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

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7 minutes ago, Helene said:

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

To add to what Helene says--it is more difficult to file a frivolous lawsuit of this ilk than some may believe. Anyone can make accusations, yes. But Ms. Waterbury, as I recall, is claiming to have hard evidence in the form of copies of the messages quoted by her lawyer. I find it impossible to believe the lawyer would not have insisted on seeing that evidence before agreeing to proceed with the lawsuit.  In these types of cases, lawyers for the plaintiff are usually paid ONLY if a settlement or court victory is achieved. Therefore, the lawyer has a vested interest in not filing a suit without due diligence and a belief in the validity of the evidence, because s/he stands no chance of being paid for all the work the lawsuit entails if the suit is obviously baseless.

Furthermore, City Ballet's own statements state pretty clearly that they acknowledge misconduct by Finlay, Ramasar, and Catarzzano occurred--all they are disputing is that City Ballet itself is culpable in any way. 

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Just now, Helene said:

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.

Agreed.

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13 minutes ago, MarzipanShepherdess said:

 In these types of cases, lawyers for the plaintiff are usually paid ONLY if a settlement or court victory is achieved. Therefore, the lawyer has a vested interest in not filing a suit without due diligence and a belief in the validity of the evidence, because s/he stands no chance of being paid for all the work the lawsuit entails if the suit is obviously baseless.

 

Contingency fees are most often used in personal injury claims (like slip and fall), malpractice cases and toxic tort cases.  I doubt this lawyer took the case on a contingency fee basis.  Moreover, part of the requested relief is injunctive relief.

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The statement from New York City Ballet doesn’t go NEARLY far enough. No mention that a donor or a board member have been implicated. (Are these the same person?) 

Count me among the loyal fans who’ve posted here and who are conflicted about the coming season. Yesterday when casting for week one was announced I was prepared to make my choices. As I always do I checked this board to see what comments might have been made re casting and encountered this. At the very least, not a penny of donation money from me until I see movement towards full disclosure. 

Is it appropriate for a statement to be issued to ticket purchasers, fans, donors and subscribers (most of us here fall into at least one if not all those categories) expressing regret and hope that we will continue to support with our attendance? Or is that an admission of something? 

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24 minutes ago, Helene said:

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.

As I noted in my previous post, because of the resignation and suspensions we know there is fire amid the smoke. However, the specifics are yet to be made publicly known. As far as I'm aware, we know that the company stated that "inappropriate communications" were made and the complaint details what Waterbury claims was the substance of those communications.

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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. 

The court document alleges that the photos were shared at "during work hours and on work premises and among its coworkers, agents, servants, employees, donors, principals, and/or others affiliated with the ballet." 

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1 hour ago, dirac said:

As I noted in my previous post, because of the resignation and suspensions we know there is fire amid the smoke. However, the specifics are yet to be made publicly known. As far as I'm aware, we know that the company stated that "inappropriate communications" were made and the complaint details what Waterbury claims was the substance of those communications.

I'd add, we also don't know what Finlay's version of events is. He has yet to respond. Presumably this will come out in court. He may contend that she did, in fact know about the recording, and or consented to them being shared. Or he may have some other defense. We have no idea whether he has a version of events that would cast things in a different light.  I agree it looks bad for him, just pointing out that we don't know his version of events. 

Also, as to whether the company has responded appropriately, we really don't have any basis to judge that, either. They acted on the basis of their investigation and its findings, of which we have no knowledge. A lawsuit is filed from the perspective of one person, who is by definition aggrieved. That person's lawyer will naturally cast things in the light most favorable for the complainant, and worst for the party being sued. The complaint can't be considered a neutral, factual document. Hopefully NYCB's internal investigation was more impartial than one would expect from hearing one side of a lawsuit/complaint. 

Edited by cobweb

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Institutions and people who participate in or allow this sort of horrifying behavior only change when the negative consequences of not changing are so severe that they have to.  If we, the audience, continue to go see these men perform because we love their artistry, they will continue to be employed and will suffer no meaningful consequences for their behavior.  Is going to see a night at the ballet, no matter how transcendent, worth the suffering Waterbury has gone through?  

For me, I don’t want to punish the dancers at NYCB who had nothing to do with this, but I will never go see any of these men dance again.  And I will not donate a penny to NYCB until they are no longer part of the company.   If they are merely suspended for a period of time and then continue merrily along with their career, continuing to attract audiences, then every victim seeing them will understand that their suffering doesn’t really matter and everyone who would potentially do something like this will see it as not a big deal,  just “locker room talk”.  And nothing will change.  If Finlay, Ramasar, and Catazaro lose their careers, and we the audience lose their presence on the stage, but a future generation of ballerinas is spared something like this and able to practice their art unhindered, I consider the exchange well worth it.

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For what it's worth, Ms. Waterbury is being represented by Jordan K. Merson, a personal injury lawyer. Judging from his firm's website, his is a fairly standard personal injury practice and handles negligence, medical malpractice, and sexual assault. 

