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


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8 hours ago, Helene said:

 

The only official news is that the Company investigated whatever information was brought to them by Waterbury's lawyer, and, as a result, they confronted Findlay, who resigned, and they suspended two other dancers.  There is no official news about any other scope or disciplinary actions.  

I have read in multiple sources that actually there was no confrontation.  Finlay resigned before there was any interview.  Legally one can not consider his resignation an admission of guilt.  

Regarding AGMA:  like other performing arts unions,  AGMA negotiates a collective bargaining agreement with NYCB on behalf of its members in order to set minimum salaries and working conditions.  Individual dancers are free to negotiate for higher compensation and more favorable work requirements,  although realistically only highly-valued principals are likely to be successful.

(Some)  men behave badly toward women in all strata of society.  It's not unique to the culture of NYCB.  The latest shocking allegations against Les Moonves of CBS far outstrip anything City Ballet personnel have ever been accused of.  It's unrealistic to expect any workplace to be responsible for the actions of employees that they undertake on their own  time,  in the privacy of their own homes.  But implicit in every collective bargaining agreement is the expectation that all parties will obey the law.

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10 hours ago, balanchinefreak said:

NYCB has officially admitted that Finlay and others did do these things.  The legal system will decide what they are guilty of and how they should be punished. But Waterbury told the truth about what happened. 

 

Scharf misspoke.  Neither he nor NYCB can unilaterally declare that anything in the Waterbury complaint actually happened as claimed.  "Craig Hall" is referenced in the complaint as a ballet student.  One of the company dancers recently married "Craig Hall",  and of course "Craig Hall" is a beloved ex-soloist and current member of the interim leadership team.  Some of those presumed guilty are not even named in the complaint.  It will take a lengthy adjudication  to determine exactly who did what to whom.

Edited by On Pointe
Accuracy
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2 hours ago, MintyLee said:

as I said, few know about the existence of the general manager, and fewer still understand the role he plays. I am of the few who knows of his existence, but not of the fewer still who understand the role he plays.

Most active members in this forum devour any news about NYCB that is printed in the NYT and discuss those articles here: I doubt anyone thinks that Peter Martins negotiated the AGMA contract, or that the pay scales and work and touring conditions aren't spelled out.  In fact, there have been threads in which other, public-facing AGMA contracts have been discussed, and there isn't that much variation in scope among them or including the old NYCB contract.  Nor have I seen any confusion about whether or not the Company is constrained by the terms of the contract.

What reads unclear from the posts in this thread and elsewhere on this site is confusion about the amount of latitude the Ballet Master In Chief (AD position) had or that the interim team has in terms of discipline and firing, that the artistic team may be further constrained by company processes/procedures in place to enforce the terms of the contract, and the role of the business administration in creating and enforcing/overseeing those processes.

There is a myth that Balanchine was the benevolent dictator who decided unilaterally what constraints he would accept -- ex: when he said he made ballets with the material he had, or because a dancer needed it, or a program needed a particular type of ballet, or the change of theater needed it -- but many times, given contractual constraints, he either accepted (ex: to avoid overtime) or worked them, as John Clifford described in his blog

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 The company went through several orchestra strikes and even a dancer strike (instigated by Balanchine himself)...When the NYC Ballet orchestra threatened to go on strike for the Nutcracker season (the most lucrative for the company) Balanchine asked all the dancers to strike three weeks before the season and stall renegotiating our contracts.  What this did was to, in effect, put the orchestra out of work three weeks earlier than they planned.  He could be sneaky that way!  So the orchestra did NOT strike as planned, they settled quickly on a new contract, and everyone only lost one week of work.  Seemed like a good solution to me.

Of course Balanchine had Kirstein and a hand-picked (by Kirstein) board to support him, but he was under similar contractual constraints, at least from the '70's, as discussed by Joseph Mazo (in "Dance as a Contact Sport" through at least the last publicly accessible NYCB contract.

