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

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47 minutes ago, Drew said:

Still, it is worth remarking that these are not thoughts, but words. And words that however jokingly refer to a potential crime. 

Drew, you probably did not mean it this way but this comment sends shiver down my spine reminding of how prophetic Philip K. Dick was. Have we reached the state where pre-crime no is longer a science-fiction but a reality?

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1 hour ago, Dreamer said:

Drew, you probably did not mean it this way but this comment sends shiver down my spine reminding of how prophetic Philip K. Dick was. Have we reached the state where pre-crime no is longer a science-fiction but a reality?

You are right--the issue is NOT and should not be pre-crime which would be at once tyrannical and absurd. Also I rather assume the two men were joking however unpleasantly. But once these words became public, are they a non-issue for Catazaro's fellow dancers and his place of work? NYCB seems to have decided otherwise. On the face of it, it's not clear to me that that is automatically the wrong decision. Was the firing over-reach? Well, the union thinks so and arbitration will decide.

(Lauren Lovette spoke about safety in her instagram post..."we are speaking up and working every day to make our work environment more safe and transparent.")

Edited by Drew

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23 minutes ago, Drew said:

Oh I was actually just editing my post to get rid of the word criminal--so point taken!

I don't think joking about rape is a hanging offense. I don't care for it either and think it can be destructive in the workplace.

Finlay, Catazaro, and Ramasar are not adolescent boys. (And not all adolescent boys behave with appalling disrespect to women. By a long shot.)

Men from every walk of life have done what Chase Finlay is alleged to have done or something like it or worse.  Yet some workplaces are worse when it comes to such things than others. Consistently. So things can be done to influence how people conduct themselves towards one another without veering off into thought control and fascism. Has NYCB done all it reasonably could have done over time on these issues? I've already said that I don't believe so.

That "ballet" generally shares in problems pervasive in our society is hardly a reason for people in the ballet world not to try to address those problems. Though it may be a reason to realize there is a limit to what can be done in any one given sphere without larger social movements. And I'm not yet prepared to give up on positive change altogether.

 

Have Finlay,  Catazaro  and  Ramasar  been accused of appalling disrespect towards their partners and other female dancers in their work at NYCB?  I don't  think  so.   Ashley Bouder still has photos of herself with all three on her Instagram.  If they had been problematic I don't  think they'd be there.  Evidently their adolescent  behavior does not extend to the workplace.

This really is a workplace issue,  whatever you think about what they did in their private lives.  Did  Catazaro and  Ramasar  fulfill the terms of their contracts and treat their work colleagues with respect?

 

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41 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Have Finlay,  Catazaro  and  Ramasar  been accused of appalling disrespect towards their partners and other female dancers in their work at NYCB? 

 

I was responding to your comments about about toxic masculinity in adolescents--I believe we are all agreed here that Finlay, Catazaro, and Ramasar are not adolescents. I wasn't referring to them in that sentence at all, though reading my post over I see how it could be construed as directed at them.

That said, based on what we know so far (which may be missing information) I don't think Ramasar and Finlay treated Waterbury with respect; and I don't think joking about raping (or even "double teaming") a colleague is exactly respectful either.  The fact that Waterbury is not a work colleague and that the joke was outside the workplace (assuming that gets confirmed) may save their jobs--Ramasar's and Catazaro's that is...What it says about New York City Ballet is, to borrow Lovette's word, less "transparent" to me. I mean that exactly--not that I know the answers, but that it's not clear.

(Edited to add: if it turns out that they circulated sexually explicit photos of dancers in the company without their consent...that, too, I would find disrespectful. Perhaps I should save "appallingly" for worse things--but circulating such photos of fellow workers without consent would be bad enough.)

By the by, here is Marina Harss's recent piece in Dance Tabs--it's a review that also discusses the current situation and mentions transparency in a slightly different sense:  http://dancetabs.com/2018/09/new-york-city-ballet-jewels-all-balanchine-4bill-new-york/

Edited by Drew

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Yesterday, at least three pincipal women posted to Instagram essentially praising the company and stating how glad they are to be in it. Lauren’s post was in an Instagram story in which she spoke directly to the camera. I can’t reproduce it. Here are excerpts from the other posts:

Maria: “NYCB is so strong and I’m so proud to be a member of this glorious company for more than twenty years.”

