Permits to be, used, or installed, a video imaging system that allows
the unwarranted video imaging of an adjoining residential property
owner's backyard premise without the property owner's written consent.
"Backyard is defined as the portion of the parcel on which the residen-
tial parcel is located which extends beyond the rear footprint of the
residential dwelling to the rear and side boundary lines of such parcel.
 
Section two provides the date that the act shall take effect.
  
JUSTIFICATION:
 
In 2003, Stephanie's Law was signed into law. This bill seeks to close a
gap in that law. Stephanie's Law was named after Stephanie Fuller, a
woman who discovered that she was being secretly videotaped in her
bedroom by her landlord. This law sought to expand protections of privacy 
to include incidents where voyeurs used new types of technology.
 
Stephanie discovered that she was being videotaped by her landlord when
her boyfriend noticed strange wires coming out of the smoke alarm in her
bedroom. Because her landlord used a video camera that was not filming
Stephanie through her window, he could not be charged with violating New
York's "Peeping Tom" laws.

Under Stephanie's Law, unlawful Surveillance is now a Class E felony,
punishable by up to four years imprisonment for first time offenders,
and up to seven years for repeat offenders (N.Y. Crim. Pen. L. § 250.5).
 
Several other states have also enacted their own versions of Stephanie's
Law, including: Washington, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Virginia, California,
and Illinois. All of these anti-voyeurism laws focus their protection of
privacy on the physical location where the incident occurred rather than
on the individual privacy invasion committed.
 
Currently, New York contains no restrictions to control videotaping
which monitors a neighbor's back yard. Penal Law Sections 250.40 et seq.
only establishes criminal penalties for unlawful video surveillance when
the videotaping occurs in a setting with a "reasonable expectation of
privacy" (i.e. a bathroom or changing room), or if a perpetrator had to
trespass on property to videotape or install a camera.
 
In at least one instance, a family has been subject to undue stress and
concern for their young children's safety when they were subject to
constant camera surveillance while swimming or sunbathing in their own
backyard by an adjoining neighbor who is a registered sex offender.
However, because New York State law provides no protection from unwar-
ranted and potentially dangerous video observation and recording, there
is little that can be done to prevent this unnerving intrusion.
 
This legislation would help to ensure that the rights of adjoining landowners
are subordinate to the rights of individuals who wish to enjoy
backyard recreational activities with a certain expectation of privacy.
Owners who do not care about their neighbor's video imaging can author-
ize such observation via written consent. No right of privacy is
afforded when the imaging is done by a law enforcement officer in the
course of their official duties.
 
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
 
2013 Passed Senate
 
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
 None.
 
EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have
become a law and shall apply to acts occurring on or after such date.
Edited by FauxPas

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2 minutes ago, Longtimelurker said:

We do not have any details to judge the veracity of those claims, nor do we know what actions were taken to investigate any claims that were made at the time.  If management and the board buried their heads in the sand as the lawsuit alleges, then there are serious issues that need to be addressed.  But until we know more, they are rumors and nothing more.

They are far more than rumors: they are the substance of a legal complaint. 

1 minute ago, FauxPas said:

I think that this incident falls under "Stephanie's Law" which is summarized below:

I agree that Stephanie's Law likely applies, but not that the revenge law does.

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I am shocked by these allegations,  which are way worse than what I imagined.  If they had come to light a couple of years ago,  it would have been quite a bombshell.  But in light of revelations of sexual crimes and misconduct involving Harvey Weinstein,  Charlie Rose,  Matt Lauer,  Kevin Spacey,  James Levine,  Charles Dutoit,  Louis CK,  Les Moonves,  Asia Argento - the list goes on - the allegations against Finlay,  Ramasar  and Catazaro  are small potatoes.  I'm not minimizing the harm done to Ms. Waterbury,  but I doubt this will have lasting negative impact.   Years ago,  drug use at NYCB was so rampant that Balanchine fired six dancers in one fell swoop,  but the scandal did not destroy the company's reputation. (I do think it is irresponsible for Craig Hall's name to be mentioned without making it clear which Craig Hall was involved.)

I am fascinated by the claim that Finlay and company did $150,000 worth of damage to a hotel room.  Hard to see how,  unless they set the room on fire.  Even $15,000 is pushing it.  Surely someone on the hotel staff would have heard something and intervened before that much damage was inflicted.

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7 minutes ago, Dale said:

No. Third guy is Geoffrey. 

It must have been cached for me because he was still in the ad. 

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Again, two different laws are being referred to. Stephanie’s law involves images/videos being taken and shared without the subject’s consent. It is illegal in all cases. The revenge law refers to sharing images/videos that were taken with the consent of the subject but then are later shared. It is the revenge law that has the “intent to cause harm” clause. 

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3 hours ago, meatball77 said:

People have talked about how this didn't happen at work so NYCB somehow shouldn't be involved because the dancers were on their own time.  This could be thought of as true if these were women not involved with NYCB.  However, the women these men were sharing photos of were their current and former co-workers and knowing that NYCB's response was just to suspend the two principals for a year.  Imagine if you worked there and one of your co-workers had been making horrific comments about you sexually and sharing photos of your co-workers and possibly you and the companies response was to give them a year's suspension and then in a year all is forgiven and you are to allow these men to partner you, to be very close physically, touching you and somehow trust that they are just working professionally.

The victim had every right to ask NYCB for money (and probably the firing of the three main perpetrators).  I'm sure she has had medical bills and therapy.  It's not like she asked for several million for hush money.

Well, anybody can ask for money. Whether the company is on the hook, as opposed to (potentially) the accused individuals, is another matter. The company appears to have been confident in its legal position, confident enough to tell Waterbury's lawyer to take a hike when he made the initial approach (the uncharitable might think of it as an attempted shakedown - not making any judgment myself, just saying). Whether those who made the call were correct remains to be seen, of course. (If anyone else has made this point in this long thread, sorry for the repetition.)

I add my voice to those who have reminded us that these are accusations only. Given the resignation and the suspensions, plainly there's some fire within the smoke, but that's all we really know to date.

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Some are accusations only; others are enough that, after a two-month investigation, NYCB disciplined two dancers and would have a third, had he not resigned when confronted.

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