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


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11 hours ago, fordhambae said:

 I will point out that the masses engage in picture sharing of all natures on a round the clock basis (ie: Snapchat). Whether it is appropriate is one thing but normal it most certainly is.

No. It is not normal to share illicit videos of you and your gf **** (as Finlay did) or illicitly taken nude photos of your workmates with other ppl you work with.

 

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7 minutes ago, fordhambae said:

Perhaps you live a sheltered existence compared to many but I will point out that the masses engage in picture sharing of all natures on a round the clock basis (ie: Snapchat). Whether it is appropriate is one thing but normal it most certainly is.

The commoness of photo-sharing of  “all kinds” is also one reason there are new laws against certain kinds of “sharing” —- eg of intimate photos/video shared without consent, revenge porn etc. 

Edited by Drew
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11 hours ago, aurora said:

No. It is not normal to share illicit videos of you and your gf **** (as Finlay did) or illicitly taken nude photos of your workmates with other ppl you work with.

 

I would tend to agree with your assertions only I come from a generation that objectively seems to be less sensitive to the sharing of very intimate type images (ie: Instagram is borderline pornography). I think many young people are confused by the boundaries due to the oversharing of imagery of this nature. I am not excusing any of the alleged activities from this lawsuit, I'm purely stating that I don't think much can be considered 'normal' in such a rapidly evolving tech focused lifestyle.

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1 hour ago, FPF said:

They were fired for cause. That is a direct message that they are no longer valued--that the negatives outweigh the positives.

They should be concerned about appropriate behavior according to the norms of the company. Like it or not, how an employee behaves reflects on their employer. None of the behavior that is being condemned strikes me as normal/appropriate for a person of any age.

The arbitrators will determine if NYCB can reasonably impose a standard of behavior that is carried on outside of work hours,  privately.  The company talks about their "norms",  but they have to demonstrate that those norms are not just generally known about,  but specifically stated in company employment materials.  The arbitrators will want to know about the dancers' work histories - have they been warned or disciplined multiple times in the past for unprofessional behavior?  

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2 hours ago, On Pointe said:

The Finlay affair seems to have morphed into a referendum and condemnation of Peter Martins.  Those who don't  like him seem to think this situation is all his fault.  (Toni Bentley's piece suggests to a casual reader that Alexandra Waterbury is a member of NYCB.)  Bentley may be correct about the "soft-core porn" influence which permeates many aspects of media.  But does she think that Balanchine or Kirstein would have found all of her writings laudable?  Her work is part of the wave.

Thank you for saying this...  While many of us no doubt have been contemplating  some of the famous Balanchine & Kirstein quotes Bentley mentioned, Bentley seems to have an axe to grind against Martins, and having written "Submission" seems the wrong person to be throwing stones.

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27 minutes ago, Amy Reusch said:

Thank you for saying this...  While many of us no doubt have been contemplating  some of the famous Balanchine & Kirstein quotes Bentley mentioned, Bentley seems to have an axe to grind against Martins, and having written "Submission" seems the wrong person to be throwing stones.

While I'm hardly a fan of "Submission," I don't see why anything but the way she comported herself when she was at NYCB has any relevance.  I fail to see the connection between her book and workplace issues at NYCB.  There were far better books in its genre written many years ago that are considered classics of sorts; what she wrote is hardly revolutionary.

1 hour ago, fordhambae said:

I would tend to agree with your assertions only I come from a generation that objectively seems to be less sensitive to the sharing of very intimate type images (ie: Instagram is borderline pornography). I think many young people are confused by the boundaries due to the oversharing of imagery of this nature. I am not excusing any of the alleged activities from this lawsuit, I'm purely stating that I don't think much can be considered 'normal' in such a rapidly evolving tech focused lifestyle.

Technology is a tool.  Sharing one's own content is a choice.  Neither has to do with consent, which, as far as I know, is still within the range of "normal" and is still quite a simple concept when it comes to sharing images.  

 

 

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3 hours ago, laurel said:

This is a very silly piece with a click-baity headline that says more about the Decline and Fall of the New York Times than it does about City Ballet. (I'm a subscriber, but have done a lot of shaking my head about the paper's journalistic standards over the past two to three years).

Like Wilhelmina Frankfurt, Toni Bentley is taking aim at an institution that she left long ago and which apparently has left her behind.

I'm a big fan of having people of every age involved in the company, and older dancers have a lot to teach younger ones. That said, Bentley's jabs at "insidious" social media sound like some cranky old lady in 1964 complaining about the Beatles' haircuts. The world is evolving, Miss Bentley, join us!

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23 minutes ago, KayDenmark said:

I'm a big fan of having people of every age involved in the company, and older dancers have a lot to teach younger ones. That said, Bentley's jabs at "insidious" social media sound like some cranky old lady in 1964 complaining about the Beatles' haircuts. The world is evolving, Miss Bentley, join us!

Actually, what Bentley is complaining about is breaking down the wall between performer and audience and removing the mystery and glamor from the ballerinas.  While that may seem old-fashioned, she's hardly the first to raise it, and the topic has been discussed many times here.  

