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

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12 hours ago, sappho said:

Oh boy. ūüė¨ 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‚Äôs book¬†¬†should be reread to counter Mr. Clifford‚Äôs memory. All¬†was not sweetness and light in ‚Äúthe good old days.‚ÄĚ ¬† And I have had experience with ‚Äúclique warfare‚ÄĚ especially in theatre. It‚Äôs awful‚ÄĒthere‚Äôs always a scapegoat if the director is weak and scared.

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1 hour ago, macnellie said:

I think Gelsey Kirkland‚Äôs book¬†¬†should be reread to counter Mr. Clifford‚Äôs memory. All¬†was not sweetness and light in ‚Äúthe good old days.‚ÄĚ ¬† And I have had experience with ‚Äúclique warfare‚ÄĚ especially in theatre. It‚Äôs awful‚ÄĒthere‚Äôs 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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16 hours ago, bcash said:

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

I agree.

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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 ‚ÄĒ like nearly every collective enterprise, be it artistic, commercial, or charitable ‚ÄĒ 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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We know for a fact that Finlay, Ramasar and Catazaro did something serious related to inappropriate email communications. ¬†NYCB has acknowledged this. ¬†We now also know specifics of allegations involving Finlay and Ramasar that fall exactly into that category, which, if true, constitute criminal behavior. ¬†(Specifics on Catazoro have not been made public, so I leave him out of this).¬†It‚Äôs theoretically¬†possible that the allegation and the evidence that NYCB used to make their decision are not the same, but personally, I find that really hard to believe. ¬†After all, the thing about email and texts is that they are not just a question of ‚Äúhe said, she said‚ÄĚ, there‚Äôs evidence.¬† ¬†So in the case of Finlay and Ramasar, I for one, think we know what they did. ¬†And what they¬†did was utterly degrading and dehumanizing to women. ¬†Their character is not going to magically change just because they were caught.

I’m sick of this - I’m sick of seeing men do disgusting and hurtful things to women (and sometimes other men) and get away with it because people don’t care enough.  NYCB has already shown for decades they didn’t care enough about a man physically assaulting his wife.  I thought maybe things had now changed, but if NYCB lets Ramasar back, it shows to me they still don’t care.  And if audiences show up to see Ramasar or Finlay dance, it shows to me they don’t care enough either.  And I am tired of people caring more about a dance performance or more about giving men a second chance than they do about standing up for the victims and keeping present and future generations of women (and men too) safe.

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14 hours ago, On Pointe said:

I'm curious as to what posters here would consider appropriate punishment?  

As far as I'm concerned, sharing explicit photos of anyone ‚ÄĒ company member or no, woman or man ‚ÄĒ¬†without their express and freely-given¬†consent is a firing offense.¬†

I'm not suggesting for a moment that the company should actively police its employees' private communications for infractions. Should it be presented with incontrovertible evidence that infractions have occurred, however, then yes, immediate dismissal is appropriate. 

And speaking as a member of the audience: if that means that the company has to reach down into the pe-professional program at the Dolly Dinkle Academy of Dance to cast the next three seasons, that's fine with me. As Charles De Gaulle pointed out, the graveyards are full of of indispensable men.

If the company decides that it can and should re-admit an offender back into its ranks, it shouldn't do so unless there's been an open, explicit apology. A good apology is more than the usual, tepid "I'm sorry if anyone was offended." Skidmore sociology professor David Karp has laid out five criteria for evaluating celebrity apologies.

  • An apology should include an explanation of the harm done to the person or people receiving the apology.
  • It should include an admission of the perpetrator‚Äôs role in causing that harm, an ‚Äúacknowledgment of personal responsibility and avoidance of denials or minimizing.‚ÄĚ
  • Perpetrators should express remorse.
  • They should explain which behaviors they are committed to stopping now that they understand the harm they‚Äôve caused.
  • Finally, they should explain what they will do to make amends.

These are taken from a Dec 5, 2017 Vox article by Anna North entitled "How to apologize for sexual harassment." Vox's Today Explained podcast for Aug 30, 2018 also featured a good discussion of this issue with an actual example of a well-done apology. You can listen here. I also highly recommend a Sep 10, 2018 Vox article by David Roberts entitled "What so many men are missing about #MeToo." Roberts points out that "The fate of abusers ought to be the least of our worries," but that alas, it isn't. 

Finally, "freely-given consent" is more than just saying "Yes." I means without coercion, which can include explicit or implicit threats of harm, be it physical, emotional, or social. 

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I would add that the true mark of a sincere apology where the person should be forgiven is if the person who is being apologized to forgives them. 

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37 minutes ago, minervaave said:

It’s theoretically possible that the allegation and the evidence that NYCB used to make their decision are not the same, but personally, I find that really hard to believe.

I think it's possible that between June and September, when the complaint was filed, or even in the week between the announcement of the punishment and the complaint filing (eight days) that additional communications were found/gathered but not submitted to the Company to investigate.  We don't know what the Venn diagram looks like.

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On 9/10/2018 at 10:00 AM, balanchinefreak said:

The defendant has 20 days to respond...

