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


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2 minutes ago, cobweb said:

Vipa, it was an event with dancers from the company. I know I mentioned this same thing last year when Martins was fired, and some of you, including you I believe, disagreed with me. For me, I found it troubling, and it changed the way I saw Peter Martins. 

Ah yes, I remember. As a former dancer, I remember treasuring such moments with a director/teacher, so it is really hard for me to see something nefarious. Even as a married woman with a husband in the same company, such gestures were accepted with the positive intent that were meant. Perhaps this something of what Paglia was getting at. When you are in a performing artist context there are norms that must seem odd to others. From Peter Martins behavior, at those events, I would have no reason to believe he was anything other that an encouraging teacher.

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19 minutes ago, cobweb said:

Vipa, it was an event with dancers from the company. I know I mentioned this same thing last year when Martins was fired, and some of you, including you I believe, disagreed with me. For me, I found it troubling, and it changed the way I saw Peter Martins. 

Ah yes, I remember. As a former dancer, I remember treasuring such moments with a director/teacher, so it is really hard for me to see something nefarious. Even as a married woman with a husband in the same company, such gestures were accepted with the positive intent that were meant. Perhaps this something of what Paglia was getting at. When you are in a performing artist context there are norms that must seem odd to others. From Peter Martins behavior, at those events, I would have no reason to believe he was anything other that an encouraging teacher.

The lower quote is from vipa. I can't multi -quote very well.

I'm not great with clips either, but in this clip from Kurt Froman's instagram, Peter Martins is rehearsing Calcium Light Night with Heather Watts and Daniel Duell. I found the way he moves Duell around ... aggressive, and I often saw him doing something similar in rehearsals. Judge for yourself. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BnRiy6_gqeh/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

Edited by BalanchineFan
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37 minutes ago, BalanchineFan said:

The lower quote is from vipa. I can't multi -quote very well.

I'm not great with clips either, but in this clip from Kurt Froman's instagram, Peter Martins is rehearsing Calcium Light Night with Heather Watts and Daniel Duell. I found the way he moves Duell around ... aggressive, and I often saw him doing something similar in rehearsals. Judge for yourself. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BnRiy6_gqeh/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

That particular clip doesn’t give me pause. Duell seems to move his head in anticipation of what Martins wants, though I could see how it could read as Martins pushing Duell’s head.

I imagine that sometimes in rehearsals or in the choreographic process it’s sometime easier to physically manipulate a dancer’s body rather than verbally describe the desired motion.

But I can of course imagine how someone could cross the line in situations like these.

 

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Just ruminating that for every Waterbury out there belonging to the #metoo movement there are quite a bunch on the other side who fall under the #theyknew one. Double standards and hypocrisy are usually rampant in this type of situations.

Edited by cubanmiamiboy
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10 hours ago, On Pointe said:

 

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.)

 

We don't yet know enough to know what New York City Ballet's liabilities might be under the law. Obviously, the company thinks it can beat back a lawsuit. I would add that whether they have further kinds of responsibility beyond the legal and whether the larger dance world does (or doesn't) need to think about these issues as well--requires a conversation that  goes way beyond Chris Rock's version of "boys will be boys" --

But let's take Chris Rock's way of putting things:  a man's (or, indeed, a woman's) "options"--even just what they think those options are--may be partly impacted by the institutional rules, norms or cultures that surround them. The question in this case seems to be whether New York City Ballet normalized options that, on the whole, contributed to the disrespectful and/or illegal treatment of Waterbury and, possibly, other dancers. 

For me, based on what is publicly known, it seems way too soon to say "there was nothing that NYCB could reasonably  [have] been expected to do that would have prevented Ms. Waterbury's abuse. All they can do is react..." since we don't know what they in fact had tolerated, permitted, overlooked, ignored, treated as trivial etc. And the complaint gives examples that, if proven, are very serious. If there were no potential legal basis for suing institutions in cases like this, then there wouldn't be a suit like this--or it would be thrown out immediately as frivolous; as this particular suit goes forward, it still may not succeed in proving an actual legal basis. Though, as noted above, even if it doesn't, the company may want to consider issues beyond simply the legal ones...

(Presumably, one reason high profile entities like NYCB have codes of conduct is precisely that the "innocent" can be damaged when the company's reputation is damaged.  But, say, the institution did bear some responsibility for what happened to Waterbury and/or others--it would have to address and answer for it or other "innocent" people would get hurt and continue to get hurt--invisibly in most cases. When more is known, maybe the company will come up smelling like a rose. And maybe not.)