 

 

1 hour ago, On Pointe said:

I have read in multiple sources that actually there was no confrontation.  Finlay resigned before there was any interview.  Legally one can not consider his resignation an admission of guilt. 

You are correct: the company did not confront him directly.  It is possible that he resigned coincidentally for unrelated reasons without knowing what the company was trying to contact him about, and not because he knew what was coming.  That does not contradict the fact that, after an investigation, the Company found him in violation of company norms and that he would have faced disciplinary action had he not resigned; this requires neither a statement from Findlay nor admission, just as there has been no statement from either of the suspended dancers. 

The investigation should be fair game for discovery, 

 

1 hour ago, balanchinefreak said:

NYCB has officially admitted that Finlay and others did do these things. 

The Company stated that as a result of their investigation of the information about communications that was provided to them in June, they found all three dancers in violation of company norms.  No other behavior described in the complaint was included in the official statement, nor specifically which communications were disclosed in June vs. what was disclosed at the time of the suspensions and the beginning of press coverage (August) or the filing of the complaint (September). 

 

58 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Scharf misspoke.  Neither he nor NYCB can unilaterally declare that anything in the Waterbury complaint actually happened as claimed.

Scharf did not speak to Waterbury's complaint.  He spoke to the results of an internal investigation which found that three dancers violated company norms and would be disciplined, based on communications submitted to the Company in June.  This is independent of the court, unless the dancers involved and/or AGMA appeal the disciplinary action and it ends up in the courts.

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It's unrealistic to expect any workplace to be responsible for the actions of employees that they undertake on their own  time,  in the privacy of their own homes.  But implicit in every collective bargaining agreement is the expectation that all parties will obey the law.

  •  

I think this was the allegation that implied the company was taking some expanded behind the scenes responsiblity: From section 7 of the complaint, repeated in section 36 as to the $150,000 fine in the Washington DC incident:

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the male dancers at New York City Ballet, Inc understood that they were “above the law” and could do whatever they wanted to women, whenever they wanted to do so – “just make sure it occurs in New York City,” where it could be controlled by New York City Ballet, Inc’s executives and management.

But we don't know the sources of those direct quotes, at what level of the company they came from or if they came from the company.

*

Yes, Clifford's account of how the City Ballet was run in the old days also gives you some idea of what happened after Balanchine died.  The structure remained but the actors and their interests changed. It became Martins' company and, after Kirstein was gone, I'm assuming it was his board of directors. (Though in a way it may have been Martins' fantasy of the Balanchine model.)

What's interesting – and this might happen elsewhere – is that while ballet company itself is looked on from the outside as "girlie and sissy," as one poster says above, there is also a demonstrative straight boy domaine within the company which the press and PR dept always go for. In the early 90s the Times made a big thing about a NYCB/ABT dancer and his leather jacket and motocycles, and in the recent NYCB docu cited above, Finlay and Ramasar talk enthusiastically about their access to attractive women in leotards. (In a Meet the Artist interview, a San Francisco ballet dancer said pretty much the same as his reason for becoming a dancer.)

But within the heterosexual domaine is another domaine – of misogyny (classical ballet's ideals turned upside down) and, ironically, homoeroticism (their heterosexuality upside down) in the exchanges, strictly between men, of the "baseball card" nude pictures. (Which are also stolen goods.) There are probably some class differences operating somewhere. 

In Clifford's low tech old days, the exchanges were probably in "stories" of conquests, but relatively limited in circulation.

I'll end my brief attempt at being a sociologist but perhaps others will have actual experiences within companies and can desccribe how various cliques form and when they're distracting and feel threatening. And how the management might monitor them. 

Here's the Clifford link again on the old days.

http://johnclifford26.blogspot.com

 

Edited by Quiggin
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21 minutes ago, Quiggin said:

I think this was the allegation that implied the company was taking some expanded behind the scenes responsiblity: From section 7 of the complaint, repeated in section 36 with regards to the $150,000 fine regarding the Washington DC incident:

That's one interpretation though; another is that while the Company learned of the behavior and was aware of a fine, they neither paid nor facilitated payment, but should have been aware that he behaved badly, but did nothing to monitor or stop future bad behavior.  