Every page in the FAQ section of the website contains some version of the following language:

How much do you charge? 

Zero.  Nothing for a free consult.  We will tell you your options and provide you with information at no charge.  In the event that you do have a case, the firm operates on a contingency fee arrangement, which means that we only get a fee if you win.  There are no bills to you, hourly charges or any amounts you have to pay until you are successful.

By the way, the fact that Ms. Waterbury is using a personal injury lawyer on a contingency fee basis shouldn't in and of itself bias anyone's judgment of her or her claims. 

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5 minutes ago, minervaave said:

Institutions and people who participate in or allow this sort of horrifying behavior only change when the negative consequences of not changing are so severe that they have to.  If we, the audience, continue to go see these men perform because we love their artistry, they will continue to be employed and will suffer no meaningful consequences for their behavior.  Is going to see a night at the ballet, no matter how transcendent, worth the suffering Waterbury has gone through?  

For me, I don’t want to punish the dancers at NYCB who had nothing to do with this, but I will never go see any of these men dance again.  And I will not donate a penny to NYCB until they are no longer part of the company.   If they are merely suspended for a period of time and then continue merrily along with their career, continuing to attract audiences, then every victim seeing them will understand that their suffering doesn’t really matter and everyone who would potentially do something like this will see it as not a big deal,  just “locker room talk”.  And nothing will change.  If Finlay, Ramasar, and Catazaro lose their careers, and we the audience lose their presence on the stage, but a future generation of ballerinas is spared something like this and able to practice their art unhindered, I consider the exchange well worth it.

Yes well said. But here’s my conundrum: there are others who were implicated but not named in the complaint. We have no idea who they are and we will likely be watching them onstage. 

Over decades of watching this company especially in the relaxed informal summer atmosphere in Saratoga, I’ve been so lucky to get to know many dancers. It pains me to even think about insulting them by my absence and denying myself the pleasure of watching them. And yet, I believe much more lurks underneath here. 

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38 minutes ago, cobweb said:

I'd add, we also don't know what Finlay's version of events is. He has yet to respond. Presumably this will come out in court. He may contend that she did, in fact know about the recording, and or consented to them being shared. Or he may have some other defense. We have no idea whether he has a version of events that would cast things in a different light.  I agree it looks bad for him, just pointing out that we don't know his version of events. 

Also, as to whether the company has responded appropriately, we really don't have any basis to judge that, either. They acted on the basis of their investigation and its findings, of which we have no knowledge. A lawsuit is filed from the perspective of one person, who is by definition aggrieved. That person's lawyer will naturally cast things in the light most favorable for the complainant, and worst for the party being sued (not sure of correct terminology here). It can't be considered a neutral, factual document. Hopefully NYCB's internal investigation was more impartial than one would expect from hearing one side of a lawsuit/complaint. 

Yes hopefully. I’m not feeling too trusting. There are allegations against a donor, a board member and a principal dancer who allegedly committed rape. These need to be addressed as well, at least for me to regain my confidence in NYCB. 

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4 hours ago, Balletwannabe said:

Amar attempted to keep deleting negative comments, but has now made his IG private.

And it looks like Finlay just deleted his Instagram account altogether.

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Finlay has finally joined the other two in shutting down his social media.

Unlike them he hasn't made it private--he seems to have deleted all his posts.

 

Update: as fondoffouttes says, he has now deleted the account entirely

Edited by aurora
new information

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David Prottas is filling in for Ramasar tonight in Carousel. Has Prottas filled in before? (I haven't been following the Carousel discussion very closely.)

 

unnamed.jpg

 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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I also will not continue to contribute as a donor to the company until all those who participated in this travesty are gone. That includes the unnamed “company principals” in addition to Finlay, Ramasar, and Catazaro. The reference to rape by someone in the company is a criminal charge. Is someone being charged? There is so much speculation and innuendo, which the board should address. The company is only as solid and solvent as its support from the public, which includes all of us who are posting on this forum. It’s hard to believe that just yesterday I was waxing euphoric about my excitement for the fall season. I hope the board will do more to clear this up—for the artistic and economic health of the company, its dedicated dancers, and the public that supports NYCB. 

Btw, it is standard practice for personal injury cases to be taken on contingency, usually a contract between the plaintiff and his/her attorney in which they agree that the attorney will be paid a specific escalating percentage of the settlement depending on the amount of the award. Attorneys will take those cases on contingency which they expect to settle in the client’s favor. 

 

 

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Saying something...without really saying something.  Lol.  Well played Lovette!  I really do love this qoute :)

Edited by Balletwannabe

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15 minutes ago, CTballetfan said:

The reference to rape by someone in the company is a criminal charge. Is someone being charged?

I was curious about the Vail episode, but as Woetzel has been director since 2007, bringing several NYCB dancers each year, it doesn't appear this could be easily determined via Google. https://vaildance.org/festival-artists/

Many rape victims don't file criminal charges, for all sorts of reasons. The Town of Vail has information on its web site about its courts and public records, but it's also possible charges were filed by Jane Doe. Nothing turns up on the sites of community papers.

