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


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6 minutes ago, Longtimelurker said:

For those who feel that NYCB has done an inadequate job of protecting its dancers, do you also feel the same could now be said about ABT?

Do you mean does anyone believe ABT should be able to protect its dancers from NYCB's dancers and donors?

 

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1 hour ago, Helene said:

Do you mean does anyone believe ABT should be able to protect its dancers from NYCB's dancers and donors?

 

Yes and Longhitano was or is an ABT donor as well. Longhitano aside, if the logic is that NYCB has a systemic issue because it can't protect someone who is not affiliated with the company, does ABT also have a systemic issue because it can't protect its own dancers?

Edited by Longtimelurker
Added second sentence for clarity
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No, I don't believe that ABT has any responsibility to protect its dancers from NYCB's dancers and donors, unless a complaint is brought to them or there was a well-publicized issue.  If they were monitoring ABT dancers' social media, which is not a given, the donor's posts should have been a red flag, if he was recognizably one of theirs.   If they could confirm transgressive behavior, they should have told him his money is no good there, because his money could become too expensive. (And Longhitano's money has proved expensive for NYCB.)  Hopefully, if he is still a donor, they will act immediately and follow NYCB's example.

If NYCB has a donor who is problematic in public, especially one on the Board of a group that is part of the organization, or about whom they've been presented with evidence of wrongdoing, they should, proactively, remove that person's affiliation, however much it hurts and however delicate the situation is.  They apparently have.

I believe all ballet companies have the obligation to attempt to counter proactively the sense of entitlement that male students and dancers can feel because of the disproportionate amount of scholarship money and attention they get because of their relative rarity -- a friend calls this "ballet's real affirmative action program" -- to judge male and female students and dancers by the same standards of behavior, to discipline students and dancers when they exhibit bad behavior, regardless of rank or perceived value to the Company, to have a complaint procedure that neither discriminates against nor punishes people who raise them, and to have leadership that leads by good example.  I expect to win Lotto without buying a ticket before this happens.

No, I don't believe this is a fail-proof method to stop "private" bad behavior that needs to be detected and raised to be addressed.  But unless the organizations do everything possible to prevent it by creating a respectful workplace in which detected bad behavior is not tolerated, they don't get to just wash their hands of it and relinquish responsibility, especially where the schools are so intrinsically tied to the companies.

 

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Is the video they are referencing in #37 ("With defendants CHASE FINLAY and AMAR RAMASAR, wherein they both boast that they love being with the women of defendant NEW YORK CITY BALLET, INC.") the AOL video posted up thread? I am still mystified as to why NYCB ever thought that video was a highlight of their company/their male dancers when the majority of it is just the straight dancers defending their masculinity and explaining their profession as giving them access to women. 

Also, #94 is absolutely disgusting. Looking at Amar's most recent post, even if the picture was consented to, I can't imagine the subject okayed the circulation of it.  Provided all of the alleged is true, it definitely makes me think "don't let the door hit you on the way out" re: Amar and Catazaro. 

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14 minutes ago, Helene said:

No, I don't believe that ABT has any responsibility to protect its dancers from NYCB's dancers and donors, unless a complaint is brought to them or there was a well-publicized issue.  If they were monitoring ABT dancers' social media, which is not a given, the donor's posts should have been a red flag, if he was recognizably one of theirs.   If they could confirm transgressive behavior, they should have told him his money is no good there, because his money could become too expensive. (And Longhitano's money has proved expensive for NYCB.)  Hopefully, if he is still a donor, they will act immediately and follow NYCB's example.

If NYCB has a donor who is problematic in public, especially one on the Board of a group that is part of the organization, or about whom they've been presented with evidence of wrongdoing, they should, proactively, remove that person's affiliation, however much it hurts and however delicate the situation is.  They apparently have.