We don't know.  If the Company was involved with the fine, then that should be able to be established during discovery, because there would be records.

21 minutes ago, Quiggin said:

There are probably some class differences operating somewhere. 

Based on articles written about both men, there were class differences between Findlay and Ramasar.  The communications behavior spanned classes.

 

 

 

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I enjoyed reading John Clifford's stories of the Balanchine days.  I was a a ballet student in New York during that time and shared living quarters with SAB students and company apprentices.  (No dorm in those days.)  They always had plenty of juicy gossip.  One thing is clear -  even in the "glory days" of NYCB,  when Balanchine  and Kirstein  ran the shop,  there was plenty of scandal and questionable activity going on.  As for the Finlay-Waterbury debacle,  this too will pass,  and the company will endure.

It would be a good idea for the company to bar underage dancers from attending company events where alcohol is served,  and to institute a strict non-fraternIzation  policy between company members who are legal adults and underage members and students at SAB.  That wouldn't have changed anything for Ms. Waterbury but it would still be good policy.

Certain elements in the complaint serve to undermine Ms. Waterbury's case.  A couple of times it is claimed that Finlay wanted to engage in illicit sexual activities and/or to violate AW's  privacy and then tell her about it afterward,  but other male dancers found it morally reprehensible and talked him out of it.  This indicates that Finlay was acting as an individual,  and that not all male company members were persuaded by some explicit company policy that for them,  anything goes.  Indeed it appears that no such policy was in place,  but Ms. Waterbury's attorney made NYCB a party to this law suit based on its  supposed existence.

Timing also works against the complaint.  Ramasar and Catazaro were suspended,  and Finlay resigned well before the suit was filed.  The company was active,  not reactive.  If it was NYCB policy that anything goes,  "as long as it happens in New York",  the dancers would not have been disciplined.  It's hard to see how NYCB as a corporate entity owes Ms. Waterbury damages,  but she definitely has a case against Finlay.

While this story is being widely-reported,  based on comments or lack of them,  it isn't  gaining much traction with the general public. Sad to say,  these days even middle-schoolers have been discovered sending nude photos back and forth.  Ballet fans may be the only people shocked by this.

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4 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Timing also works against the complaint.  Ramasar and Catazaro were suspended,  and Finlay resigned well before the suit was filed.  The company was active,  not reactive.  If it was NYCB policy that anything goes,  "as long as it happens in New York",  the dancers would not have been disciplined.  It's hard to see how NYCB as a corporate entity owes Ms. Waterbury damages,  but she definitely has a case against Finlay.

While this story is being widely-reported,  based on comments or lack of them,  it isn't  gaining much traction with the general public. Sad to say,  these days even middle-schoolers have been discovered sending nude photos back and forth.  Ballet fans may be the only people shocked by this.

No it really doesn't (although that is what NYCB's statement is meant to imply). They reacted to the claims she brought when she/her lawyer approached them prior to filing the suit. That was what instigated their investigation and the suspensions.

This does not make them anything but reactive. They were trying to get ahead of any scandal before the law suit was filed. And the fact that calling the punishments a slap on the wrist would be generous, doesn't speak to any seriousness in penalizing the dancers either.

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2 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Timing also works against the complaint.  Ramasar and Catazaro were suspended,  and Finlay resigned well before the suit was filed. 

The Company announced suspensions based on an internal investigation on August 28.  The suit was filed on September 5, or eight days later.  It certainly made sense for Waterbury's attorney to wait until the results of the investigation.  They can now argue that the punishment didn't fit the crime, and argue that this shows how unseriously the Company takes the issues.

 

2 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

The company was active,  not reactive.

It reacted when presented with the communications.  The level of discipline is easy to question, given the severity of the complaint, especially given that distribution is a criminal offense.