Quote

The sacred fourth wall, between audience and artist, was a necessity to our work, to making the magic. Now ballerinas tweet from the wings about their injuries and vegan muffins, amassing vast Twitter and Instagram followers, with endless selfies and self-promotion.  

While I find most social media vapid, self-congratulatory, and dull, I don't care about glamor one way or another, and if run across a photo of a dancer's granola breakfast, it's not going to make me take them any less seriously when they dance Odette or second movement of Symphony in C.  Whether or not anyone buys into it, though -- Isabella Boylston spoke about this in a recent Conversations on Dance interview, and definitely does not buy it -- I don't see it as one that's easily dismissed, given ballet's history.  Similarly for opera.   

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10 minutes ago, Helene said:

Actually, what Bentley is complaining about is breaking down the wall between performer and audience and removing the mystery and glamor from the ballerinas. 

My impression was that balletomanes had been following the personal lives of dancers forever - certainly back to the Martins-Watts days. Now they just have more information, and perhaps more accurate information. 

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I just noticed that in the Waterbury complaint,  at point 33 it's claimed that her photo was sent "to a pimp" by NYCB "employees",  not a dancer.  If it had been a dancer,  a principal dancer,  or Finlay,  Catazaro,  or Ramasar,  it would have said that.  Who are these nameless minions?    I suppose Merson has a reason for outing some of the alleged bad actors but not all,  but I can't  figure out what it is.  (It also isn't clear why this info - if it happened - is germane to the case.)

At point 29,  it's claimed that there are men in the company who have committed rape and acts of domestic violence,  and that these acts were well-known to company members and talked about.  The arbitrators are going to want to know why these men were neither suspended nor fired for violent illegal acts,  but Catazaro  and  Ramasar  were,  for things that might have been in bad taste,  but not illegal.  (Again,  assuming these claims are true.)

Edited by On Pointe
Typo
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31 minutes ago, KayDenmark said:

My impression was that balletomanes had been following the personal lives of dancers forever - certainly back to the Martins-Watts days. Now they just have more information, and perhaps more accurate information. 

Since the art form became a public one, which was long before the Martins/Watts days.  However, coverage was tightly controlled and rarely by the dancers.  For over a century, mainstream media -- print to start, then radio and TV -- and publishing was in charge of the message, when it was willing to allocate space, and aside from writing letters to the editor or issuing a press release, there was little recourse.

While there are company social media policies and self-preservation instincts, dancers have a lot more control over information flow through social media, and they can grow their own fan bases.  They can present whatever images they want.

Plus, dancers aren't reliant upon a small number of critics viewing a small number of performances to be noticed and reviewed, due many internet possibilities:  social media, blogs, and message boards.

The tricky part is that, for the most part, neither the money power nor the administrative power has not yet transitioned even to the first generation to have been raised with the internet and social media as a birthright. 

Not that this has to do with the complaint, which involves communications.

 

30 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Who are these nameless minions?    I suppose Merson has a reason for outing some of the alleged bad actors but not all,  but I can't  figure out what it is.  (It also isn't clear why this info - if it happened - is germane to the case.)

We're not the target audience for the complaint, so whether we can figure out Merson's strategy or tactics isn't really relevant to the case.

Throughout the complaint, that is typically the paragraph right after the allegations that claims to tie the allegation to a workplace that encouraged the behavior.  No one has to buy the reasoning, but what he thinks is germane isn't a mystery or difficult to find or to track.

 

30 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

At point 29,  it's claimed that there are men in the company who have committed rape and acts of domestic violence,  and that these acts were well-known to company members and talked about.  The arbitrators are going to want to know why these men were neither suspended nor fired for violent illegal acts,  but Catazaro  and  Ramasar  were,  for things that might have been in bad taste,  but not illegal.  (Again,  assuming these claims are true.)

If the arbitrator is using the standards you linked to earlier, they presumably will want to review disciplinary records as well as the timeline in which policies were implemented, reiterated, (re) trained, etc.  If there are court records that show that the dancers were convicted of crimes, or any evidence was provided to the company that illegal acts took place, or any complaints were raised with the Company, either through AGMA or directly, then whether the Company investigated the complaints (in the latter two) and/or disciplined the dancers (all three) would be relevant to the standards.  Without this, the Company might not be expected to act, regardless of what the complaint argues.

According the the Company, the firings were tied to the investigated communications; there's no mention of any patterns of behavior or taking any prior acts into consideration.  Whether the firings were justified in this case, given these circumstances, is something that will be determined by arbitration.

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12 hours ago, On Pointe said:

The Finlay affair seems to have morphed into a referendum and condemnation of Peter Martins.  Those who don't  like him seem to think this situation is all his fault.  (Toni Bentley's piece suggests to a casual reader that Alexandra Waterbury is a member of NYCB.)  Bentley may be correct about the "soft-core porn" influence which permeates many aspects of media.  But does she think that Balanchine or Kirstein would have found all of her writings laudable?  Her work is part of the wave.

Yes indeed. The wave of Martins, Board and NYCB bashing. Bentley also co-authored Suzanne’s autobiography.  Speaks for itself. 