I believe all ballet companies have the obligation to attempt to counter proactively the sense of entitlement that male students and dancers can feel because of the disproportionate amount of scholarship money and attention they get because of their relative rarity -- a friend calls this "ballet's real affirmative action program" -- to judge male and female students and dancers by the same standards of behavior, to discipline students and dancers when they exhibit bad behavior, regardless of rank or perceived value to the Company, to have a complaint procedure that neither discriminates against nor punishes people who raise them, and to have leadership that leads by good example.  I expect to win Lotto without buying a ticket before this happens.

No, I don't believe this is a fail-proof method to stop "private" bad behavior that needs to be detected and raised to be addressed.  But unless the organizations do everything possible to prevent it by creating a respectful workplace in which detected bad behavior is not tolerated, they don't get to just wash their hands of it and relinquish responsibility, especially where the schools are so intrinsically tied to the companies.

 

I agree with nearly everything you said. I also don't think that ABT's inability to protect its dancers from these predators demonstrates an institutional failing at ABT, just as I equally think that NYCB's inability to protect someone who isn't in the company doesn't demonstrate an institutional failing.

I also hope that ABT takes similar actions to NYCB as regards Longhitano. I also looked through old playbills and noticed that he is not listed on NYCB's Young Patrons board. Perhaps that was another inaccuracy or the company removed him from that position. Longhitano could have also stepped down, but that seems unlikely given his Linkedin profile and other information he posted on public websites.

In my opinion, NYCB has arguably been the most proactive company in instituting what your friend calls "ballet's real affirmative action program". The female principals are their most valuable assets and treated as such. There are also less of them in number than the male principals, even after 3 of them were fired. I cannot speak to how this is handled at SAB one way or the other however. I also am extremely skeptical that any such actions could have prevented the Waterbury situation.

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Merson is trying to turn this lawsuit into a sort of quasi class action,  ostensibly on behalf of minor students at SAB and female members of the NYCB.  (Of course none of them would share in any damages he might win.)  The problem is that Ms. Waterbury isn't a minor,  isn't a student at SAB,  and isn't a member of NYCB.  She has no standing to make a case on their behalf.

 

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8 hours ago, Longtimelurker said:

Longhitano aside, if the logic is that NYCB has a systemic issue because it can't protect someone who is not affiliated with the company, does ABT also have a systemic issue because it can't protect its own dancers?

Waterbury's complaint does not seem to be primarily that NYCB failed to protect its dancers from every possible threat coming from inside or outside the company; it seems to be primarily that NYCB failed to stop (some of) its dancers from transgressing appropriate norms of behavior and from violating the rights of their colleagues and of other vulnerable individuals.

In other words, NYCB (according to Waterbury) has a systemic issue because it allowed (some of) its dancers to get away with bad behavior.

The appropriate parallel, it seems to me, would be if ABT implicitly or explicitly tolerated improper and harmful behavior by some of its dancers — not if ABT failed to protect its dancers from every possible threat.

It seems more reasonable to me to criticize an institution for doing the former than for doing the latter.

Edited by nanushka
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7 hours ago, Longtimelurker said:

I also looked through old playbills and noticed that he is not listed on NYCB's Young Patrons board. Perhaps that was another inaccuracy or the company removed him from that position. Longhitano could have also stepped down, but that seems unlikely given his Linkedin profile and other information he posted on public websites.

 

The Young Patron's Circle at NYCB is for patrons under 40 years of age.  My guess is that he aged out and neglected to update this information anywhere. Makes a person seem younger to be involved in "young" anything so it might be advantageous to leave that up as an unended involvement if a person wanted to be viewed as younger for some reason (lightly walking on the fact that if the man is predatory towards young adults, even of legal age, this would be desirable). 

 

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At this point it seems to me we stand here:

Finlay, Ramasar and Catazaro (and others still unnamed, which may well be named) engaged in an exchange of emails that was reprehensible, repulsive and totally beyond the boundaries of bro talk. 

This is (sadly, IMO) not - yet - illegal in NY State. Governor Cuomo, your signature awaits.