 

2 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Sad to say,  these days even middle-schoolers have been discovered sending nude photos back and forth.  Ballet fans may be the only people shocked by this.

I don't know who is shocked by the fact of nude photos being sent, but certainly shock that a woman was filmed and images distributed without her knowledge or permission.  Against which, there are laws.

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44 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

 

While this story is being widely-reported,  based on comments or lack of them,  it isn't  gaining much traction with the general public. Sad to say,  these days even middle-schoolers have been discovered sending nude photos back and forth.  Ballet fans may be the only people shocked by this.

Or it may sadly speak to ballet's overall marginal presence in America's cultural landscape. 

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48 minutes ago, aurora said:

No it really doesn't (although that is what NYCB's statement is meant to imply). They reacted to the claims she brought when she/her lawyer approached them prior to filing the suit. That was what instigated their investigation and the suspensions.

This does not make them anything but reactive. They were trying to get ahead of any scandal before the law suit was filed. And the fact that calling the punishments a slap on the wrist would be generous, doesn't speak to any seriousness in penalizing the dancers either.

The company reacted when they found out about the allegations.  They didn't just brush them off.  (Unless one believes that management knew or should have known that Finlay was going to covertly record AW  and distribute the photos,  which seems a bit of a legal strecth.)   

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2 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

The company reacted when they found out about the allegations.  They didn't just brush them off.  (Unless one believes that management knew or should have known that Finlay was going to covertly record AW  and distribute the photos,  which seems a bit of a legal strecth.)   

Yes reacted. With a punishment intended to (hopefully) ensure no one knew what the men were accused of, and which is absurdly mild.

I suppose they could have blown off the allegations but that would have just make things look that much worse for them when it inevitably came out. I'm not giving them any medals for a weak attempt to cover their asses.

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22 hours ago, miliosr said:

Clifford has made a new entry to his blog titled 'The Eye of the Storm' where he ruminates some more on this topic:

http://johnclifford26.blogspot.com/

 

Oh boy. 😬 Where to begin. If I may be blunt, he's treating this story like it's a writing prompt for his application to the AD job. Quotes from the post:

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So, what did Balanchine do in each and every case?  He rose above it.  He simply was the calm in the center of every storm.  While everyone else was running around screaming "the sky is falling," Mr. B just put out the fires in the classiest possible way. 

Here he just takes for granted that the ability to calmly rise above crises and "put out the fires in the classiest possible way" is evidence of good leadership.

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When various ballerinas were complaining about his attention to Farrell he simply choreographed a new ballet for them to keep them happy.  When the NYC Ballet orchestra threatened to go on strike for the Nutcracker season (the most lucrative for the company) Balanchine asked all the dancers to strike three weeks before the season and stall renegotiating our contracts.  What this did was to, in effect, put the orchestra out of work three weeks earlier than they planned.

Same with this. The first sentence, as a standalone comment, would normally be understood as criticism rather than praise.

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When dancers had drug issues Balanchine handled it quickly before anything could get out of hand.  For instance, in the late 1960's when Pot was everywhere, some of the dancers became too loose about smoking it in public

Drug issues aren't the same thing as bad publicity when dancers are seen smoking pot. Public pot smoking is not a drug issues, and treating it as such is pretty insulting to dancers who have dealt with addiction.

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As for any sexual misconduct, that was impossible.  Balanchine revered women, so all the boys knew it would have been professional suicide to mistreat a woman, in or out of the theater.

This is a bizarrely perfunctory and flippant comment, given that he mentions earlier in the post that he's responding specifically to the Finlay case.

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As for mental health Balanchine was on top of that too.  If he saw a girl becoming anorexic he would get her help.

No introspection about what a modern AD might do in light of what we now know about eating disorder prevention. It's pretty horrifying that senior members of the dance community could be so beset by nostalgia that this sort of behavior doesn't strike them as problematic. And while most people dodge the issue by saying something like, "He was a product of his times," Clifford seems to think Balanchine's actions are worthy of emulation.

