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


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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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"Rotten to the core"?   James Levine was known to have engaged in far worse conduct than Finlay and company,  and he was the Metropolitan  Opera's artistic head,  but no one described the opera company in those terms.  Likewise Matt Lauer at NBC and Charlie Rose at CBS and PBS - no one condemns the entire network for their actions.  Les Moonves is about to land to earth in a $100 million dollar parachute,  and many people knew how he exploited women and actively tried to destroy the careers of Ileana Douglas and Janet Jackson.

Chris Rock famously said that "a man is only as faithful as his options" - if they can get away with bad behavior,  some men will behave badly.    There was nothing that NYCB could be reasonably been expected to do that would have prevented Ms. Waterbury's abuse.  All they can do is react,  and make clear going forward that such activities could lead to being fired.  (Finlay and Ramasar could have forwarded photos to members of the company who didn't  ask for them and didn't  approve of their activities.  It would be grossly unfair to punish them for the actions of others.)

I don't  know Ms. Waterbury's motives or state of mind regarding this matter.  But it's  not unfair or inaccurate for NYCB to mention that she first sought a financial payout.  She did,  and if she had received it,  none of us would have known anything about this tawdry episode.  

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36 minutes ago, Rick said:

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.

I read that as indicating private parties. 

Edited by bcash
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7 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.  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.

No, it doesn't sound like a few friends getting together, but it needn't have been a charity event for there to be speeches and a microphone. It could have been a wedding, a big birthday bash, a retirement party, a bar mitzvah, the celebration of a special achievement - who knows? And the point is, we don't know. 

I haven't decided if the complaint is one of the sloppiest I've read or one of the most clever. As a coherent narrative of the facts and a robust presentation of the theory of the case, it leaves something to be desired. However, that very sloppiness allows us to draw damning inferences based on very few concrete details. For instance, the complaint doesn't say the donor was a "major donor" or an "important donor," nor does it state explicitly that the behavior took place at NYCB-sponsored events. It doesn't explain how or why NYCB would have knowledge of the donor's behavior. It merely states that the donor hosted parties, encouraged excessive alcohol consumption, and had his mike cut; it then states that the company took his money and allowed him to attend its events "regardless of his behavior." It leaves us to infer that that behavior took place at NYCB events, but doesn't say that it did.

Look, I'm not saying that the donor wasn't a major check-writer, or that he didn't behave badly at NYCB events. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if that were the case. (Frankly, nothing in the complaint would surprise me, although it would certainly sadden and disgust me.) But the complaint doesn't come right out and say that. It could be because it is badly written, or it could be by design.

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18 hours ago, sappho said:

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.

Thank you, you put into words what I could not. 

I’m a xennial myself, but I also feel mortified while reading people worry about the men involved. 

Taking and circulating naked photos with no consent? If true, that in itself should mean those people should never work in NYCB again, though I guess suspension is considered enough by the administration for such a violation. 

Edited by elena
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