 

Sara”...nycballet is unreal and amazing. I feel so f**kin lucky to be in this company.”

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3 hours ago, Olga said:

Yesterday, at least three pincipal women posted to Instagram essentially praising the company and stating how glad they are to be in it. Lauren’s post was in an Instagram story in which she spoke directly to the camera. I can’t reproduce it. Here are excerpts from the other posts:

Maria: “NYCB is so strong and I’m so proud to be a member of this glorious company for more than twenty years.”

 

Sara”...nycballet is unreal and amazing. I feel so f**kin lucky to be in this company.”

These posts don't sound like what I would expect to hear from women working in a dangerous workplace where rape, sexual assault and domestic violence are rampant and tolerated by management -- especially Lovette's video where you can feel the sincerity of her comments in a more visceral way than you can when reading a written post. This sets up an interesting contrast between what is alleged by Waterbury versus the increasingly public support conveyed by the women of NYCB. Although the courts will have final say, for now I am inclined to side with the women who work in the company and have a better understanding of the workplace environment and culture.

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11 hours ago, On Pointe said:

Have Finlay,  Catazaro  and  Ramasar  been accused of appalling disrespect towards their partners and other female dancers in their work at NYCB?  I don't  think  so.   Ashley Bouder still has photos of herself with all three on her Instagram.  If they had been problematic I don't  think they'd be there.  Evidently their adolescent  behavior does not extend to the workplace.

This really is a workplace issue,  whatever you think about what they did in their private lives.  Did  Catazaro and  Ramasar  fulfill the terms of their contracts and treat their work colleagues with respect?

 

Circulating nude images (some of which were taken without the subject's consent) and engaging in degrading talk are examples of disrespect towards colleagues. Regardless of how superficially polite they may have been in the studio, it is clear that they thought of some of their female colleagues as chattel. And just because Bouder hasn't gone through the extra effort to delete old photos doesn't mean that she approves of their behavior. As I have illustrated, bad behavior outside the workplace occasionally has consequences within the workplace. If these men had exercised better judgment, they would be dancing right now. They created this situation. They are not the victims here.

And furthermore, as I have also stated, NYCB allegedly knew about aspects of Finlay's behavior - the drunkenness, parties with underage girls - that crept into the rehearsal room and official NYCB tours.

Also, Finlay and Catazaro were clearly joking about rape (the text exchange re the corps dancer). Sex without consent - "giving her no choice" - is rape. (And Catazaro claims that he never saw the images of Waterbury).

2 hours ago, Longtimelurker said:

These posts don't sound like what I would expect to hear from women working in a dangerous workplace where rape, sexual assault and domestic violence are rampant and tolerated by management -- especially Lovette's video where you can feel the sincerity of her comments in a more visceral way than you can when reading a written post. This sets up an interesting contrast between what is alleged by Waterbury versus the increasingly public support conveyed by the women of NYCB. Although the courts will have final say, for now I am inclined to side with the women who work in the company and have a better understanding of the workplace environment and culture.

While I am not negating these women's personal experiences, it is important to note that these are all principal women with social capital and influence. I also did not take their statements to be rebuttals of Waterbury. Placed in context, they reflected gratefulness for their long, successful careers.  That doesn't mean that the NYCB is immune from sexual misconduct. (I found their statements less problematic that Sterling Hyltin's defense of Amar, which reiterated the hoary victim-blaming rhetoric that has swirled around this conversation - and will have the intended or unintended effect of intimidating any people from coming forward to corroborate Waterbury's claims).

Edited by Pique Arabesque

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16 hours ago, Amy Reusch said:

Any performing arts institution without State or Royal subsidy is a house of cards.  

Tell me again where NYCB's longtime co-tenant  at the State Theater, NYCO, is these days?