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This wouldn't have happened if Balanchine had been alive because he truly thought of all the dancers as his children...even the unruly ones. 

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Dancers NEED a father (or mother) figure as their leader.

NO.  No they absolutely do not need father figures. Ballet companies are not families. Dancers are not children; dancers are employees. Dancers need collective bargaining power, dispute resolution mechanisms, limits on working hours and performances, health benefits, and protections against workplace discrimination. They need to be able to hold their leaders accountable without penalty. They need leaders who recognize that sexual harassment and abuse are not just institutional but structural problems.

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I'm curious as to what posters here would consider appropriate punishment?  Bear in mind that while Finlay is alleged to have committed a crime,  Waterbury has not sought criminal charges and he hasn't been convicted of anything.  His career at NYCB is over.  What more should or could the company do to him?  (Ramasar and Catazaro could still lose their jobs.  It's unclear from the complaint what Catazaro is accused of.)

It's management's responsibility to try to conserve assets.  We don't  know what kind of financial settlement Merson proposed,  but it was probably big because that's what he does.  If NYCB had paid up,  very few people would have known what happened.  

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Thanks for the question On Pointe. NYCB conducted an investigation, presumably directly related to the lawsuit but we really don’t know what they were investigated for. Given my personal lack of knowledge, I’m willing to assume that NYCB, presumably overseen by Amar and Zach’s union reps, did a good enough job in meting out punishment. As an audience member, I don’t feel I need anything more.  As for Finlay, that is now beyond NYCB. If the allegations are true, he should face the music. If not, good luck to him in rehabilitating his career and realizing his talents. 

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5 minutes ago, cobweb said:

Thanks for the question On Pointe. NYCB conducted an investigation, presumably directly related to the lawsuit but we really don’t know what they were investigated for. Given my personal lack of knowledge, I’m willing to assume that NYCB, presumably overseen by Amar and Zach’s union reps, did a good enough job in meting out punishment. As an audience member, I don’t feel I need anything more.  As for Finlay, that is now beyond NYCB. If the allegations are true, he should face the music. If not, good luck to him in rehabilitating his career and realizing his talents. 

I have intentionally stayed away from this thread for days. There is much to discuss in terms of ideas, opinions, thoughts etc but I was making myself crazy by following it with no new facts at my disposal. I haven't read through where I left off. However, I'm already rethinking something I said previously. I mentioned that I am usually a person that separates the artist from the art, but didn't think I could watch Ramasar partner women. I'm rethinking that position. Cobweb's statement helped me with that.

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What would be an appropriate punishment?  They should have been fired and the reason should have been listed as sexual misconduct.  The company needs to do an investigation of all involved and clean house.  Firing everyone who was involved and either firing or suspending everyone who knew that email chain existed and didn't report it to management.  Even if this means they need to bring in some dancers from other companies to fill out their ranks because of the damage that has been done. 

This is not just about what happened to Alexandra (although that is all that is addressed in the lawsuit) when it comes to their employment.  It is what these men did to multiple women in the company.  That they responded to photos being taken and shared of female dancers by dancers in a leadership position changing with a suspension?  Allowing them to come back to work six months later and placing them in a leadership role over those that they abused in the first place?

It's not clear if NYCB is financially liable for what happened to Alexandra. However, if one of the other women that she spoke of was to join the suit that liability would be clear.  I don't know if any of them would be willing to risk their career with NYCB in order to do that.

ABT was willing to do the right thing when it came to one of their principals and it's assumed that situation was much less serious than this one.  At the least, he was not accused of harassing his co-workers.

Edited by meatball77
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5 minutes ago, meatball77 said:

ABT was willing to do the right thing when it came to one of their principals and it's assumed that situation was much less serious than this one.  At the least, he was not accused of harassing his co-workers.

I assume you are referring to Gomes. If not please correct me. Gomes resigned before we knew what he was accused of. ABT took no action to remove him, as far as we know. We can't assume anything about the seriousness of his actions.

