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

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8 minutes ago, rkoretzky said:

Who should be the official spokesperson for the company? Scharf? Jon Stafford? 

I suggest that is the responsibility of the executive director. 

My career has been in the education world—public schools and libraries. I have no experience working in an organization of this size or scope. So I really don’t know. 

Re Bella’s comment: yes, I agree that the interim team deserves our full support. They have done a remarkable job under circumstances they couldn’t possibly have anticipated. But I’m one who wishes the search process had gotten underway much more quickly. And frankly I don’t understand why it didn’t. 

Why is the process to find a replacement taking so long?  I get that it is a major decision, but they must have several applicants in mind whom they want to interview.  Frankly, I’m shocked that this has gone as long as it has, though I admit I have no idea how these hiring processes go.  

 

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1 hour ago, its the mom said:

And she is implying that it festered in the absence of Martins.  Should we assume that Finlay would not have acted in this manner had Martins still been in charge?   Sorry, I don't buy that.  

The interim team was thrown into this job on top of their previous full-time roles, they are learning on the fly (and perhaps are overwhelmed), and  in this situation, perhaps everything doesn't get the amount of attention/notice it warrants or would receive if they fully focused on their normal roles and  a full-time AD was in charge. Also, I would not necessarily expect that an interim team would have the same decision-making ability/power as a full-time permanent AD.

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9 minutes ago, Kaysta said:

Why is the process to find a replacement taking so long?  I get that it is a major decision, but they must have several applicants in mind whom they want to interview.  Frankly, I’m shocked that this has gone as long as it has, though I admit I have no idea how these hiring processes go.  

 

Yes, I agree. I also wonder if the interim team had any idea that they would be in this role for more than a few months. I would expect that the earliest a new AD would start would be after the 2018/19 season. It may be that given how AD contracts work, they realized that even if they started to look immediately, they wouldn't be able to hire immediately and decided to take their time and be to make the right decision.

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1 minute ago, FPF said:

The interim team was thrown into this job on top of their previous full-time roles, they are learning on the fly (and perhaps are overwhelmed), and  in this situation, perhaps everything doesn't get the amount of attention/notice it warrants or would receive if they fully focused on their normal roles and  a full-time AD was in charge. Also, I would not necessarily expect that an interim team would have the same decision-making ability/power as a full-time permanent AD.

Agreed. All the more reason that the delay in searching for a new artistic director is inexplicable. 

I’m not suggesting that this particular scenario was anticipated. Of course it wasn’t. 

I am suggesting that the process should have gotten underway months ago and should have been completed by now. 

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1 hour ago, Rick said:

Ashley Bouder is implying that the culture of sexual harassment definitely exists at NYCB, as Waterbury claims.

That was my main takeaway, as well. Yikes. 

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15 minutes ago, FPF said:

Yes, I agree. I also wonder if the interim team had any idea that they would be in this role for more than a few months. I would expect that the earliest a new AD would start would be after the 2018/19 season. It may be that given how AD contracts work, they realized that even if they started to look immediately, they wouldn't be able to hire immediately and decided to take their time and be to make the right decision.

Could/should the board have hired a new AD before the investigation into Martins’ conduct was concluded? I think that may have slowed the search. They waited for the outcome and tried (in their small ways) to address that situation in their search. 

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28 minutes ago, FPF said:

The interim team was thrown into this job on top of their previous full-time roles, they are learning on the fly (and perhaps are overwhelmed), and  in this situation, perhaps everything doesn't get the amount of attention/notice it warrants or would receive if they fully focused on their normal roles and  a full-time AD was in charge. Also, I would not necessarily expect that an interim team would have the same decision-making ability/power as a full-time permanent AD.

Yes, she says, "it was allowed to fester in our current leaderless state." That's not necessarily a comparison to when Martins was in charge; it could be a comparison to the tenure of any hypothetical leader who would have had the ability to address the problems.

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3 minutes ago, BalanchineFan said:

Could/should the board have hired a new AD before the investigation into Martins’ conduct was concluded? I think that may have slowed the search. They waited for the outcome and tried (in their small ways) to address that situation in their search. 

According to news articles, that investigation was concluded prior to mid February.

Nothing happened in terms of starting a search for a new AD until mid-late May with a listening tour.

The job listing was finally released in mid August.

 

That is months of delay that cannot be down to waiting for the investigation to end.