1

While many American arts institutions are in a precarious state, NYCB is not one of them.

12 hours ago, On Pointe said:

In a non-sexual context,  I've thought and said a lot of things about people I've worked with that would have caused a great deal of awkwardness if they had known about them.    Rod Rosenstein is in very hot water over an offhand remark he had no reason to believe would be published in the New York Times.  Ms. Waterbury  is not the only person with a right of privacy.  As the exchange between Catazaro  and  Finlay  had nothing to do with her,  they only served to embarrass Catazaro  and imperil his career.  What the two of them said on their own time is their own business.  They didn't  post it to Facebook or publish it in any form.  This policing of adults' private thoughts smacks of fascism.

Catazaro embarrassed himself. And Finlay and Catazaro are Millenials. They, more than anyone, should understand that no print or electronic communications - even a group chat that is not put on public-facing social media - are really private. This is not about 'thought crime,' either. If they had that conversation in Finlay's apartment, we might not be having this conversation. This is not fascism.

14 hours ago, abatt said:

I guess we will have to disagree.   I don't regard Waterbury as a whistleblower.  A whistleblower is someone who informs on an illicit organization.  The illicit behavior, however, was committed by an individual on his off hours in his personal life.  There is no basis to impose liability on NYCB for the private actions of Finlay and his friends.  Time will tell, as they say.

 Certain aspects of the illicit behavior were allegedly covered up by the organization, which would make them complicit. But yes, time will tell.

Sidebar, but if anything, this whole situation has revealed the deep "small c" conservatism of ballet dancers and balletomanes. Reducing this situation to one bad actor and reducing his colleagues to men unfairly targeted by the #MeToo pitchforks (and absolving an employer from any responsibility) is a good way to perpetuate workplace sexual misconduct. I want to end rape culture, and I believe survivors. There are much easier ways to gain one's 15 minutes of fame than reliving the most traumatic experience of one's life or fabricating trumped-up accusations that will eventually destroy your reputation and even your livelihood once exposed (ask Crystal Gail Mangum). Survivors know that their character will be attacked (just ask Christine Blasey Ford and Anita Hill) and their claims will be pored over with a fine-toothed comb.  In fact, Ford and Deborah Ramirez (Kavanaugh's second accuser) have even requested an FBI investigation.

Edited by Pique Arabesque

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40 minutes ago, Pique Arabesque said:

As I have illustrated, bad behavior outside the workplace occasionally has consequences within the workplace. 

And furthermore ... NYCB allegedly knew about aspects of Finlay's behavior - the drunkenness, parties with underage girls - that crept into the rehearsal room and official NYCB tours.

While I am not negating these women's personal experiences, it is important to note that these are all principal women with social capital and influence. 

This is an important point. I agree – perhaps in a different way – that company members could sense during class and rehearsals that something was going on between the dissident men through coded remarks, a certain tone of voice – and this could have had a disruptive effect on company morale. It's like something you realize was unpleasant only after it is gone or has been lifted. And, by nature of their senior status within the company, through their "social capital and influence," the women who have posted that nothing was wrong were not really affected or potentially vulnerable. 

Edited by Quiggin

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15 minutes ago, Pique Arabesque said:

Circulating nude images (some of which were taken without the subject's consent) and engaging in degrading talk are examples of disrespect towards colleagues. Regardless of how superficially polite they may have been in the studio, it is clear that they thought of some of their female colleagues as chattel. And just because Bouder hasn't gone through the extra effort to delete old photos doesn't mean that she approves of their behavior. As I have illustrated, bad behavior outside the workplace occasionally has consequences within the workplace. If these men had exercised better judgment, they would be dancing right now. They created this situation. They are not the victims here.

And furthermore, as I have also stated, NYCB allegedly knew about aspects of Finlay's behavior - the drunkenness, parties with underage girls - that crept into the rehearsal room and official NYCB tours.

Also, Finlay and Catazaro were clearly joking about rape (the text exchange re the corps dancer). Sex without consent - "giving her no choice" - is rape. (And Catazaro claims that he never saw the images of Waterbury).