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1 hour ago, sappho said:

Oh boy. 😬 Where to begin. If I may be blunt, he's treating this story like it's a writing prompt for his application to the AD job. Quotes from the post:

Here he just takes for granted that the ability to calmly rise above crises and "put out the fires in the classiest possible way" is evidence of good leadership.

Same with this. The first sentence, as a standalone comment, would normally be understood as criticism rather than praise.

Drug issues aren't the same thing as bad publicity when dancers are seen smoking pot. Public pot smoking is not a drug issues, and treating it as such is pretty insulting to dancers who have dealt with addiction.

This is a bizarrely perfunctory and flippant comment, given that he mentions earlier in the post that he's responding specifically to the Finlay case.

No introspection about what a modern AD might do in light of what we now know about eating disorder prevention. It's pretty horrifying that senior members of the dance community could be so beset by nostalgia that this sort of behavior doesn't strike them as problematic. And while most people dodge the issue by saying something like, "He was a product of his times," Clifford seems to think Balanchine's actions are worthy of emulation.

NO.  No they absolutely do not need father figures. Ballet companies are not families. Dancers are not children; dancers are employees. Dancers need collective bargaining power, dispute resolution mechanisms, limits on working hours and performances, health benefits, and protections against workplace discrimination. They need to be able to hold their leaders accountable without penalty. They need leaders who recognize that sexual harassment and abuse are not just institutional but structural problems.

Well said. I finally stopped following Mr. Clifford on social media.

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1 hour ago, sappho said:

...
And while most people dodge the issue by saying something like, "He was a product of his times," Clifford seems to think Balanchine's actions are worthy of emulation.

 

This was my reaction to almost the entirety of Clifford's statement -- and...uh...I admit also that I actually do think it matters that Balanchine belonged to a different era and am willing to have that be part of my view of him as a leader without thinking it makes him a god. (Even if I think his choreography is divine.)

Clifford's words do show very well how many dancers viewed Balanchine...the role he filled for many of them and faith he inspired. At least according to other memoirs and interviews I have read. And keeping calm in a crisis is undoubtedly a great quality for a leader to have and I most certainly believe Balanchine had it. But for me the rest of Clifford's account of how Balanchine operated, taken as a description of what an artistic director should be in the United States in 2018 --and in some cases even as account of what Balanchine himself was like as a director--was kind of "what the ....????"

Regarding Finlay losing his career at NYCB and possibly losing his career entirely: we don't know what the results of the internal investigation would have been and, therefore, don't know what penalty he would have received from the company had he not resigned.

The allegations about unnamed company figures are just that -- allegations: I personally want to believe the company will take them--or has taken them--seriously enough to look into them. Unfortunately, right now, I can't say that I do. 

Edited by Drew
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30 minutes ago, vipa said:

I assume you are referring to Gomes. If not please correct me. Gomes resigned before we knew what he was accused of. ABT took no action to remove him, as far as we know. We can't assume anything about the seriousness of his actions.

Gomes resigned as a result of allegations of sexual misconduct eight years prior and

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Mr. Barth said the alleged episode did not involve any current or former members of A.B.T. and was not related to Mr. Gomes’s “employment duties” with the company.

We don't know the details or severity of the allegations, but we do know the category.

If the communications described in the mainstream media and the complaint were among those disclosed to NYCB in June, then Ramasar and Catarazo's exchanges involved current members of NYCB, ie, their co-workers.

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22 minutes ago, meatball77 said:

What would be an appropriate punishment?  They should have been fired and the reason should have been listed as sexual misconduct.  The company needs to do an investigation of all involved and clean house.  Firing everyone who was involved and either firing or suspending everyone who knew that email chain existed and didn't report it to management.  Even if this means they need to bring in some dancers from other companies to fill out their ranks because of the damage that has been done. 