 

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11 minutes ago, BalanchineFan said:

Could/should the board have hired a new AD before the investigation into Martins’ conduct was concluded? I think that may have slowed the search. They waited for the outcome and tried (in their small ways) to address that situation in their search. 

Yes, that's what I was thinking--that the interim team may have thought they were just filling in for a few months. Then,  when Martins resigned in January, the board realized that there would not be sufficient time to search, as many candidates would be committed for 2018/19 before they even had an ad posted. And having realized this, they decided to wait. I am also assuming that there may be a hiring season. For example, in academia, most jobs are posted in the fall to begin the following fall. So someone who wanted a job in fall 2019 would be applying now.

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10 hours ago, rkoretzky said:

I was at the Saturday matinee at SPAC when Chase made his debut performance in Apollo. He was promoted on the spot. 

It was a stunner. He captured the arc with great clarity. I will never forget it. 

Unfortunately injuries intervened and I never saw him rise to that level again. 

I have always thought Finlay’s dancing undeserving of principal status so interesting to read this. 

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37 minutes ago, aurora said:

According to news articles, that investigation was concluded prior to mid February.

Nothing happened in terms of starting a search for a new AD until mid-late May with a listening tour.

The job listing was finally released in mid August.

 

That is months of delay that cannot be down to waiting for the investigation to end.

 

The delay is inexplicable. I don’t think seasonality has anything to do with it. If someone were committed for the 2018-2019 season, they could negotiate a start date that would allow them to leave at a time that would respect their obligations to their current organization. But company leaders leave abruptly all the time; the most extreme recent example I can think of is when Keith Cerny gave the Dallas Opera less than a month’s notice that he’d be leaving for Calgary Opera.

In general, I’ve seen arts organizations try to get job listings for major positions up as soon as possible. The delays more often happen once the actual search begins.

The board should be held accountable for this delay. 

I wonder when we will see any dancers promoted. Whoever is appointed AD may not want to promote dancers right away.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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Even if Stafford was a great leader, he lacked the authority of an AD because of his interim status. I think his chances of becoming something more than interim vanished when the complaint was filed. I take Bouder’s post more as a criticism of the Board for letting this go on for so long, an expression of her hope for the future, an affirmation of the “company” itself, and an effort to disassociate herself from this awful stuff, particularly in view of her image as a feminist and outspoken person. It’s pure speculation to guess at reasons why the Board is taking so long. This should light a fire under them. I am not one to fill a position (or for that matter to vote) purely on the basis of gender or race. But in this instance I believe they must appoint a woman, and I will have a hard time renewing my membership if they don’t.

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5 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

The delay is inexplicable. I don’t think seasonality has anything to do with it. If someone were committed for the 2018-2019 season, they could negotiate a start date that would allow them to leave at a time that would respect their obligations to their current organization. But company leaders leave abruptly all the time; the most extreme recent example I can think of is when Keith Cerny gave the Dallas Opera less than a month’s notice that he’d be leaving for Calgary Opera.

In general, I’ve seen arts organizations try to get job listings for major positions up as soon as possible. The delays more often happen once the actual search begins.

The board should be held accountable for this delay. 

I wonder when we will see any dancers promoted. Whoever is appointed AD may not want to promote dancers right away.

 

If i'm remembering correctly, it was months later than February before they decided if they would/wouldn't have separate AD positions for SAB and NYCB.

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In my opinion, where the Board has really not done it's job is in seeming to not have a succession plan.

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I'm not sure what to make of Ashley Bouder's statement.  She seems supportive of her company,  and the vast majority of the dancers who had nothing to do with this debacle.  Then she ends with the "allowed to fester" line.  This indicates (to me anyway)  that the bad behavior of some male dancers was common knowledge to some degree,  and nothing was done about it.  Did she know about it,  and if she did,  why didn't  she speak out earlier?  (I note that she still has a photo up on her Instagram  of her dancing with Chase Finlay.)   The shot of her standing on a beach with her bare behind exposed also sends a mixed message.  Is it female empowerment or self-objectification?  If Finlay had posted this photo of her wouldn't he be condemned for it?

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2 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

The shot of her standing on a beach with her bare behind exposed also sends a mixed message.  Is it female empowerment or self-objectification?  If Finlay had posted this photo of her wouldn't he be condemned for it? 

I don't understand what point you're trying to make with conflating what Finlay did to what Bouder posted. Finlay can posts semi nude photos of himself without issue. If Finlay took and distributed that photograph of Bouder without her knowledge and consent, then yes, he would rightfully be condemned for it.