Peace out. D-day comes on September 25.

If defendants Finlay and NYCB choose to settle rather than respond to the complaint (I realize that NYCB refused to settle before the complaint was filed), would the settlement absolve them from having to admit or deny the allegations and institute organizational reforms, and will Waterbury waive her rights to pursue criminal charges?

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Many corporations have instituted mandatory seminars regarding sexual harassment,  where it's made crystal clear what behaviors are not tolerated from employees.  On my job,  in addition,  we are required to complete ethics training every year.  It would be a good idea for ballet companies to do something similar,  especially because so many of their employees are very young people working their first job.

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8 minutes ago, Rick said:

If defendants Finlay and NYCB choose to settle rather than respond to the complaint (I realize that NYCB refused to settle before the complaint was filed), would the settlement absolve them from having to admit or deny the allegations and institute organizational reforms, and will Waterbury waive her rights to pursue criminal charges?

I don't know whether it's possible to waive a right to pursue criminal charges, but for the rest, a settlement can be contingent on many things, including institution reforms and rules changes, non-disclosure, etc.  In this case, the extent to which institutional reforms are included, the union contract might complicate or limit NYCB's ability to agree to certain terms, while in non-unionized workforces, this would not be an issue.

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6 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Many corporations have instituted mandatory seminars regarding sexual harassment,  where it's made crystal clear what behaviors are not tolerated from employees.  On my job,  in addition,  we are required to complete ethics training every year.  It would be a good idea for ballet companies to do something similar,  especially because so many of their employees are very young people working their first job.

I worked at a company that had mandatory diversity training that included a unit on sexual harassment. We had something even more valuable, though: men who were willing to call out other men when they engaged in behavior that demeaned and degraded women. 

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1 hour ago, minervaave said:

I would add that the true mark of a sincere apology where the person should be forgiven is if the person who is being apologized to forgives them. 

Unless the victim is so acculturated to a dominant culture of abuse and harassment that the forgiveness can’t be read the same way as it normally would be. 

 

 

Edited by Olga
Typo

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While a settlement is probably in Chase Finlay's best interests,  it's  hard to see what NYCB would gain from it.  They have already borne the brunt of bad publicity.  Ms. Waterbury's case against them could be dismissed by the judge.  Should the case go to trial,  the verdict is just as likely to come down in their favor as in hers.  If she prevails,  she might receive only a token amount in damages.  Lawsuits can take years to make their way through the courts.  I once heard a lawyer say,  "You can have a lawsuit or you can have a life."  Hopefully Ms. Waterbury  can move forward from this and enjoy her college years.

Edited by On Pointe
Clarity

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17 minutes ago, Olga said:

Unless the victim is so acculturated to a dominant culture of abuse and harassment that the forgiveness can’t be read the same way as it normally would be. 

 

 

I agree with you - the forgiveness needs to also be sincere and freely given.

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2 hours ago, minervaave said:

NYCB has already shown for decades they didn’t care enough about a man physically assaulting his wife

 

1 hour ago, minervaave said:

I would add that the true mark of a sincere apology where the person should be forgiven is if the person who is being apologized to forgives them. 

I find these two statements contradictory, if you are referencing the assault situation I think you are referencing.    Or does the apology and acceptance not count as far as what NYCB cares about?

Edited by Amy Reusch
clarity

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I'm not sure what the contradiction is:  Martins might have owed two apologies: one to Kistler for assaulting her, and one to NYCB for the bad publicity and hit to the reputation that the assault reports created.  If either happened, I don't remember them being made public. Kistler, for one, refused to press charges and took it private; both were her choice at the time.  There was no public disciplining of Martins by NYCB, no title changes, no financial changes visible on the organization 990's, or any additional layers of management added right afterwards or public announcement of new/updated/refined standards of behavior, etc. that I am aware of: perhaps other people remember public info about this?

If there were repercussions, as far as I can tell, they remained private, which is a trade-off with public perception.

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I'm betting on a settlement with an NDA.  Likely what the attorney wants.  NYCB would want this to go away, especially as a new AD comes in. There are probably a lot of people who could be asked to give accounts under oath that NYCB would not want out there, even if they do prevail legally. Just more bad PR for them in the middle of the #metoo movement. 

Edited by balletforme

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24 minutes ago, Amy Reusch said:

 

I find these two statements contradictory.

Just because someone sincerely apologizes doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be consequences for their actions.  I think an apology can be owed and given, but depending on what happened, that is not by itself enough for the matter to be closed and for justice to have been done, especially when it involves criminal allegations.  I merely felt that the steps below needed an additional one when it came to the act of apologizing.  (I think of forgiveness as necessary, but not necessarily sufficient.)

2 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

 

  • An apology should include an explanation of the harm done to the person or people receiving the apology.
  • It should include an admission of the perpetrator‚Äôs role in causing that harm, an ‚Äúacknowledgment of personal responsibility and avoidance of denials or minimizing.‚ÄĚ
  • Perpetrators should express remorse.
  • They should explain which behaviors they are committed to stopping now that they understand the harm they‚Äôve caused.
  • Finally, they should explain what they will do to make amends.