This is not just about what happened to Alexandra (although that is all that is addressed in the lawsuit) when it comes to their employment.  It is what these men did to multiple women in the company.  That they responded to photos being taken and shared of female dancers by dancers in a leadership position changing with a suspension?  Allowing them to come back to work six months later and placing them in a leadership role over those that they abused in the first place?

It's not clear if NYCB is financially liable for what happened to Alexandra. However, if one of the other women that she spoke of was to join the suit that liability would be clear.  I don't know if any of them would be willing to risk their career with NYCB in order to do that.

ABT was willing to do the right thing when it came to one of their principals and it's assumed that situation was much less serious than this one.  At the least, he was not accused of harassing his co-workers.

A bit draconian perhaps - we have to burn down the village to save it?   It seems that there were some dancers who were aware of the photos but did not request to see them and did not approve of Finlay's actions.  Dancers are not mandated reporters.   Why should they lose their jobs?  Even when employees are fired for cause,  prudent managers do not advertise why they were fired. To do so could leave them vulnerable to being sued themselves.

 

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12 hours ago, sappho said:

Oh boy. 😬 Where to begin. If I may be blunt, he's treating this story like it's a writing prompt for his application to the AD job. Quotes from the post:

Here he just takes for granted that the ability to calmly rise above crises and "put out the fires in the classiest possible way" is evidence of good leadership.

Same with this. The first sentence, as a standalone comment, would normally be understood as criticism rather than praise.

Drug issues aren't the same thing as bad publicity when dancers are seen smoking pot. Public pot smoking is not a drug issues, and treating it as such is pretty insulting to dancers who have dealt with addiction.

This is a bizarrely perfunctory and flippant comment, given that he mentions earlier in the post that he's responding specifically to the Finlay case.

No introspection about what a modern AD might do in light of what we now know about eating disorder prevention. It's pretty horrifying that senior members of the dance community could be so beset by nostalgia that this sort of behavior doesn't strike them as problematic. And while most people dodge the issue by saying something like, "He was a product of his times," Clifford seems to think Balanchine's actions are worthy of emulation.

NO.  No they absolutely do not need father figures. Ballet companies are not families. Dancers are not children; dancers are employees. Dancers need collective bargaining power, dispute resolution mechanisms, limits on working hours and performances, health benefits, and protections against workplace discrimination. They need to be able to hold their leaders accountable without penalty. They need leaders who recognize that sexual harassment and abuse are not just institutional but structural problems.

I think Gelsey Kirkland’s book  should be reread to counter Mr. Clifford’s memory. All was not sweetness and light in “the good old days.”   And I have had experience with “clique warfare” especially in theatre. It’s awful—there’s always a scapegoat if the director is weak and scared.

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1 hour ago, macnellie said:

I think Gelsey Kirkland’s book  should be reread to counter Mr. Clifford’s memory. All was not sweetness and light in “the good old days.”   And I have had experience with “clique warfare” especially in theatre. It’s awful—there’s always a scapegoat if the director is weak and scared.

I can't stand Clifford's comments on all of Kirkland's YouTube videos.  "That's not how it happened- I was there!!".  Really?  You were in all of her conversations with Balanchine?  All of their interactions?  Give me a break.

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15 hours ago, sappho said:

NO.  No they absolutely do not need father figures. Ballet companies are not families. Dancers are not children; dancers are employees. Dancers need collective bargaining power, dispute resolution mechanisms, limits on working hours and performances, health benefits, and protections against workplace discrimination. They need to be able to hold their leaders accountable without penalty. They need leaders who recognize that sexual harassment and abuse are not just institutional but structural problems.

Thank you for posting this, Sappho.

I would only add that dance companies — like nearly every collective enterprise, be it artistic, commercial, or charitable — is also a community. As such, it will have norms in addition to rules. Good communities have the kind of norms that foster things like fairness, reciprocity, tolerance, mutual regard, empathy, openness, and emergent leadership. What good communities don't require is a daddy. 

ETA: I added "tolerance" to the list, although one would hope it would be obvious.

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell
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