While I am not negating these women's personal experiences, it is important to note that these are all principal women with social capital and influence. I also did not take their statements to be rebuttals of Waterbury. Placed in context, they reflected gratefulness for their long, successful careers.  That doesn't mean that the NYCB is immune from sexual misconduct. 

What "they  thought" does not matter.  They can think whatever they want.

A number of women in the company can be described as "underage girls".  If there is a party where "the company" is invited,  those dancers will likely be there.  The complaint makes it seem that there were only underage girls present,  which strikes me as highly unlikely.

Clearly Finlay and Catazaro  were joking about how they are so devastatingly attractive the girl would have "no choice" but to have sex with them.  That interpretation is just as likely - more likely - than the conviction that they were plotting rape.

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23 minutes ago, Quiggin said:

And, by nature of their senior status within the company, through their "social capital and influence," the women who have posted that nothing was wrong were not really affected or potentially vulnerable. 

They've certainly aged out of the target demographic expressed in the quotes in the complaint.

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1 hour ago, Quiggin said:

And, by nature of their senior status within the company, through their "social capital and influence," the women who have posted that nothing was wrong were not really affected or potentially vulnerable. 

Did these women really say in their posts "that nothing was wrong"? That's not how I read their words. It's very possible to express love for and loyalty to and gratitude toward an organization (or a family, or a school, or a community, or any other complex social group) while still recognizing that there are problems there — even very serious problems that one would like to see remedied. I would imagine many of us could relate to the experience of having such complex feelings about groups to which we belong.

Edited by nanushka

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42 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Clearly Finlay and Catazaro  were joking about how they are so devastatingly attractive the girl would have "no choice" but to have sex with them.  That interpretation is just as likely - more likely - than the conviction that they were plotting rape.

I note that you say three different things here about your interpretation of their words: (1) that it's "clearly" the right one; (2) that it's "just as likely" the right one; and (3) that it's "more likely" the right one. I find (2) barely plausible, but I can understand thinking that. (1) and (3) seem to me to be completely unsupported at this point.

Also, just because one is joking about rape doesn't mean one is "plotting rape." That's an exaggeration of how others are reading the quotation, I think.

Edited by nanushka

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23 minutes ago, nanushka said:

I note that you say three different things here about your interpretation of their words: (1) that it's "clearly" the right one; (2) that it's "just as likely" the right one; and (3) that it's "more likely" the right one. I find (2) barely plausible, but I can understand thinking that. (1) and (3) seem to me to be completely unsupported at this point.

Also, just because one is joking about rape doesn't mean one is "plotting rape." That's an exaggeration of how others are reading the quotation, I think.

I should have put "clearly" in quotes.  I hoped to illustrate merely that different people could interpret their words in different ways.

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1 hour ago, On Pointe said:

What "they  thought" does not matter.  They can think whatever they want.

A number of women in the company can be described as "underage girls".  If there is a party where "the company" is invited,  those dancers will likely be there.  The complaint makes it seem that there were only underage girls present,  which strikes me as highly unlikely.

Clearly Finlay and Catazaro  were joking about how they are so devastatingly attractive the girl would have "no choice" but to have sex with them.  That interpretation is just as likely - more likely - than the conviction that they were plotting rape.

They ceased to be thoughts once they were communicated in the group chat.

I have heard that some apprenticeships can be offered at 17, but most company members are 18 and up. Though it is still not legal to drink alcohol between the ages of 18-20, you are still an adult. "Underage" specifically connotes someone who is under 18.

Jokes about non-consensual sex are not funny and reflect poorly on the character of those making the joke. Employers care about that. (Also, if the butt of the joke is that the corps woman found Finlay and Catazaro irresistibly attractive, then she would, in fact, be consenting to sex).

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1 hour ago, Pique Arabesque said:

They ceased to be thoughts once they were communicated in the group chat.

I have heard that some apprenticeships can be offered at 17, but most company members are 18 and up. Though it is still not legal to drink alcohol between the ages of 18-20, you are still an adult. "Underage" specifically connotes someone who is under 18.