Hence, Waterbury took civil action.

Ramasar and Catazaro are union members and their union will stand up for them. According to the strict rules of the contract, they may have a case. Not illegal, off-hours.

I don't  know. 

But I do know this: NYCB depends on good will, private donations, and public monies. For them to say, "We couldn't fire them because what they did, while repulsive, was off-hours and not illegal," would be impossible. Perhaps there is something in the contract that refers to this - again, I don't know.

I believe - and I stress this is my belief - that Longhitano was the ringleader of this mess, and I think NYCB might have a case against him.

But Ramasar is 36! As for Finlay, I have no words. Catazaro - this is a lesson in drawing boundaries. At a certain point you have to learn how to draw boundaries and risk losing friendships.

In D'amboise's book, he tells an anecdote of going back to his gang in Washington Heights, after a year or two in the City Ballet. He was the true street kid, not Villella, who came from a middle-class family. He related that the boys all passed around dirty pictures of women and they all guffawed. That generation's version of cyber-porn. He was disgusted by their low-class behavior, which he once partook of.  He left and described it as an "amputation."  He never looked back.

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7 hours ago, On Pointe said:

Merson is trying to turn this lawsuit into a sort of quasi class action,  ostensibly on behalf of minor students at SAB and female members of the NYCB.  (Of course none of them would share in any damages he might win.)  The problem is that Ms. Waterbury isn't a minor,  isn't a student at SAB,  and isn't a member of NYCB.  She has no standing to make a case on their behalf.

 

Or he might be doing what his intention was in the first version of the complaint, when he conflated SAB and NYCB into NYCB, Inc., which is to show a continuum of management and conditions that led to Waterbury's non-physical assault, an environment in which all of the actors, Waterbury, and, most of the NYCB-based women named in the suit were trained.

37 minutes ago, balanchinefreak said:

But Ramasar is 36! As for Finlay, I have no words. Catazaro - this is a lesson in drawing boundaries. At a certain point you have to learn how to draw boundaries and risk losing friendships.

 

37 minutes ago, balanchinefreak said:

He was disgusted by their low-class behavior, which he once partook of. 

I don't see any disgust expressed by any of the three men that would indicate that they feel they need to set boundaries. 

The complaint isn't about porn, soft- or hardcore: it's about consent and trying to establish that the environment encouraged the men to think they were entitled to not need it.   If they were discussing porn stars in their communications, the communications might have been leaked and distributed and have been an embarrassment, but I don't see how they would be actionable.

37 minutes ago, balanchinefreak said:

I believe - and I stress this is my belief - that Longhitano was the ringleader of this mess, and I think NYCB might have a case against him.

Nothing published so far indicates that any of them had undue influence over any of the others, and birds of a feather tend to find each other.  

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1 hour ago, nanushka said:

Waterbury's complaint does not seem to be primarily that NYCB failed to protect its dancers from every possible threat coming from inside or outside the company; it seems to be primarily that NYCB failed to stop (some of) its dancers from transgressing appropriate norms of behavior and from violating the rights of their colleagues and of other vulnerable individuals.

In other words, NYCB (according to Waterbury) has a systemic issue because it allowed (some of) its dancers to get away with bad behavior.

The appropriate parallel, it seems to me, would be if ABT implicitly or explicitly tolerated improper and harmful behavior by some of its dancers — not if ABT failed to protect its dancers from every possible threat.

It seems more reasonable to me to criticize an institution for doing the former than for doing the latter.

So if that is the case then is there also a systemic issue at the employer of the Craig Hall named in the complaint? And then if we consider Longhitano as he is also a donor at ABT?

Some of the most vile actions and comments in the complaint are attributed to Hall. I truly feel for the soloist whose pictures he circulated. Based on the additional details disclosed in the revised legal complaint, it is not difficult to deduce who she and she must feel violated and betrayed.

