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

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I see a lot of people who seem to agree with sappho. My personal view is different. I don’t mean to offend or argue and I certainly don’t speak for everyone. 

as I said before; I love the dancers and I love the repertory. I’ve got loads of tickets for the season and I’m still looking forward to it. The women in the company (are there 50 of them?) have been working hard. Some have new roles. How devastating it would be to work and work for your chosen profession, scandal erupts, you wonder if your ex-bf shared your naked pics and then to top it all off no one comes to see you dance anymore.  I don’t see going to NYCB as not supporting Alexandra Waterbury. She’s amazing. I hope she prevails and I hope she pursues criminal charges if she wants to. It sounds like she has a strong case against Chase Finlay. I’ll be interested in the outcome. In the meantime I’m going to the ballet.  I write about the male dancers’ artistry because that’s what I know and the rest (their punishment, the merits of any legal claims) is not for me to decide. I trust that the system will deliver justice. I hope Ms. Waterbury has every success, but I don’t see how my abstaining from viewing NYCBallet would help her. If it’s a financial settlement she wants, then NYCB will need money. If she wants the culture changed then they’ll need to continue as an institution to work on that, too. 

I’m interested to hear other points of view. I haven’t considered a boycott. Not for a second. It’s not like they’re president of the USA.

 

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I'm one who agrees with sappho, and I have zero sympathy for any of the men, named or otherwise, who've demeaned women, in the Company or not. 

I think the Company will use whatever legal means it has for damage control and to protect the Company's assets.  In that attempt, so far, they are putting a wall between what they consider the personal and the professional, and none of their statements and actions show that they recognize the toxicity of the culture, let alone feel responsible for managing or neutralizing/mitigating it.  I don't think that bodes well for the women in the Company.

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2 hours 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

I agree. I have alot to say about this terrible, appalling mess, but I’m not up to it right now. What I’ll say here is that these are MEN. They’re responsible for the maintenance and respectability of their careers. 

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56 minutes ago, Helene said:

I'm one who agrees with sappho, and I have zero sympathy for any of the men, named or otherwise, who've demeaned women, in the Company or not. 

I think the Company will use whatever legal means it has for damage control and to protect the Company's assets.  In that attempt, so far, they are putting a wall between what they consider the personal and the professional, and none of their statements and actions show that they recognize the toxicity of the culture, let alone feel responsible for managing or neutralizing/mitigating it.  I don't think that bodes well for the women in the Company.

I agree. Have we ever heard a company representative express genuine concern for the dancers' well-being? I feel like the company has been in self-preservation mode ever since the accusations against Martins were made.

To what degree is the NYCB board to blame for all of this? I hope the new AD does an audit of the board and helps recruit new board members who may have expertise in the areas of equity and creating a safe work environment. 

I don't plan on boycotting performances, but I would sit out any piece featuring a man who has committed some of the acts described in the complaint. I'm more interested in seeing what sort of support/solidarity the women of NYCB might seek from the public. I worry that, between the social media rules and precarious employment of dancers in general, the female dancers won't feel empowered or able to speak up.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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dAs a complete outsider it seems to me that NYCB management has tried the damage limitation route with its internal investigation and the suspension of two of the three named individuals, no doubt hoping that the whole thing would blow over because the man most deeply implicated had resigned and it had "taken action" against the other two named men. I should be most surprised if the situation for NYCB does not get a whole lot worse whether or not the matter ends up going to a full hearing.The problem it seems to me is that whatever official guidelines the company may have about conduct in the workplace and conduct towards students at SAB it would not be that difficult for a lawyer to establish that the company has a longstanding institutional culture in which exploitative relationships have been the order of the day and that the behaviour complained of, far from being an aberration, is merely the most extreme manifestation of that culture. If the legal team representing the complainant take that line then NYCB is in for a great deal of reputational damage, Its attempt to deal with those involved in the behaviour complained of  is going to look like little more than a weak and feeble attempt by NYCB to protect its reputation by going through the motions. as the "punishment" imposed on the two men who remain company members looks like little more than mere tokenism.

