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

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20 minutes ago, Longtimelurker said:

Yes but even in the legal complaint those instances of alleged domestic violence are described as "claims" with nothing substantiated.

If this suit goes to trial, I assume both sides will use discovery to either substantiate or defuse the claims. I think we can safely infer that Ms. Waterbury has the receipts when it comes to Finlay's emails and texts. For the rest, her evidence at the moment may be little more than hearsay. 

That doesn't mean that there isn't truth to the claims, but rather that she and her lawyer might not be able to provide any documentary evidence or witness testimony regarding them until they've deposed the relevant parties or subpoenaed the relevant documents, which, I believe can only be done if the parties proceed to trial.

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell

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1 minute ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

If this suit goes to trial, I assume both sides will use discovery to either substantiate or defuse the claims. I think we can safely infer that Ms. Waterbury has the receipts when it comes to Finlay's emails and texts. For the rest, her evidence may be little more than hearsay. 

That doesn't mean that there isn't truth to the claims, but rather that she and her lawyer might not be able to provide any documentary evidence or witness testimony regarding them until they've deposed the relevant parties or subpoenaed the relevant documents, which, I believe can only be done if the parties proceed to trial.

I think the way I quoted Helene's response created some confusion as to exactly which claims I was referring to.  I was referring to the claims that a male principal raped a female soloist in Vail and assaulted a female corps member. 

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19 minutes ago, Longtimelurker said:

Yes but even in the legal complaint those instances of alleged domestic violence are described as "claims" with nothing substantiated.

Claim <> Rumor.  There is a legal process that addresses claims, and the complaint is the first step.

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1 minute ago, Longtimelurker said:

I think the way I quoted Helene's response created some confusion as to exactly which claims I was referring to.  I was referring to the claims that a male principal raped a female soloist in Vail and assaulted a female corps member. 

For the record, I was referring to all the claims, including this one — which the complaint itself refers to as a claim. (See number 29 on page 8 of the complaint.)

 

2 minutes ago, Helene said:

Claim <> Rumor.  There is a legal process that addresses claims, and the complaint is the first step.

Exactly. 

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1 hour ago, AB'sMom said:

Women sue fraternities on similar grounds, even though they aren’t members of the fraternity. 

I think my point was unclear. Affiliation with NYCB is not necessarily limited to being a student or being in the company. I’m not convinced that NYCB’s relationship with Waterbury puts them in a position that they would be liable for what Finlay did to her. 

I think the kinds of things fraternities get sued for are things that happened at events they sponsor or on their premises. But I can see where there are cases where one or more frat members do things outside of the official fraternity events, but the organization might nevertheless end up being on the hook for those. 

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9 minutes ago, yukionna4869 said:

I think my point was unclear. Affiliation with NYCB is not necessarily limited to being a student or being in the company. I’m not convinced that NYCB’s relationship with Waterbury puts them in a position that they would be liable for what Finlay did to her. 

I think the kinds of things fraternities get sued for are things that happened at events they sponsor or on their premises. But I can see where there are cases where one or more frat members do things outside of the official fraternity events, but the organization might nevertheless end up being on the hook for those. 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2018/06/15/woman-with-help-of-stormy-danielss-lawyer-sues-fraternity-for-circulating-explicit-videos/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.0cc0cf872be8

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Just now, AB'sMom said:

from the article:“The video was also disseminated to be viewed during their fraternity house meeting, the lawsuit states.”

That was also the case I had in mind. I think that provides stronger grounds for her suing the fraternity. To me, that makes this different from NYCB’s involvement in what Finlay did. 

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1 hour ago, Juliet said:

So does this mean the punishment that NYCB deemed appropriate for Ramasar’s actions was “suspension without pay” for a period of time in which Ramasar was actually employed by another organization and presumably not getting paid by or dancing for NYCB?  Does anyone know how long he was supposed to perform with Carousel and whether he was actually scheduled to dance anything with NYCB before the end of the year?  For me, this is pretty important in determining whether NYCB acted with any integrity or whether they really did hope they could get away with a token slap on the wrist.

I think it’s also important to keep in mind that NYCB is not just a single entity - I’m sure there are many people on the board and at the organization who really do want to do the right thing.  The question is whether the truly powerful people (typically the ones who donate a lot of money and/or have access to people with a lot of money) care.  And the truly frightening thought is that some of these people may actually be the perpetrators themselves - after all, the anonymous donor listed in the complaint was probably not a low-level donor if he is texting back and forth with a principal dancer at the company.  Only the highest level of donors typically get access at an “intimate” level to the dancers, especially to the principals.