 

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2 hours ago, balanchinefreak said:

At this point it seems to me we stand here:

Finlay, Ramasar and Catazaro (and others still unnamed, which may well be named) engaged in an exchange of emails that was reprehensible, repulsive and totally beyond the boundaries of bro talk. 

This is (sadly, IMO) not - yet - illegal in NY State. Governor Cuomo, your signature awaits.

Hence, Waterbury took civil action.

Ramasar and Catazaro are union members and their union will stand up for them. According to the strict rules of the contract, they may have a case. Not illegal, off-hours.

I don't  know. 

But I do know this: NYCB depends on good will, private donations, and public monies. For them to say, "We couldn't fire them because what they did, while repulsive, was off-hours and not illegal," would be impossible. Perhaps there is something in the contract that refers to this - again, I don't know.

I believe - and I stress this is my belief - that Longhitano was the ringleader of this mess, and I think NYCB might have a case against him.

But Ramasar is 36! As for Finlay, I have no words. Catazaro - this is a lesson in drawing boundaries. At a certain point you have to learn how to draw boundaries and risk losing friendships.

In D'amboise's book, he tells an anecdote of going back to his gang in Washington Heights, after a year or two in the City Ballet. He was the true street kid, not Villella, who came from a middle-class family. He related that the boys all passed around dirty pictures of women and they all guffawed. That generation's version of cyber-porn. He was disgusted by their low-class behavior, which he once partook of.  He left and described it as an "amputation."  He never looked back.

Some of the worst behavior alleged in the suit are attributed to Catazaro including circulating explicit photos of a former SAB student and discussing an aggressive sexual proposition to one of their colleagues with Finlay.

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19 minutes ago, Longtimelurker said:

So if that is the case then is there also a systemic issue at the employer of the Craig Hall named in the complaint?

Maybe, but not necessarily. I don’t know who his employer is, and it would depend on whether that employer has a habit of improperly tolerating abusive behavior that it is aware of or should be aware of. That’s what would make it “systemic,” and that’s what Waterbury seems to be alleging of NYCB.

There are indeed cases of individual “bad apples,” much as that phrase gets abused. It’s possible that, at his workplace, Hall is such an individual.

ETA:  I don’t think Waterbury’s claim is that NYCB should have monitored the private behavior of all its employees. I think her claim is that they knew bad stuff was going on and had a habit of overlooking it. Again, that’s what made it allegedly a “systemic” problem.

Edited by nanushka
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8 minutes ago, Longtimelurker said:

So if that is the case then is there also a systemic issue at the employer of the Craig Hall named in the complaint? And then if we consider Longhitano as he is also a donor at ABT?

Some of the most vile actions and comments in the complaint are attributed to Hall. I truly feel for the soloist whose pictures he circulated. Based on the additional details disclosed in the revised legal complaint, it is not difficult to deduce who she and she must feel violated and betrayed.

 

NYCB and ABT are not responsible for the actions of their donors, generally speaking. That is preposterous. NYCB is potentially culpable because of Longhitano's interactions with the company members and employees. He was taking part in, and encouraging illicit acts. There is no sign he did the same with ABT/ABT dancers.

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1 minute ago, nanushka said:

Maybe, but not necessarily. I don’t know who his employer is, and it would depend on whether that employer has a habit of improperly tolerating abusive behavior that it is aware of or should be aware of. That’s what would make it “systemic,” and that’s what Waterbury seems to be alleging of NYCB.

There are indeed cases of individual “bad apples,” much as that phrase gets abused. It’s possibel that, at his workplace, Hall is such an individual.

That is a valid point and underscores the importance of validating some of the most incendiary claims made in the legal complaint such as the claim that a principal raped a soloist. Until we have evidence to the contrary, I am still giving the company the benefit of the doubt as I cannot believe that the company would have turned a blind eye to that if there was some merit to such a serious charge. If it turns out that the company dealt responsibly with that type of situation, then all you have evidence of is reprehensible and in some cases illegal behavior in private text messages which the company did not and could not have known about.