Edited by Drew
Trying for greater clarity--
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2 hours ago, cobweb said:

Vipa, it was an event with dancers from the company. I know I mentioned this same thing last year when Martins was fired, and some of you, including you I believe, disagreed with me. For me, I found it troubling, and it changed the way I saw Peter Martins. 

cobweb - Martins wasn't fired. First he took a leave of absence to let them run their investigation, and then he retired. There's a difference. A BIG difference.

I also think things are getting a bit creepy if a director can't even put his arm encouragingly around a dancer. How far are we going to go with this stuff?

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54 minutes ago, Drew said:

 

For me, based on what is publicly known, it seems way too soon to say "there was nothing that NYCB could reasonably  [have] been expected to do that would have prevented Ms. Waterbury's abuse. All they can do is react..." since we don't know what they in fact had tolerated, permitted, overlooked, ignored, treated as trivial etc. And the complaint gives examples that, if proven, are very serious. If there were no potential legal basis for suing institutions in cases like this, then there wouldn't be a suit--or it would be thrown out immediately as frivolous--and of course even as it goes forward it still may not succeed.  For the life of the company itself, there may turn out to be issues beyond simply the legal ones...

(Presumably, one reason high profile entities like NYCB have codes of conduct is precisely that the "innocent" can be damaged when the company's reputation is damaged.  But, say, the institution did bear some responsibility for what happened to Waterbury and/or others--it would have to address and answer for it or other "innocent" people would get hurt and continue to get hurt--invisibly in most cases. When more is known...well...maybe the company will come up smelling like a rose. And maybe not.)

There is no way for NYCB, or any business or institution,  to control sexual relationships between consenting adults,  even when such relationships are against company policy.  If people choose to send sexual images from their personal computers on their own time,  the company can't prevent that either.  They can punish or fire employees whose activities cast the company in a negative light,  and that is what they have done.  If anyone has any ideas as to how Finlay could have been prevented from treating Ms. Waterbury disrespectfully (allegedly),  please share them.

Unfortunately I could not access the actual complaint,  so I'm puzzled about some of the claims.  If dancers were fined $150,000,  an enormous sum,  how many dancers and who did the fining?  The hotel,  the company or the city of DC?  Plying underage girls with drugs and alcohol is a crime.  Was anyone charged?  How does the complainant know that nude photos of  Ms. Waterbury were given to a "pimp"?  (Do pimps hang out with ballet dancers?)  How does the complainant have knowledge of a rape that occurred in Vail (allegedly),  or any other sexual crimes perpetrated by members of a company that she is not a part of?  

Ms. Waterbury seems to have a legitimate beef with her ex-boyfriend,  and possibly a couple of his buddies.  But I think she'll have a hard time persuading a judge or jury that NYCB is financially responsible for their shenanigans.  (I do expect this to show up on an episode of Law and Order SVU this coming season.)

Edited by On Pointe
Clarity
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It interests me that many posts have referred to the "complaint", which means they've read it. Yet no one has mentioned Chase Finlay's mental state. Aside from the gut wrenching texts and videos apparently sent around, the language he uses and the things he says indicate, to me at least, a very troubled person who needs help. 

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2 minutes ago, Rock said:

It interests me that many posts have referred to the "complaint", which means they've read it. Yet no one has mentioned Chase Finlay's mental state. Aside from the gut wrenching texts and videos apparently sent around, the language he uses and the things he says indicate, to me at least, a very troubled person who needs help. 

I'm sorry I have a lot of trouble feeling sorry for someone who ALLEGEDLY took nude photos and videos of women without their consent and disseminated them. He's literally the last person I'm worried about in this ordeal

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Boy I didn't write that well at all. The last thing I meant to convey was sympathy for Chase Finlay. To the opposite I was trying to say this is obviously a desperately sick person. Assuming those texts are correctly quoted, this isn't just about bragging about sex. This is about anger and hate, about an intent to harm, deliberately. 

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51 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

 

Unfortunately I could not access the actual complaint,  so I'm puzzled about some of the claims.

The complaint is, in some respects, itself a puzzling document. I'm not a lawyer but I don't think the problems with it for a layperson like me are all down to professional uses of language.  Reading it doesn't clear up the questions you raised in your post. Who fined the company $150,000  when a hotel room was "trashed" and what exactly was the fine for?? etc.

51 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

There is no way for NYCB, or any business or institution,  to control sexual relationships between consenting adults,  even when such relationships are against company policy.  If people choose to send sexual images from their personal computers on their own time,  the company can't prevent that either.  They can punish or fire employees whose activities cast the company in a negative light,  and that is what they have done. that NYCB is financially responsible for their shenanigans.  (I do expect this to show up on an episode of Law and Order SVU this coming season.)