No one is saying NYCB dancers should not have any sexy or sexual photographs. But if it was done without consent, as with what happened to Waterbury, then it is unacceptable morally and legally.

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6 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

I'm not sure what to make of Ashley Bouder's statement.  She seems supportive of her company,  and the vast majority of the dancers who had nothing to do with this debacle.  Then she ends with the "allowed to fester" line.  This indicates (to me anyway)  that the bad behavior of some male dancers was common knowledge to some degree,  and nothing was done about it.  Did she know about it,  and if she did,  why didn't  she speak out earlier?  (I note that she still has a photo up on her Instagram  of her dancing with Chase Finlay.)   The shot of her standing on a beach with her bare behind exposed also sends a mixed message.  Is it female empowerment or self-objectification?  If Finlay had posted this photo of her wouldn't he be condemned for it?

Can we not blame women for the bad actions of men? 

It is not her responsibility to stop Chase Finlay et al. And quite frankly, if she wants to show her bare ass to the world, or even post nude photos of herself, that is her right. It is not, however, someone else's right to do so.

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8 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

The shot of her standing on a beach with her bare behind exposed also sends a mixed message.  Is it female empowerment or self-objectification?  If Finlay had posted this photo of her wouldn't he be condemned for it?

Yes and that's precisely the point. It's about autonomy. That's what Finlay allegedly robbed his girlfriend of. That's what Bouder is exercising when she posts photos of herself.

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33 minutes ago, Rick said:

It’s from @the_real_elainetyger, one of the last few comments to Bouder’s post on Instagram. I can’t post a link and not sure that I can quote it without violating the forum’s rules. 

No need rick. Thank you, I found it. 

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15 hours ago, MintyLee said:

 

Alex found out about these reprehensible activities after finals were over last semester at Columbia. Classes resumed this past Tuesday.

Being on the roster at Wilhelmina does not necessitate actively working. Many models have representation with agencies, but are not always actively going to castings. Quite a few who fit this description actually dance at City Ballet.

The Pix11 piece features video of Alex taken before these events unfolded, specifically during rehearsal for a Columbia Ballet Collaborative performance in the Streng Studio at Barnard in a past semester. Other videos of Alex's audition pieces are also available for media use and date to November 21, 2015.

Moreover, just because she is back on campus and back in classes does not mean she is not suffering the effects of these men's actions. Physically being in class does not mean you are able to concentrate on what is happening. I can attest to this personally because I have no idea what happened in my classes after I read about what happened to her. Being able to go to class also doesn't mean that you don't leave those classes crying.

The pattern of exploitation of female dancers at City Ballet is not difficult to see, and the question of how aware the company was of this ongoing issue can be answered quite readily be perusing HR complaints, disciplinary records, occasional pieces of reporting in the New York Times, and perhaps even asking why certain ballet masters have been on extended leave from the company. I'm sure former dancers who are no longer concerned with the repercussions on their career also have a few cents to add in this regard.

Humor me for a minute with a purely hypothetical thought exercise. Imagine a talented male dancer in Advanced Men at SAB who breaks curfew and comes back to the dorms with liquor on his breath. Because of his promise, he is disciplined lightly, or perhaps not at all. Imagine this happens several times during his school career and escalates from alcohol use to marijuana and then cocaine without adequate intervention from the school. Perhaps the school even turns a blind eye a few times, and decides on a warning followed by probation or suspension instead of expulsion.

Imagine this same talented male dancer becomes an apprentice in the company and sees his older colleagues--role models he has admired for years, who have gotten the same treatment from the school--abusing drugs, partying all night with underage girls, and then showing up to class the next morning wearing their dusk-to-dawn escapades as a BADGE OF HONOR. "A real dancer works hard and parties even harder," he learns. "This is how I become a principal," he thinks. "I have to show I can keep up with these guys. Out do them even." It is a competitive environment, after all.

Imagine his company sponsors open bar parties where alcohol flows freely and the young girls from SAB sneak in through the stage door without any trouble because the security guards have seen them come in and out during Nutcracker, or Romeo and Juliet, or another piece involving students. No one is checking for tickets anyway. Imagine that the members of the development department present are aware that these girls are underage but do not see it as their duty to say anything, especially because corps members who are equally underage are already present and already drinking. "The rules don't matter here," he learns. "It doesn't matter if I break them because I dance at New York City Ballet." On top of that, imagine the steering committee members and host committee putting on this event share in the culture of drunken excess and add to it a flare of debauchery that excites him.