 I assume that as the complainant has decided to take civil action against the three named men and the company she only has to prove the truth of her allegations on the balance of probabilities ? I ask this because if that is the case then she only has to establish that it is more likely than not that the activity she complains of took place and in most common law jurisdictions it also means that the rules as to what evidence may be introduced on the grounds of relevance are more generous than they would be in a criminal case. Please understand I am not saying that the complainant has taken the civil route because her claims are without sufficient substance to justify criminal proceedings. I am simply saying that because the complainant is taking a civil case  NYCB is likely to be subject to far more adverse  publicity and open to far more criticism as an institution than would have been the case if criminal proceedings were being taken. It will almost certainly be argued that if the company had been serious about dealing with such behaviour and stamping it out then the current management team would have imposed exemplary punishment on all involved and severed all its links with the donor and anyone else implicated and that by failing to do so it has condoned the continuation of the institution's toxic culture.

I think that whoever is finally appointed to act as the company's Artistic Director is going to face such a gargantuan task in terms of establishing a new institutional culture, restoring the company's morale and its reputation that quite a few people who might have been tempted to apply for the post will decide against doing so. It might even be the case that the Board will decide that in order to  be seen to be making a clean break with the past it needs to appoint someone who has far less immediate involvement with the company than it originally contemplated.

Edited by Ashton Fan

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. Miss Waterbury has made some shocking allegations, and as Coweb noted: 

 

18 hours ago, cobweb said:

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. 

 

 

Finlay's behavior, and that of the other two dancers disciplined, cannot be assumed to be the behavior of every other man in the company. That's deeply unfair, not least because many men in the company are gay and presumably have a different approach to their female colleagues.

NYCB is by definition a very physical environment. People touch each other all day long as part of their work. Imposing rules meant for colleagues in a law firm or academic office just doesn't make sense. 

Miss Waterbury's allegations should be investigated very thoroughly. But they are allegations until proven otherwise, particularly where they do not concern the three men who have already been disciplined.

I think people are getting ahead of themselves when they say the entire working environment at NYCB is toxic for female dancers. 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, KayDenmark said:

NYCB is by definition a very physical environment. People touch each other all day long as part of their work. Imposing rules meant for colleagues in a law firm or academic office just doesn't make sense.

So far as I understand them (I haven't yet had time to read the entire complaint), the allegations in this case have nothing to do with the fact that NYCB dancers touch each other all day long. The types of behavior being alleged in this case should, I think, be considered inappropriate and damaging in any work environment — law, academia, the arts...heck, even the adult film industry. I simply do not see how the frequent physical contact of dancers is at all relevant (at least, as a mitigating factor) in a consideration of this case.

(Also, what are the rules being "imposed" or even suggested that don't make sense?) 

Edited by nanushka

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I’ve been away a bit (moving, new job, buying a house).  Shocked and sad to come back and see this.  

If the allegations in Waterbury’s lawsuit are entirely true, I will have a hard time supporting this company with the current leadership and board in place.  They are the “captains of the ship” and are responsible for the culture created or maintained under their leadership.

 

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8 hours ago, Helene said:

I think the Company will use whatever legal means it has for damage control and to protect the Company's assets.

Exactly, which is why a fair number of people thought the results of the board's investigation of Peter Martins would inevitably lead to the board exonerating itself.

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1 hour ago, nanushka said:

The types of behavior being alleged in this case should, I think, be considered inappropriate and damaging in any work environment — law, academia, the arts...heck, even the adult film industry. I simply do not see how the frequent physical contact of dancers is at all relevant (at least, as a mitigating factor) in a consideration of this case.

(Also, what are the rules being "imposed" or even suggested that don't make sense?) 

1

There have been other posters who have written "Well, I work in an (law, academic, etc.) office and we do it this way." 

My point is that the workplaces are not directly comparable, in part because of the physical nature of the dancers' work. But also because of the long tradition of interpersonal relationships at the company. 

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7 minutes ago, KayDenmark said:

There have been other posters who have written "Well, I work in an (law, academic, etc.) office and we do it this way." 

I understood what comments you were responding to. What I didn't understand was how the physical nature of the dancers' work is at all relevant to the particular allegations being made in this case. What has been alleged here would seem to me inappropriate in any workplace, no matter how physically involved the employees are with one another due to the nature of their work.

And if coworkers choose to become involved in romantic or sexual relationships with each other — no matter how much of a "tradition" there may be of that — they are still obligated to act professionally in the workplace and to treat their coworkers with dignity and respect, for example by not engaging in harassment or abuse, sexual or otherwise.