Jokes about non-consensual sex are not funny and reflect poorly on the character of those making the joke. Employers care about that. (Also, if the butt of the joke is that the corps woman found Finlay and Catazaro irresistibly attractive, then she would, in fact, be consenting to sex).

You bring up an interesting point - from the transcript,  there is no evidence that Finlay and Catazaro  were engaged in a group chat.  It appears to be a conversation between just the two of them.  Is a private communication between two people treated differently than a group chat by the law?

One could argue whether "underage" means under eighteen or under twenty-one.  While drinking under the age of twenty-one is against the law,  merely being in the presence of a young person at a social gathering where alcohol is served is not.  But "partying with underage girls" has a nice salacious ring to it,  what my high school English teachers would call "writing to persuade".  BTW in that same conversation,  they discuss the age of consent (they're wrong - it's seventeen in New York,  not eighteen)  and agree that "prime time" for women's bodies is "18-22.  It's crude and it's tasteless,  but it indicates that while young women appeal to them,  they aren't  considering underage girls.

Employers care about tasteless jokes in the workplace.  What happens on the employees' own time is literally not their business.  If the corps woman found the men irresistible and consented to sex,  that is the point I'm making.  It's possible to read it just that way.

At any rate,  Finlay has taken himself out of the picture.  If I were Catazaro,   I'd argue that any communication between the two should be off-limits regarding his just cause hearing.

Edited by On Pointe
Redundancy

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NYCB and the dancers who participated in photo sharing without the subjects' written consent need to settle this and move on, and work towards atonement.  Dragging it out in the courts is a terrible idea.   So is all the dissembling about the horrors of the complaining witness suing NYCB.   The dancers at NYCB who are "forgiving" this behavior have personal relationships with the terminated dancers, and the emotional attachments prevent them from seeing the big picture.  

None of the bad actors would have met each other or their victims if not for the structures at NYCB and its affiliated school SAB.  This needs to stop now, rather than drag it out.   Company policy should be that every acts like it's 1986 and sharing your intimate partner's naked pics / videos is an awful thing to do and stop normalizing it. 

There are child porn victims who have to live the rest of their lives knowing their images are "out there" and there is nothing they can do about it.  This will also apply to Alexandra Waterbury.   No one knows how far the images / videos have already been disseminated. 

To quote Brad Paisley "The Internet is Forever".

 

Edit for clarity

 

Edited by Jayne

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2 hours ago, On Pointe said:

You bring up an interesting point - from the transcript,  there is no evidence that Finlay and Catazaro  were engaged in a group chat.  It appears to be a conversation between just the two of them.  Is a private communication between two people treated differently than a group chat by the law?

One could argue whether "underage" means under eighteen or under twenty-one.  While drinking under the age of twenty-one is against the law,  merely being in the presence of a young person at a social gathering where alcohol is served is not.  But "partying with underage girls" has a nice salacious ring to it,  what my high school English teachers would call "writing to persuade".  BTW in that same conversation,  they discuss the age of consent (they're wrong - it's seventeen in New York,  not eighteen)  and agree that "prime time" for women's bodies is "18-22.  It's crude and it's tasteless,  but it indicates that while young women appeal to them,  they aren't  considering underage girls.

Employers care about tasteless jokes in the workplace.  What happens on the employees' own time is literally not their business.  If the corps woman found the men irresistible and consented to sex,  that is the point I'm making.  It's possible to read it just that way.

At any rate,  Finlay has taken himself out of the picture.  If I were Catazaro,   I'd argue that any communication between the two should be off-limits regarding his just cause hearing.

People should treat all electronic and internet communications as if they might be discovered. In this era of metadata, there is no real privacy anymore. One should not type anything 'privately' that they feel unprepared to defend in a public forum. To answer your question, I have found that law is often behind developments in technology. (There also might be a generational gap here in these discussions of privacy).