Imagine this dancer also learn that his boss was charged with domestic violence against his wife but suffered no consequences because she recanted her story. Imagine this dancer even knows of instances where his older colleagues have been caught with drugs, but the company manages to arrange a less-career-devastating outcome. Imagine he also knows of verbal and emotional abuse by the men in his dressing room against their girlfriends, which no one seems to bat an eye at. Imagine his peers showing up to rehearsals drunk without repercussions, or with repercussions that are ineffective. Imagine his boss showing up to rehearsals with vodka cleverly disguised in a Starbucks cup. "I'm untouchable," he thinks. "I'm invincible."

Continue this line of thought over the course of two decades. When this male dancer feels untouchable and invincible enough to violate his girlfriend for the amusement of his friends and colleagues, can we honestly say that his company's normalization and promotion of a "frat-house" culture, where the male dancers are seemingly impervious to discipline or consequences, played no role in his (d)evolution? When a new apprentice arrives from the school and sees this dancer as his role model, is this same culture not at fault when the apprentice develops similar beliefs and habits?

The financially responsible party is New York City Ballet, Inc. Its assets as of last year's annual report were a little over 240 million, with over 180 million in endowment. It may or may not be covered by general liability insurance for damages paid out in a lawsuit, but, regardless, the dancers' salaries are determined by the dancer agreement negotiated between AGMA and the company. They would not lose any earnings in the case City Ballet loses this lawsuit. The company may lose subscribers and donors and prestige over this, and in the long-run, that may affect how budgets look in the future, but the dancers have certain guarantees for hours and wages provided in their dancer agreement each year. Perhaps it might mean less expensive costumes for the fall gala. Perhaps it might mean a fall gala where Alastair does not have to complain about how "the costumes encumber the movement" all together. Oh, perhaps.

The evidentiary rules established in the Fourth Amendment that govern illegal search and seizure only apply to the state, namely, the police. If a non-police person discovers evidence of a crime against them, it does not matter how that evidence is discovered, it can be used.

Minty Lee -

I'm a casual fan who used to go to the NYCB a lot before Mr. B died - I just want to thank you for putting in words my feelings. You said everything that was in my heart. In fact, I became somewhat turned off to ballet because of the syndrome you so skillfully and honestly portrayed.  Ballet is full of bad boys who are tacitly patted on the back - and since we're being so honest, it's because they are male, and straight. Ballet has a reputation for being girlie and gay, so when straight boys act up, it's all kind of a joke, isn't it?

That said - 

This picture, while 100% accurate, may not be what the legal system will be able to process.  The legal system is very cut and dried and only punishes what is illegal, not what is immoral. 

That said -

If these men were engaging in this activity on company time, then I do think NYCB is responsible. But I'm not a lawyer. Let the law weigh in on that. 

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14 hours ago, cinnamonswirl said:

Yes, I was attempting to explain to  (and quoted) a previous poster who was asking about hostile work environment and why Waterbury presumably didn't make that claim.

Even negligence requires a legal duty owed by the tortfeasor to the injured party. The elements of negligence are: duty, breach, causation and damages. In your hypothetical, it is established law (both from case law and by statute, in most jurisdictions) that homeowners owe a duty to the public to not allow tree limbs to fall on passers by. Here, I don't see what duty NYCB owed Waterbury based on the facts presented; I am happy to be corrected if I am wrong and there was a duty (and it would be helpful to me if you can provide a cite).

Also, Waterbury is also alleging other torts that are not negligence torts (assault, IIED) and require specific intent by the tortfeasor.

@cinnamonswirl - Would it be relevant if the texts exchanged between Finlay, Ramasar and Catazaro (and the other unnamed guys) during breaks at the Koch theater? 

I can see that NYCB would be off the hook legally if all of this happened off company time. It looks bad, but they are adults and NYCB is merely their employer. But what if it could be reasonably proven that these guys got away a lot because of who they were and the management took a hands off approach towards them? Then what would the reasonable person conclude?

I was struck by the part of the complaint that Jon Stafford knew of Finlay's showing up drunk to class. (Parenthetically I think this will sink his chances to AD. JMO.)