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4 minutes ago, minervaave said:

So does this mean the punishment that NYCB deemed appropriate for Ramasar’s actions was “suspension without pay” for a period of time in which Ramasar was actually employed by another organization and presumably not getting paid by or dancing for NYCB?  Does anyone know how long he was supposed to perform with Carousel and whether he was actually scheduled to dance anything with NYCB before the end of the year?  For me, this is pretty important in determining whether NYCB acted with any integrity or whether they really did hope they could get away with a token slap on the wrist

Carousel is scheduled to close September 16. Presumably Ramasar was going to return to NYCB for the fall and Nutcracker seasons

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3 hours ago, gigi said:

I don't think we should read anything into the fact that her lawyer went to NYCB first.  This is standard procedure with lawsuits - not only is it considered courteous to offer a settlement opportunity first, but I believe judges have an expectation that parties would have attempted to work through their issues prior to involving the courts.  Also, I have to think NYCB and any other parties approached would vastly prefer this to being blind sighted by a lawsuit.  

I think it speaks volumes about NYCB and their respect for women that they chose to paint Alexandra as someone looking for a "payout."  The nature of her requests in the document for injunctive relief and other consideration seem reasonable considering there has been damage done to her career and mental health.  

I find it astonishing that NYCB did not handle Alexandra's complaint better in order to avoid a lawsuit.  Strikes me as incompetence managing liabilities or overconfidence that she would not follow through or the public would not care.   

Also, regarding not involving the authorities, i.e. pursuing a criminal case, I'm not sure that would accomplish her goal or do as much good.  Finlay potentially lands in jail, and not clear if NYCB comes away with any incentive to change institutional practices they way it does with her current approach.  

 

3 hours ago, atm711 said:

SO WHAT!! if she wasn't a member of the Company-----she was a STUDENT which makes the accusations far worse....

No excuses for him but she was no longer a student when the relationship began and she was over 18.

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18 hours ago, cassieallison said:

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.

This has troubled me too. 

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6 minutes ago, yukionna4869 said:

from the article:“The video was also disseminated to be viewed during their fraternity house meeting, the lawsuit states.”

That was also the case I had in mind. I think that provides stronger grounds for her suing the fraternity. To me, that makes this different from NYCB’s involvement in what Finlay did. 

I think the claims are similar. The head of the national chapter didn’t disseminate the video, the frat boys did. Waterbury claims Finlay and others were exchanging and viewing these images at work. Part of her claim is that there was an environment not unlike a fraternity at NYCB, that there were people who knew this environment existed, and that nothing was done to prevent it. 

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11 minutes ago, minervaave said:

So does this mean the punishment that NYCB deemed appropriate for Ramasar’s actions was “suspension without pay” for a period of time in which Ramasar was actually employed by another organization and presumably not getting paid by or dancing for NYCB?  Does anyone know how long he was supposed to perform with Carousel and whether he was actually scheduled to dance anything with NYCB before the end of the year?  For me, this is pretty important in determining whether NYCB acted with any integrity or whether they really did hope they could get away with a token slap on the wrist.

At a pre-performance talk at SPAC in July, Justin Peck said that Ramasar should be back by the end of the year.  This was before the Carousel closing was announced.

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13 minutes ago, minervaave said:

Only the highest level of donors typically get access at an “intimate” level to the dancers, especially to the principals.

The donor could easily have been someone with a previous connection to Finlay — a family friend, say, or the colleague of a friend or family member.  Dancers can have friends that they make on their own, and those friends can be encouraged to become donors. 

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Several posters were asking what the NYCB board has done and said to protect their dancers (from harassment, intimidation, mistreatment, etc). They’ve done two things that I can see:

1. They had a “listening tour” to hear what dancers wanted from the company and from the incoming AD. Dancers were able to speak to them both in person and to give statements anonymously.  I posted a link upthread to a Dancemagazine article about this.

2. The board then published a list of qualities for the new AD which include creating an improved working atmosphere, free from threats and intimidation. (I’m paraphrasing, since I don’t have access to the job description at the moment).

I thought those were both positive steps. 

Modeling is a different industry which places attractive young women (and men) in its own situations that are historically rife with mistreatment. Still the article may be useful. How the modeling industry is responding to #MeToo

https://nyti.ms/2MQrFEU?smid=nytcore-ios-share 

 

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10 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

The donor could easily have been someone with a previous connection to Finlay — a family friend, say, or the colleague of a friend or family member.  Dancers can have friends that they make on their own, and those friends can be encouraged to become donors. 

Yes, but most probably high level nonetheless. According to paragraph 27 of the complaint, the donor routinely gave speeches while drunk.

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3 minutes ago, Rick said:

Yes, but most probably high level nonetheless. According to paragraph 27 of the complaint, the donor routinely gave speeches while drunk.