These are taken from a Dec 5, 2017 Vox article by Anna North entitled "How to apologize for sexual harassment."

 

Edited by minervaave

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43 minutes ago, minervaave said:

Just because someone sincerely apologizes doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be consequences for their actions.  I think an apology can be owed and given, but depending on what happened, that is not by itself enough for the matter to be closed and for justice to have been done, especially when it involves criminal allegations.  I merely felt that the steps below needed an additional one when it came to the act of apologizing.  (I think of forgiveness as necessary, but not necessarily sufficient.)

To be clear, I was certainly not my intention to suggest that there shouldn't be consequences for wrongdoing, nor that an apology was somehow enough by way of retribution and redress. An apology is necessary, but it's not sufficient.

I stated that sharing explicit photos without consent is a firing offense, full stop. If the company decides it wants to re-admit a dancer it has dismissed, however, I think a sincere apology is a required part of the package. That was my only point. 

3 hours ago, minervaave said:

I would add that the true mark of a sincere apology where the person should be forgiven is if the person who is being apologized to forgives them. 

Here, I must respectfully disagree. A sincere apology is sincere because the person making means it. It doesn't matter whether the person who was wronged decides to extend forgiveness or not. It's not a negotiation: the apology shouldn't be contingent on forgiveness nor should a wronged person feel compelled to offer forgiveness in return. The apology is in a real sense its own reward.

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The decision tree around apologies is complex, but I agree with Kathleen that the apology is independent of acceptance.  If a sincere apology became a condition of re-employment, then the Company would be the judge, and they may or may not take whether it is accepted into consideration.  

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2 hours ago, Helene said:

I'm not sure what the contradiction is:  Martins might have owed two apologies: one to Kistler for assaulting her, and one to NYCB for the bad publicity and hit to the reputation that the assault reports created.  If either happened, I don't remember them being made public. Kistler, for one, refused to press charges and took it private; both were her choice at the time.  There was no public disciplining of Martins by NYCB, no title changes, no financial changes visible on the organization 990's, or any additional layers of management added right afterwards or public announcement of new/updated/refined standards of behavior, etc. that I am aware of: perhaps other people remember public info about this?

If there were repercussions, as far as I can tell, they remained private, which is a trade-off with public perception.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
From the NYTimes 12/6/92:
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TWO MONTHS AFTER THE DEVASTATING HEADlines, over lunch across the street from the New York State Theater in Lincoln Center, home of the City Ballet, Martins states matter-of-factly, "I know that my reputation is shattered."

But Martins is still himself, determined to press ahead regardless of what people think of him. The only chink in his famously stoical front is that he is smoking heavily again, after a nearly yearlong effort to quit.

He and Kistler are together, apparently happy and still committed to each other. He is in counseling, and the two are going for joint therapy.

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I am trying to absorb all this and THERE IS A LOT OF IT.

However, I do think that Waterbury with her lawsuit might be looking for a financial settlement but she also may be looking for a change in the culture - same as Ashley Bouder is.  A change in the environment and in the perception of women in ballet onstage and off.  Waterbury is a student at Columbia, so she has some intelligence (whether that intelligence guides her personal life choices at her young age cannot be guaranteed).  

Another thing, I don't religiously follow the social media of dancers on Instagram.  I didn't know that Finlay and Lovette were no longer a couple or engaged - it seems that until a year ago they were.   I also must mention that the timeline for the beginning of Finlay's relationship with Waterbury and the end of his engagement to Lovette is hazy and unclear.  Kind of fuzzy as to dates like Waterbury's real age.  As I don't know anything about that, I can't say anything or put forth an opinion with any authority - but Finlay's treatment of Lovette is a big question mark.  BTW:  I deeply admired Isabella Boylston's total silence during and after Benjamin Milliepied's very public tabloid fodder relationship and eventual marriage to Natalie Portman.  Boylston didn't say anything to the press though they were saying a lot about her.  Lovette's quiet way of saying something on her social media without saying anything about any other individual is classy and smart.

Also, one likely person who might really want to sweep this under the rug and is in a good position to do so with his financial assets is the unnamed donor in the complaint.  Clearly Waterbury and her lawyer know his name and his actions are just as bad as Finlay's, Ramasar's, Catazaro's, that particular Craig Hall at issue, etc.  But his name isn't in the complaint whereas a lot of other stuff including hearsay incidents that Waterbury was told about or are "common knowledge" in the company are in there.  

Edited by FauxPas
typos

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If the donor is a fact  witness in the lawsuit, his name will come out in discovery even if he is not a named defendant in the lawsuit.  To the extent that any party in the suit wants to rely on discovery provided by the donor (a deposition transcript of his testimony, for example) in motions practice,  his identity will  be disclosed and become part of the public record.  The only way to prevent that would be to get a court order to place certain documents under seal, which seems remote. 

NYCB does not need this kind of a donor, no matter how much money he was contributing.

 

It will be interesting to see how NYCB and Finlay defend the case.  Will NYCB cross claim against Finlay?  Will either NYCB or Finlay sue additional individuals  as third-party defendants?

Edited by abatt

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