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As an outsider I do not intend to comment at length on the behaviour described in the court papers. I am sure that this has all come as a great shock to the loyal followers of NYCB and to the fans of the dancers named in the court papers.  I suspect that from now on in the main concern of NYCB and SAB will be to limit the damage as it looks as if neither are likely to escape with their reputation unscathed. Please note I am saying nothing more than mud sticks and most people who are not actively involved in the world of ballet will remember the allegations connected with the trainers and  practitioners' of an elite artform not who the court believed.

We none of us know whether this matter will make it to a full court hearing or not. The chances are that NYCB will try to settle out of court and, of course, if it does so. the evidence will not be tested in the way it would be at a full hearing. NYCB has a difficult decision to make about whether to fight the case or not because even if it were to be exonerated what most people will remember are the allegations and they are likely to take the view that there is "no smoke without fire". The fact is that both NYCB and SAB are likely to suffer considerable reputational damage as a result of the allegations set out in the papers which may well lead to a decision being made that damage limitation should be the order of the day. Will NYCB want to gamble on the possibility that what may look solid on paper could  crumble under cross examination knowing that what comes out during a contested hearing will inflict further damage by being the subject of extensive media reporting spread out over the course of the hearing with the addition of media comment or worse still that the complainant's evidence proves to be rock solid and sounds even worse in the context of a full courtroom hearing where cross examination by lawyers acting for the company could easily come to be seen as further abuse? It takes years for an organisation to build a solid reputation and days or weeks to lose it. 

As far as the succession to the directorship is concerned I suspect that the Board will now go out of its way to avoid appointing anyone with what might appear to be an unhealthily close connection with the Martin's directorship and its ways.  

 

 

Edited by Ashton Fan
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10 minutes ago, Ashton Fan said:

I suspect that from now on in the main concern of NYCB and SAB will be to limit the damage as it looks as if neither are likely to escape with their reputation unscathed.

If absolutely nothing else, I hope that the mess results in the creation of a code of conduct for NYCB members w/r/t SAB. I was really, really surprised to read, in the amended complaint, that no such code exists. It seems like a huge blind spot, especially if company members can/do choose to take SAB classes. 

(I’m not, of course, in a position to determine whether that blindness is or was willful—or whether willfulness would even matter in this case.)

Edited by tutu
clarifying language
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30 minutes ago, aurora said:

NYCB and ABT are not responsible for the actions of their donors, generally speaking.

This is not generally speaking.  If a Company gets a complaint against a donor, I think they need to follow up.  (This can include financial issues, like they are made aware that someone is not likely to follow through on his pledge, so that they don't make a dependent financial commitment if it goes sour.)  If they get a heads up that one of their donors has questionable, public interactions with its dancers, I think they'd be wise to watch carefully, because the money isn't worth the trouble. 

 

40 minutes ago, Longtimelurker said:

So if that is the case then is there also a systemic issue at the employer of the Craig Hall named in the complaint?

That would depend on the situation at his employer.   Most don't have feeder schools managed by the same people as the employer that lead directly into roles in their company, though.  I also don't see where he sent and solicited photos of his co-workers to other members of his company.

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1 minute ago, Helene said:

This is not generally speaking.  If a Company gets a complaint against a donor, I think they need to follow up.  (This can include financial issues, like they are made aware that someone is not likely to follow through on his pledge, so that they don't make a dependent financial commitment if it goes sour.)  If they get a heads up that one of their donors has questionable, public interactions with its dancers, I think they'd be wise to watch carefully, because the money isn't worth the trouble.

Helene, I was responding to a very specific suggestion--that is, that ABT, or YAGP for that matter, might also be responsible for Longhitano. Given the circumstances I don't see how they would be. That said it would certainly behoove them them cut ties with him given what they know now, if they haven't already.

I agree with what you wrote here 100%.

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