Yet the fact that this was mentioned in the complaint suggests somebody is prepared to testify. 

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It has always made me a little uneasy to see all of the senior male principals with young corps dancers, the power differential is huge. Besides Ramasar and Maxwell there is Veyette and Hod and De Luz was engaged to Gerrity. It doesn't bother me as much when company dancers of similar rank and age date.

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What's become clear to me as I read through all these posts is that I don't want to see the male dancers (I'm excepting Finlay because that appears to be different from the others, at least at this point) permanently banished from NYCB. I DO want to see, based on what I know so far - if the accusations are proven true - an amount of punishment that goes further than missing a fall/winter season without pay, and I DO want to see rehabilitation. A year without pay, to me, fits the actions I know of thus far, much better than just a season. And sometime during that year, some kind of residential treatment program for sexual offenses such as the ones that allegedly incurred. These men appear to seriously need to understand, at the gut level, HOW their actions, individually and collectively, have violated others.  And then upon the dancers' return, a probationary period of another year that continues to include counseling with a professional outside of NYCB.

If a rape did take place, that is something separate to my mind, a police matter. I wouldn't want that individual to retain any association with NYCB, if convicted. And I would hope that residential treatment for that crime would be part of any punishment.

I'm uncomfortable with young careers being permanently ruined without getting another chance. These are young people who have the ability to turn themselves around. But I do feel that the chance must come with some hardship, hence something like a year's banishment without pay, and a residential program. 

I don't want to see blood; I DO want to see fundamental change within the individuals.

 

Edited by vagansmom

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11 minutes ago, vagansmom said:

I'm uncomfortable with young careers being permanently ruined without getting another chance. These are young people who have the ability to turn themselves around.

I don't think it's NYCB's responsibility to worry about whether their careers are ruined by this — maybe they are, or maybe they continue elsewhere. I think it's NYCB's responsibility to think about whether they should continue to be employees at NYCB

Edited by nanushka

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59 minutes ago, vagansmom said:

I'm uncomfortable with young careers being permanently ruined without getting another chance. 

Catazaro is 28 and Ramasar is 36. Both have been with the company for over a decade. They are old enough to know right from wrong. If the allegations are true and they have squandered their careers, it will be unfortunate for them.

But, if the allegations are true, I fail to see why the women in the company who they worked with and preyed upon should sacrifice their peace of mind so that Catazaro and Ramasar can be given another chance. I would personally be horrified if I found out that someone had surreptitiously taken/shared nude photos of me and that I was then going to have to continue to work with him.

I have liked Ramasar a lot as a dancer, but he is not irreplaceable. Retirements and career-ending injuries are regular occurrences, and there are always younger dancers who can then move up or dancers from other companies who can be recruited.

49 minutes ago, nanushka said:

I don't think it's NYCB's responsibility to worry about whether their careers are ruined by this — maybe they are, or maybe they continue elsewhere. I think it's NYCB's responsibility to think about whether they should continue to be employees at NYCB

Yes, exactly. 

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I'm a millennial. I'm not in the dance world, but I am in academia, whose power structures can resemble those in the arts: a mandatory 'apprenticeship' (grad school) requiring unbelievable amounts of time/money before you're even allowed to interview for salaried jobs, heavy competition for a dwindling number of jobs (many just fellowships), a huge amount of overlap between professional and social activities, insular communities, superstars who are seen as indispensable to the profession, gender imbalances at the upper levels of the profession, huge amount of leeway given to 'boy geniuses'... and so forth.

Anyway, I hope it's not breaking forum rules to express my sadness at how many times Finlay, Ramasar, and Catazaro's artistry has been mentioned in this conversation. My sadness at how worries about their lives being ruined and what their absence might mean for the audience's experience seem to be much more passionately stated here than concern for Alexandra and the women of NYCB.

I am so indescribably angry and sad about what has happened to them. I'm also mortified that more people aren't angry. And -- and this is where the comment about academia comes in -- I'm scared, because whenever I see the reaction to something like this happening in the dance world, it feels like a preview of what might happen in my world if I or women I knew had to report sexual harassment or worse. The insistence on defending people on the basis of their contributions to the field, the denial of institutional responsibility, the worries about (statistically rare) false accusations, everything.

Edited by sappho

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3 hours ago, fondoffouettes said:

David Prottas is filling in for Ramasar tonight in Carousel. Has Prottas filled in before? (I haven't been following the Carousel discussion very closely.)

 

unnamed.jpg

 

Protas filled in for Ramasar when the latter went on vacation a couple of weeks ago. 

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I be!ieve I misunderstood Alexa Maxwell's role as stated in the complaint. It seems to say that Finlay made an offer to Ramadan to share Alexandra with Ramasar and Maxwell. We don't know if Ramasar responded and it is doubtful that Maxwell knew of that exchange

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vipa - your autocorrect is doing the same thing mine does. Ramasar becomes Ramadan. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to repeatedly change that over the past few days!

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