Well, what has the company done with cases of improper/illegal behavior in the past? (Pretty much the most appalling allegation in the complaint is that a rape within the company was swept under the rug: but no names and no indication of what the source is--or whether there is hard evidence, though there is a location given, Vail.)

If one showed a pattern of permitting bad behavior (behavior that was against company policy) or, indeed, illegal behavior being allowed to proliferate with little or no response from the company, then that would raise questions about institutional responsibility for what happened in this case. At least, that's sort of my non-lawyer's understanding of the suit: the company's failure to act in the past has led to this kind of situation being probable--the company knew or should have known what kind of atmosphere they were creating/allowing through what was permitted in the past.

That is, one of the claims in the suit seems to be that the company has winked at appalling behavior in the past which is why it is responsible for normalizing that behavior--giving the green light to Finlay and others. Can those claims be proven? I don't know. But if they could be proven, then I think that would have a bearing on institutional responsibility ... I have to add again that I personally think there can be kinds of responsibility that may not rise to the level of legal responsibility, but that an institution might want to address. 

Moreover the complaint claims that there are more people attached to the company who are connected to these particular incidents than have been named.

In the meanwhile, NYCB made a point in the statement issued today that they disciplined Catazaro, Finlay, and Ramasar "before the law-suit was filed." I can't help but notice that is not the same as saying they disciplined them before they knew a suit was coming--as they surely did know since they had heard from Waterbury's lawyer--so it doesn't seem to me evidence that they automatically take strong action in the face of these kinds of issues.


Regarding the complaint: this is the website that gets you there. You need to type something that proves you aren't a "bot" which takes you to a page where you can fill in the name of the complainant. A lot of it is allegations that don't seemed pinned to particular evidence--whether that's normal for a complaint at this stage or not I can't say:  http://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/iscroll/index.jsp

Edited by Drew
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Alexandra Waterbury would seem to essentially be after two things: revenge on Chase Finlay, in which she would appear to be spectacularly successful, and then a big payout from the NYCB, which I doubt will go as well.

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1 hour ago, Rock said:

cobweb - Martins wasn't fired. First he took a leave of absence to let them run their investigation, and then he retired. There's a difference. A BIG difference.

I also think things are getting a bit creepy if a director can't even put his arm encouragingly around a dancer. How far are we going to go with this stuff?

I see what you mean re: going too far with no touching, all I can say is that in the moment it really creeped me out. The more I think about it, and considering what vipa said about her experience as a dancer, maybe it wasn't just the touching that I was reacting to, but Martins' whole persona. I really left that event with a very changed view of him, seeing him as pompous yet pretending to be humble, and oh-so-casual in touching the dancers, with an air that implied (or so I took it) that he could touch them freely because he could never possibly be suspected of any prurient interest, which I didn't believe for a second. Also, someone else above asked if he was also touching the men like that - no, he definitely was not. 

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Re Chase Finlay, I look forward to hearing some kind of response from him, in whatever form that takes as the legal process proceeds. Could he really have taken videos without her knowledge - like having a hidden camera aimed at the bed which he furtively activated? I find it hard to believe anyone could be so lacking in sense and decency, so I'm wondering what his version of events is (most likely - that she did in fact know about it the taping, but this was conveyed orally so there is no documentation). But if it did happen as described in the complaint, he'll have to deal with the consequences.  

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52 minutes ago, Rock said:

Alexandra Waterbury would seem to essentially be after two things: revenge on Chase Finlay, in which she would appear to be spectacularly successful, and then a big payout from the NYCB, which I doubt will go as well.

Putting aside prognostication, I think this language is too reductive and intentionally or not (I assume not) makes this suit about her and her personal motives in a way that's rather negatively coded ("revenge"/"Payout") when it is potentially --IF charges/allegations are born out--about rather more. Even on a purely personal level-: is it impossible to imagine that she has a concern for regaining a sense of control over her own life, for her own dignity or humanity in the face of experiences that may feel very humiliating and degrading--and that even the embarrassments and stresses of taking legal action (including suits and, yes, financial settlements)  seem a way to do that, especially in the United States where that is often how people take action on their own behalf?  I'll go further: the other side of revenge can be, for many people, a sense of justice.