Edited by nanushka

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Hello everyone from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

As you can imagine, we don't usually see any news about NYCB in local newspapers. For instance, I don't recall having read anything when Argentina born A.S.Scheller became a principal dancer in the company. But this issue is in the main newspapers here. The info seems to be quite unaccurate, though (compared to what I've been reading here). Did you say anything about bad publicity?

Spanish only, of course:

https://www.lanacion.com.ar/2169587-escandalo-ballet-nueva-york-exbailarina-demanda-institucion

https://www.clarin.com/sociedad/escandalo-ballet-nueva-york-bailarina-denuncio-ex-autoridades-pornovenganza_0_B1P2l1kd7.html

 

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9 hours ago, sappho said:

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.

Exactly.  What they did was wrong in a way that shows a profound, fundamental lack of character and respect towards women.  You can’t rehabiliate that.  This is not a drinking problem where people can get treatment to help them - this is about their fundamental character, and I am also truly saddened that continuing to enjoy their artistry seems to some to be more important than seeing  that people who treat women like this don’t flourish in our society.  The reason why people do this and get away with it is that they continue to get the message that they can.

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The company has conducted an investigation. Hopefully it was impartial. They are privy to information that we don't have. The company is currently directed by four youngish people, who are under a mandate to establish a healthy culture, particularly in regards to issues around sex and power. In that light, can we not assume that they acted reasonably? They may not be hoping this "blows over," as someone mentioned up-thread. They may actually have tried to do what they thought was right. We don't have the facts, we only have allegations from one side of the situation. 

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5 minutes ago, cobweb said:

The company has conducted an investigation. Hopefully it was impartial. They are privy to information that we don't have. The company is currently directed by four youngish people, who are under a mandate to establish a healthy culture, particularly in regards to issues around sex and power. In that light, can we not assume that they acted reasonably? They may not be hoping this "blows over," as someone mentioned up-thread. They may actually have tried to do what they thought was right. We don't have the facts, we only have allegations from one side of the situation. 

Those four people form the "interim artistic management team." I’m not sure they’re the ones who would have had the power to fully determine how this was handled.

Edited by nanushka

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I watched the Good Morning America interview.  She claimed images were shared with "9 men"?? UHG.  However she didn't specifically say 9 "dancers".

Edited by Balletwannabe

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Be that as it may, I still don't know why we can't assume the company may have acted reasonably, considering that they did an investigation and therefore, have a lot more information than we have. 

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2 minutes ago, Balletwannabe said:

I don't think it's reasonable to keep an employee after they trash a hotel room. 

I'd like to hear more information about this incident. All we know now comes from a single source. 

One of the other posters mentioned that the dancers have at-will contracts. Does that also apply to dancers who have a protected disability, such as substance abuse? 

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1 minute ago, KayDenmark said:

One of the other posters mentioned that the dancers have at-will contracts. Does that also apply to dancers who have a protected disability, such as substance abuse?

Interesting question. I'm also curious about how union regulations may have played into all this. Presumably the union would have been involved in the investigation. Would union regulations also have affected what punishments could be doled out?

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10 minutes ago, cobweb said:

Be that as it may, I still don't know why we can't assume the company may have acted reasonably, considering that they did an investigation and therefore, have a lot more information than we have. 

People might be inclined to assume otherwise because of the conclusion of the Martins investigation. 

Anyway, I'm annoyed that most media outlets other than the NYT use "ballerina" or "dancer" in their headline to describe Waterbury. She's a model and student, a former ballet student, but not a dancer and certainly not a "ballerina". The use of these descriptors plants the impression that this is coming from someone who's an established member of the company, when in reality she's not.

Edited by bcash

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That's a very good point, Bcash. I'm not sure she's even interested in a dance career at this point. 

I also notice that her lawyer make sure to take a large number of "sad" photos to accompany the various articles about her allegations. We used to do this when I worked in corporate life; we'd take "happy" CEO pictures to accompany good news about the company, and "sad" CEO pictures to be used if something terrible had happened. 

Her lawyer is just doing his job, which is to put forward the best possible version of her case.

Not sure what Chase Finlay's lawyer is up to - he seems to have released a statement and then vanished.

 

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