That makes the donor sound young and foolish, in my opinion, rather than high level and monied. Most of the big wigs I’ve seen at the ballet know how to comport themselves in public without anyone rushing to take away their microphone. 

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9 minutes ago, BalanchineFan said:

That makes the donor sound young and foolish, in my opinion, rather than high level and monied. Most of the big wigs I’ve seen at the ballet know how to comport themselves in public without anyone rushing to take away their microphone. 

But would a lower-level donor be repeatedly invited to make speeches — especially if he had a habit of doing so while drunk? (Non-rhetorical question.) I suppose the speeches may not have been invited, but it sounds like there was tolerance of the behavior.

 

Edited to add:

I see Kathleen has filled in more details. Thanks!

Edited by nanushka

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6 minutes ago, Rick said:

Yes, but most probably high level nonetheless. According to paragraph 27 of the complaint, the donor routinely gave speeches while drunk.

Oh, I've done that. 😉

If the speech referred to in the complaint (it appears to have been just one) was made during an NYCB function, then yes, it might have been someone who ponied up more than a few thousand. However, the complaint only states that the donor "hosted parties" where excessive alcohol consumption was encouraged and that his mike was cut during a speech. It doesn't state that the speech was made at an NYCB sponsored event. 

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1 minute ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Oh, I've done that. 😉

If the speech referred to in the complaint (it appears to have been just one) was made during an NYCB function, then yes, it might have been someone who ponied up more than a few thousand. However, the complaint only states that the donor "hosted parties" where excessive alcohol consumption was encouraged and that his mike was cut during a speech. It doesn't state that the speech was made at an NYCB sponsored event. 

I think we're both splitting hairs. It seems obvious to me that "parties", in the context of the paragraph mentioning the donor, implied New York City Ballet sponsored events. But we can disagree.

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NY has far more than its fair share of the young monied and the middle-aged-pretending-to-be-young monied.

The measures the company has already taken that Balanchinefan refers too sound good on paper but, in my experience, “listening tours” are irrelevant where company members understand the real unspoken power dynamics at play and the career limitations which will almost certainly follow for anyone who rocks the boat.

There seems no doubt (in the absence of denials from everyone) that these conversations occurred and that pictures were shared not just of a young student but also of company dancers without their consent.  And the company response has been a bloodless legalistic expression of the limitations of their responsibility.   If I were Ashley Bouder right now, a principal dancer who has nothing to fear in career terms from sticking her neck out and who has gained considerable praise for her public feminist stance, I would feel absolutely morally obliged to call out the company on this and to demand a safe and private space with independent listeners (who may not disclose anything said to company management) to let any dancer in the company know if pictures of them formed any part of these disgusting exchanges and to let them know which of their colleagues was party to such exchanges.  She (and other principals - male or female - who could easily get work elsewhere) owe  it to the junior dancers who have much to lose by “making a fuss”.  And that should just be the start of the overhauling of systems.  This is an institution rotten to the core.

Edited by variated

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Just now, AB'sMom said:

And there are plenty of foolish young and monied men about. 

Lordy, yes, especially in NYC. 

If you are a young professional with, say, C-suite or fast-track partnership aspirations, you find yourself a prestigious charity fast, start writing checks, and get on a junior committee asap.

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According to the complaint, the donor actually hosted parties and gave speeches at them, including one where the microphone had to be cut because he was so drunk.  That doesn’t sound like a couple of friends getting together and having a party - microphones and speeches and someone else cutting the mike strongly imply that this was a formal event.  And I can guarantee you that no major non-profit in NYC lets a low level donor host one of their events.  That is a privilege exclusively limited to VIPs.  Also, anyone who thinks this sort of behavior is limited to the young and foolish should probably read a little bit more about the behavior of NY’s monied elite.  It doesn’t surprise me at all.

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4 minutes ago, minervaave said:

According to the complaint, the donor actually hosted parties and gave speeches at them, including one where the microphone had to be cut because he was so drunk.  That doesn’t sound like a couple of friends getting together and having a party - microphones and speeches and someone else cutting the mike strongly imply that this was a formal event.  And I can guarantee you that no major non-profit in NYC lets a low level donor host one of their events.  That is a privilege exclusively limited to VIPs. 

This is definitely not necessarily true.  Like many arts institutions, NYCB has a junior committee called the Young Patrons.  The organizers of events for the Young Patrons give speeches at their events and they are not those who are the biggest donors, but rather, those who put forward the most effort to be involved.  If one had looked at the Instagram accounts of Chase, Zach and Amar before they had been taken down, one could see that those three in particular had a friend or two who were heavily involved in that particular donor group.  This part of my post may be deleted as speculation, but I have a strong suspicion that the "donor" is one of these individuals and not a major donor to the company.

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