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12 hours ago, FPF said:

From Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=5507480

"New York City Ballet, Inc. operates as a dance company in New York. It operates a choreographic institute that promotes the development of choreographers and dancers involved in classical choreography by providing opportunities to develop their talents. The company also operates a ballet school. In addition, it retails apparel, souvenirs, media products, and vintage products online. New York City Ballet, Inc. was founded in 1948 and is based in New York, New York."

Thus, it seems that a student at SAB is, in fact, a student at New York City Ballet, Inc.

School of American Ballet, Inc. and New York City Ballet, Inc. are in fact separate legal entities. They file separate IRS 990s, have different EINs (Federal tax ID numbers), file separate CHAR 500s with the New York State Charities Bureau, have different New York State registration numbers, and prepare separate financial statements. They each have their own Boards of Directors, corporate officers, and administrative and professional staffs. They have separate endowments and do not have any material assets in common. They are each separate constituents of Lincoln Center. They do share an Administrative Director, but that AD is employed and compensated separately by each organization; they could have separate ADs if they wished, and someday might.

The two organizations are obviously closely affiliated, but an SAB student is NOT "a student at New York City Ballet, Inc."  Ms. Waterbury's lawyer needs to sharpen his pencil.

For EINs, search here: https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/

For NYS Charities Bureau filings, search here: https://www.charitiesnys.com/RegistrySearch/search_charities.jsp

For SAB financial statements, go here: https://www.sab.org/school/financials/

For NYCB financial statements, go here: https://www.nycballet.com/About/Annual-Reports.aspx

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7 minutes ago, aurora said:

Can we not blame women for the bad actions of men? 

It is not her responsibility to stop Chase Finlay et al. And quite frankly, if she wants to show her bare ass to the world, or even post nude photos of herself, that is her right. It is not, however, someone else's right to do so.

I am NOT blaming women for the actions of men!  Ashley Bouder is considered a leader.  She had no responsibility to stop the actions of the company men.  But she indicates (maybe I'm misreading it)  that their bad behavior was known in the company long before it became public.  As a principal dancer, she had the standing and power to speak out without fear of repercussion.  It means little to take a high-minded stand now and to seemingly blame the team which is holding down the fort now.

My question was not clear evidently.  If Chase Findlay had re-posted Ms. Bouder's semi-nude photo,  with her knowledge and consent,  would that be considered objectionable?  

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2 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

I am NOT blaming women for the actions of men!  Ashley Bouder is considered a leader.  She had no responsibility to stop the actions of the company men.  But she indicates (maybe I'm misreading it)  that their bad behavior was known in the company long before it became public.  As a principal dancer, she had the standing and power to speak out without fear of repercussion.  It means little to take a high-minded stand now and to seemingly blame the team which is holding down the fort now.

My question was not clear evidently.  If Chase Findlay had re-posted Ms. Bouder's semi-nude photo,  with her knowledge and consent,  would that be considered objectionable?  

with her knowledge and consent? Then of course not.

Also I think you underestimate the power of a principal dancer. See Wendy Whelan's upset at not being cast in things at the end of her career. The AD controls casting. You might not lose your job immediately (though you can--certainly some principal dancers have been let go or encouraged to leave before they wanted to), but you could certainly lose your career as such.

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4 hours ago, lmspear said:

There is one issue that has not been addressed which could leave potentially vulnerable in the case or at the very least open up an IT headache that they probably never thought the need to deal with.

Even if personal devices were used by the men in Waterbury's case, there is the possibility that company email addresses, WI-FI, and servers were used.  The company then becomes, probably unknowingly, the provider of the distribution method of harmful messages and photos.  I believe it has been established in cases involving businesses and government that there is no expectation of privacy if your material is routed through your employer's computer servers.  The company code of conduct should contain a section on cyber-behavior (but even if the document is up to date, who reads the fine print?).  I think we can agree that sending naked pictures of your girlfriend through the company internet servers is worse behavior than taking home a pad of little yellow sticky notes. The company resources have been misused in a way that harms employees and their personal associates and damages the company image as a desirable place to work for future employees, or an institution worthy of financial support from ticket sales and donations.

The men named in the case have harmed both the company and the women in a manner that deserves more than a slap on the wrist.  Whether the situation is resolved through civil and/or criminal litigation is up to the lawyers and the district attorney's office.

YES.

This is what I've been thinking - see my previous comments.  If this was done on company time, NYCB can't say, "I know nothing."

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