But why should she sue NYCB? Rightly or wrongly she may well sincerely judge them to be complicit in what happened to her, exactly as the complaint lays out. That she could quite genuinely feel that way isn't even the tiniest bit of a stretch given the involvement of multiple NYCB personnel in this case.  If allegations in the complaint about events that have happened to other women dancers in the company turn out to be accurate, then that would make her suit important in ways that go beyond her personal situation. And I don't think one can automatically assume that such wider issues mean nothing to her. All this may seem way too idealistic an interpretation, but it's no more implausible than talk of revenge etc.

Honestly,  I'm inclined to believe motives in most law suits are complex and multiple. But I also believe Waterbury has been through an ugly ordeal; moreover, in the wake of her complaints becoming public she has talked about receiving ugly remarks/threats--I'm sure she is going to receive many more especially if her action against NYCB is at all successful or as popular a dancer as Ramasar faces further repercussions.  If she can prove her case, then I have no problem with her receiving an award for damages. If she can't, but still does shine a light on problems in the company, that could be a good thing too. If it all turns out to be frivolous, or dishonest then I hope it's thrown out of court as soon possible. I'm only human and can't help but lean one way regarding what I think is likely to be true--the company's highly legalistic response as well as the head of the board's clue-lessness when responding to the Martins' allegations (more or less: 'let's have an investigation so he can come back as soon as possible, but please feel free dancers to tell us what you think') leaves me with a lot of skepticism about their approach to these issues--but really I don't know --

Edited by Drew
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14 hours ago, cobweb said:

As I still have not read the complaint, I thank those of you who have and have answered my questions about it. New question: is the "donor" who is mentioned identified in any way beyond "donor," in other words does it say major donor, sustaining donor, whether the person is on any committees, has formally hosted official functions, or any other designation beyond "donor"? I mean, I am a donor. 

The complaint does not say.  I'm not sure why it matters, when the complaint asks why the company has not barred the donor from donor events.  Nor has it done anything to the employee(s) involved in the email chain, one of whom allegedly wrote that he masterbated to the images he received.

 

13 hours ago, BalanchineFan said:

 

All I've read so far, and I emphasize SO FAR, implicates Chase Finlay.

The complaint states that Finlay wrote in at least one communication that Waterbury did not know about the images and that she'd be pissed if she knew, ie, notice to the recipient(s) that they were illicit.

Edited to add: I misread the context, and this is wrong.  Please see yukionna4869's post:

 

10 hours ago, On Pointe said:

How does the complainant know that nude photos of  Ms. Waterbury were given to a "pimp"?  (Do pimps hang out with ballet dancers?)  How does the complainant have knowledge of a rape that occurred in Vail (allegedly),  or any other sexual crimes perpetrated by members of a company that she is not a part of?  

Ms. Waterbury seems to have a legitimate beef with her ex-boyfriend,  and possibly a couple of his buddies.  But I think she'll have a hard time persuading a judge or jury that NYCB is financially responsible for their shenanigans.  (I do expect this to show up on an episode of Law and Order SVU this coming season.)

There are several ways Waterbury might know they were given to a pimp:  the email address to which the communications were sent, a statement in a communication that someone bragged they sent it to a pimp, receiving communication from a pimp as a result of having been sent it are just three possibilities.

As for the rest of proof, a complaint is not to prove anything, but to state the basis of the suit. It is not the result of an investigation.  Evidence is raised in discovery and at trial.

9 hours ago, Drew said:

 

Well, what has the company done with cases of improper/illegal behavior in the past? ...

If one showed a pattern of permitting bad behavior (behavior that was against company policy) or, indeed, illegal behavior being allowed to proliferate with little or no response from the company, then that would raise questions about institutional responsibility for what happened in this case. At least, that's sort of my non-lawyer's understanding of the suit: the company's failure to act in the past has led to this kind of situation being probable--the company knew or should have known what kind of atmosphere they were creating/allowing through what was permitted in the past.

That is, one of the claims in the suit seems to be that the company has winked at appalling behavior in the past which is why it is responsible for normalizing that behavior--giving the green light to Finlay and others. Can those claims be proven? I don't know. But if they could be proven, then I think that would have a bearing on institutional responsibility ... I have to add again that I personally think there can be kinds of responsibility that may not rise to the level of legal responsibility, but that an institution might want to address. 

According to a company 990, they paid a substantial amount of money to Vincent Paradiso in damages. attributed in this article by sourcing asking for anonymity as a settlement for inappropriate behavior by Sean Lavery. Presumably Waterbury's attorneys would ask for the details in discovery and also seek NYCB's insurance records to see if their insurers paid out any claims that did not make a 990.