We can split hairs about what it means to be "underage" (shades of R Kelly there!), but over 18 makes you an adult in every US jurisdiction, and over 21 means you can drink legally in every jurisdiction. While it is not illegal for underage children to be in the presence of alcohol, the $150,000 in damages that occurred in the hotel room suggest that this was not some tasteful reception, or even a laidback gathering (and the claims appear to suggest that the girls were specifically invited to the event with the intent of consuming alcohol). And all writing is meant to persuade - sometimes the 'salacious' event is in fact, salacious (though I am more concerned about the safety of the underage girls than gossip). 18 to 22-year-old women are adults - but the fetishization of the "barely legal" woman is not only crude but also deeply misogynistic. 

Also, the texts between Finlay and Catazaro could have been sent while they were on the clock, using Lincoln Center wifi. Regardless, they involved the company as soon as they looped the poor corps woman into their misogynistic drivel (and there is no evidence to suggest that she wanted to have sex with them).

I am glad that Finlay has resigned. The communication between Finlay and Catazaro is public knowledge, but I'm sure that his union rep and/or lawyer are currently mounting a zealous defense.

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To ratchet the discussion back, the intersection between the complaint and the suspensions/firings is communications.  Given NYCB's history -- conservative in actions -- and resources -- access to top-notch lawyers -- it is highly unlikely they would have acted at all had their investigation not produced evidence of communications that made it in their best interest to act.   That doesn't mean that all of the listed and quoted communications in the complaint are overlapping, but there was enough there for a conservative institution to act upon.

As for the rest of the allegations, NYCB has not addressed any of them, including how any images were obtained.  A complaint doesn't offer proof and isn't meant to: that's for court and the discovery process.  Unless there is public-facing news that meets our official news standards, there's no intersection at this time other than what would happen if Merson crossed professional boundaries.

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11 hours ago, Pique Arabesque said:

While I am not negating these women's personal experiences, it is important to note that these are all principal women with social capital and influence. 

They, too, were youngsters in the company once  --  and not all that long ago. We all have our biases, but I am inclined to doubt that their success has somehow robbed them of the capacity for empathy or automatically brings their testimony to their own experience and observations of company life into question. 

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Shiffon, a jewelry brand “for good,” has posted a Q&A with Waterbury. The interview has more context from Waterbury’s perspective, including some discussion of why she filed and the way the events and lawsuit have impacted her life.

ETA: Waterbury says in the Q&A that 10+ men and 10+ women are “involved” in the incidents, and that the “one thing that ties all these people together” is SAB/NYCB. She doesn’t specify whether these people are involved as subjects of the messages or as perpetrators, nor does she specify the degree of involvement.

She also says, “I would get threatening phone calls and messages from people involved, and I think that’s important for me to put out there because I know it’s happening to other women who were victims in the text messages.” 

Edited by tutu
Adding more content from the linked doc, typos

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15 minutes ago, tutu said:

Shiffon, a jewelry brand “for good,” has posted a Q&A with Waterbury. The interview has more context from Waterbury’s perspective, including some discussion of why she filed and the way the events and lawsuit have impacted her life.

ETA: Waterbury says in the Q&A that 10+ men and 10+ women are “involved”

So again about the hotel room...if this is true, NYCB has some 'splainin to do.  They should have fired him then.  How does destroying a hotel room not violate the code of conduct??

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One of her interview responses would seem to clarify that "underage" means under 18 (given that they were apprentices):

Quote

He trashed a hotel room while on tour with NYCB and the company’s insurance ended up paying $150,000 in damages. And there were underage apprentices there.

ETA:   @tutu has corrected me on this, it seems "underage" may indeed have meant under 21.

Edited by nanushka

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12 minutes ago, nanushka said:

One of her interview responses would seem to clarify that "underage" means under 18 (given that they were apprentices):

 

Does it? I thought apprentices were usually 18, 19 (except in extraordinary cases, like for Tiler Peck) — am I off here?

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11 minutes ago, tutu said:

Does it? I thought apprentices were usually 18, 19 (except in extraordinary cases, like for Tiler Peck) — am I off here?

Ah ok, sorry, I thought they were usually 17. My mistake most likely!

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