 

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Quote

I will have much more to say about this later, but PLEASE keep in mind that one (or several) bad apples does NOT spoil the bunch, and that the enormous cultural good that the company and the school have done over many decades far outweighs any unfortunate mistakes that have been made.

What a vile comment on Mr. Clifford's part.

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12 hours ago, On Pointe said:

According to NYCB's own statement,  Catazaro  and  Ramasar  were fired in part because of the impact of their conduct on the NYCB community.  If this is true,  reticent or not,  the opinions of those who do not want them around won out over those of their friends.  Did Catazaro  and  Ramasar  make other dancers feel uncomfortable,  threatened,  abused,  or didn't  they?  

The NYCB community doesn’t just consist of the dancers and employees at the company.  Its community also includes audience members and donors, and their opinions count too.  The PR fallout from this has been horrific - with articles everywhere, even in international papers.  The impact on the community may be referring primarily to the response from the larger community and not the feelings of the various dancers.  

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31 minutes ago, sappho said:

What a vile comment on Mr. Clifford's part.

I certainly understand the "few bad apples" argument, that there is a rare organization or endeavor that is completely squeaky clean, and that the organization should be judged by how they address the issue, not that it should be tossed because there are imperfect humans operating in them.  I don't think there's anything vile about this argument, even if I don't agree with whether a given situation is "bad apples" or systemic.

For me, his argument comes dangerously close to "The ends justifies the means," particularly in the use of th ubiquitous passive voice.  "Mistakes were made," in my opinion, is one of the biggest cop outs in the English language.  

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What is vile is arguing/strongly implying that art is more important than humans.  It doesn't matter how much "cultural good" an institution does if it facilitates or allows abuse.  I'm not saying that is what the company has done here, but that is the argument.  It has been very much rehearsed in the context of the various abuse scandals, for example in music schools  and conservatories in Europe.  Even those of us who love and work in music, ballet or other art forms can believe that artistic or creative excellence doesn't give any person or institution a licence to abuse others.

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18 minutes ago, Helene said:

I certainly understand the "few bad apples" argument, that there is a rare organization or endeavor that is completely squeaky clean, and that the organization should be judged by how they address the issue, not that it should be tossed because there are imperfect humans operating in them.  I don't think there's anything vile about this argument, even if I don't agree with whether a given situation is "bad apples" or systemic.

For me, his argument comes dangerously close to "The ends justifies the means," particularly in the use of th ubiquitous passive voice.  "Mistakes were made," in my opinion, is one of the biggest cop outs in the English language.  

Definitely agree with this. I was referring mainly to his use of "unfortunate mistake" -- and in the passive voice, as you rightly note -- to characterize what happened. I also don't think NYCB's cultural contributions over the decades are relevant to the case at hand.

Edited by sappho
clarification
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If this is true,  reticent or not,  the opinions of those who do not want them around won out over those of their friends.  Did Catazaro  and  Ramasar  make other dancers feel uncomfortable,  threatened,  abused,  or didn't  they?  

The NYCB community doesn’t just consist of the dancers and employees at the company.  Its community also includes audience members and donors, and their opinions count too.  The PR fallout from this has been horrific - with articles everywhere, even in international papers.  

 

So, this was my point earlier about PR. . . there is such a PR machine at NYCB.  The focus is very short term, worrying about "How do we look? How do we look? How do we look? What will people think? What will people think? What will people think?"  That NO ONE is asking, "Who are we? How did we get here? What do we need to fix? How can we fix it?"  They do not seem to be CHANGING the culture. . .only attempting to change the perception of the culture. 

It's ALL ABOUT PERCEPTION. It was with Martins. The purpose of the investigation was to test the boundaries of legal liability and improve PR.

The focus now is about PERCEPTION.  Both, the notion that the company fires someone after originally suspending them and that they don't know how to judge when someone has broken their own policies. I abhor what these men participated in.  But NYCB is not acting wisely with this kind of decision making. Certainly appears to be an organization in complete chaos. 

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I'm curious to hear an explanation of the "culture" at NYCB.  Taking into consideration that the 3 men are gone, along with Martins.

Is there someone specifically that you (collectively on this thread) want to call out?  It takes PEOPLE to create a culture.  Are you worried about a ballet master?  Donor? (The one in the lawsuit?) Board member(s)? Dancer(s)?  Are audience members objectifying/flirting with dancers at donor events?  What specifically, is still worrying?

I'm 100% on Waterbury's side, yet I don't quite understand, practically, what else NYCB is expected to do here. 

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3 minutes ago, balletforme said:

So, this was my point earlier about PR. . . there is such a PR machine at NYCB.

The fallout from the Martins situation last fall was far more reaching than the current scandal -- it was picked up internationally and my Google alert for NYCB filled my mailbox with reports of it having picked up across the US --  yet the outcome and the Company response was very different, PR machine or no PR machine.  In the Martins case, they took the hit and then let the wave roll back to the ocean.   Of course, that was helped by Martins' resignation, for which they did not have the "few bad apples" argument, but, they also had the resignation of Finlay, according to the complaint, the worst perpetrator.

 

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