9 hours ago, Rock said:

Alexandra Waterbury would seem to essentially be after two things: revenge on Chase Finlay, in which she would appear to be spectacularly successful, and then a big payout from the NYCB, which I doubt will go as well.

Or perhaps she is after justice and compensation for the damage inflicted on her by Finlay, as well as all of the other men involved in the dissemination of illegally obtained images. 

None of this would have come out if the Company had settle like the did with Vincent Paradiso, because the price of settlements is agreeing never to disclose the terms.  Of course, then they all could have continued on their merry way indefinitely with the same behavior.

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Alexandra Waterbury would seem to essentially be after two things: revenge on Chase Finlay, in which she would appear to be spectacularly successful, and then a big payout from the NYCB, which I doubt will go as well.

Perhaps I'm idealizing but she may also be hoping to encourage changes in the frat boy culture there – and help protect other SAB students.

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Could he really have taken videos without her knowledge - like having a hidden camera aimed at the bed which he furtively activated?

With today's technology it's entirely possible.

Incidentally there's a 1968 film Paul Bartel made called "Secret Cinema" in which the boyfried is secretly filmming his girlfriend and the ups and downs of their relationships and showing the footage weekly at a theater in the Village. She can't understand why everyone laughs at her wherever she goes. I saw it years ago and it was both amusing and chillingly plausible at the same time.

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2 hours ago, cobweb said:

Re Chase Finlay, I look forward to hearing some kind of response from him, in whatever form that takes as the legal process proceeds. Could he really have taken videos without her knowledge - like having a hidden camera aimed at the bed which he furtively activated? I find it hard to believe anyone could be so lacking in sense and decency, so I'm wondering what his version of events is (most likely - that she did in fact know about it the taping, but this was conveyed orally so there is no documentation). But if it did happen as described in the complaint, he'll have to deal with the consequences.  

We certainly have yet to hear Finlay's version of events which may cast a different light on things, but as far as sense and decency go, nothing in the emails cited in the complaint give one the impression of "sense and decency" in his dealings with Waterbury. I don't find it hard to believe that the author of those emails could have taken a video of her without her knowledge.

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Aren’t there laws for creating a hostile work environment though?  Every year, regardless of where I work, I have to watch some webinar on harassment in the work place and they specifically warn about behaviors like for example audible locker room talk, making suggestive comments or playboy pics on your computer desktop

Edited by Deflope
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8 hours ago, Rock said:

It interests me that many posts have referred to the "complaint", which means they've read it. Yet no one has mentioned Chase Finlay's mental state. Aside from the gut wrenching texts and videos apparently sent around, the language he uses and the things he says indicate, to me at least, a very troubled person who needs help. 

If he wasn't  a participant in a high classical art, wasn't from an affluent family  and didn't look like a model from one of the old, pre-diversity,  Ralph Lauren adds, would folks use so delicate a term as  "troubled" to define Mr. Finlay?

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[Admin note: this post was in response to a post that was deleted among about a half dozen in response to a post that was so over the line, I decided I couldn't let stand, but couldn't edit to make the discussion coherent, and threw out the baby with the bathwater.  The original fork noted silence among dancers in the Company.]

 

In addition, I suspect many of them may still be grappling with their own conflicting thoughts and emotions. It's easy to express disgust at something in the abstract, or at things that have taken place somewhere else involving no one that you know. It's quite a different matter when you learn that a friend, colleague, or loved one has done something reprehensible. In that situation, one's anger and disgust is doing battle with one's loyalty and affection. (Trust me, I've been there.)

I think we can and should grant the dancers some space to come to grips with the situation, sort out their own feelings — which may be some complicated tangle of anger, shock, sorrow, resentment, self-reproach, denial, and even forgiveness — and decide what they need to do as individuals, a community, and a company. 

ETA: and the same goes for all of the other people who work at NYCB, e.g., the musicians, the technical staff, the backstage crew, the costume shop, whoever. Company leadership of course needs to speak out publicly and clearly. 

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I don’t believe they are allowed to post anything that could be perceived as critical of the company or its employees and donors. I recently went back and read some of articles about Devin Alberda, and his post criticizing David Koch was one of the things that precipitated NYCB instituting a social media policy. I wouldn’t be surprised if the dancers have all been reminded that they aren’t allowed to post about these recent events.

That said, dancers did post things in reaction to all the Martins news, but most of it was supportive, “he was like a father to me” stuff. 

I’ve seen recent Instagram stories by Kowroski and Mearns that acknowledge that times are tough right now, without mentioning anything specific.

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