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


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"... this behavior ... was allowed to fester in our currently leaderless state."

Reprinting this unquestioned seems like journalism lite. 

Bouder has access. Does she have actual information that someone at City Ballet knew about this photo club and failed to act appropriately? Or not? 

Shouldn't there have been follow-up questions about the basis of her comment, with her response included?

And, City Ballet is not "leaderless." It has an interim leadership team.

Under it, the Company has set up "an anonymous complaint system and annual performance evaluations with every dancer; [offers] more counseling for mental health, substance abuse, performance anxiety and nutrition; and [made] weight discussions more sensitive and discreet."

All significant, positive and absent from the previous, "leadered" Martins regime.

If Bouder feels leadership is deficient in other ways, that's one thing. To blame it for letting this behavior "fester" is a step further. The comment is either significant or irresponsible.

Edited by Dessus et dessous
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1 hour ago, On Pointe said:

They are professionals in the performing arts,  where artists work with people they don't like all the time. 

Not liking someone and being compromised in the workplace by having sexual photos distributed among your co-workers without your permission is something quite different.

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29 minutes ago, Dessus et dessous said:

 

And, City Ballet is not "leaderless." It has an interim leadership team.

Under it, the Company has set up "an anonymous complaint system and annual performance evaluations with every dancer; [offers] more counseling for mental health, substance abuse, performance anxiety and nutrition; and [made] weight discussions more sensitive and discreet."

All significant, positive and absent from the previous, "leadered" Martins regime.

 

I agree that these are positive developments. But an interim team does not necessarily have the same power that a permanent AD would have.

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4 hours ago, abatt said:

 I found it astonishing in the above article that some dancers were upset that their union was challenging the firings.  That's the core function of the union - to make sure management deals fairly with employees.

 

The union is just doing its job in appealing the firings, but the dancers are certainly entitled to their feelings, especially as the union's job is also to ensure a safe workplace for those still employed by NYCB. I would not want to be in a workplace where men made rape jokes about my colleagues. These dancers might also be concerned that their nude images might be circulating.

I was more disturbed by the group of dancers who took a smiling photo with Ramasar at Carousel shortly after his firing and the individuals who seem to think that Ramasar and Catazaro are the real victims in this situation.

5 hours ago, DC Export said:

I have been lurking on this thread since this whole situation came to light. I am a young woman and a survivor myself, and I say bravo to Macaulay.

I was all behind actions being taken to ensure that the facts are had (i.e. suspending Catazaro and Ramasar) before making judgement. But the firings seemed incredibly premature to me, and I am deeply concerned about the larger implications of "guilty until proven innocent." Lately it almost feels like we're leaning toward "guilty if accused," with flashes of Abigail Williams and John Procter.

I think its also worth mentioning that this is not a criminal proceeding (therefore, guilt and innocence - at least in the criminal/legal sense - are not issues here). Comparisons to The Crucible or The Scarlet Letter seem overwrought. This is not a life or death matter.

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6 minutes ago, Dessus et dessous said:

Good point, FPF. I should specify.

The interim team has demonstrated the power to fine, suspend and fire.

They haven't demonstrated the power to promote to soloist or principal. And we don't know if they are the names on the letter vs. the decision-makers. The initial announcement of the suspensions/resignation came from the Chairman of the Board. 

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2 hours ago, On Pointe said:

That some female dancers felt uncomfortable being partnered by Ramasar and  Catazaro is no justification for their termination.  They are professionals in the performing arts,  where artists work with people they don't like all the time.  If in fact NYCB  fired the dancers because of complaints about their private communications,  they have set themselves up for being sued by Ramasar and Catazaro,  who would have a far stronger case than Waterbury. Ramasar and Catazaro  are not accused of abusive behavior in the workplace,  and compared to the published material ascribed to the current nominee to the Supreme Court,  their private communications are pretty small beer - pardon the Kavanaugh pun.

9

I don't think that the opinions of female dancers were the sole justification for the firing, though I am glad that the interim team is listening to their dancers. I imagine the texts/images were the deciding factors in the firings. There is also a difference between working with someone who you have a personality conflict with vs working with someone who has been accused of wrongdoing. The strength of the Ramasar/Catazaro case vs Waterbury's is also relative. 

There is also a tension between communications covered by privacy laws and acceptable behavior for NYCB dancers. And with the ubiquity of electronic devices, notions of acceptable behavior extend beyond the workplace - especially when your private communications concern coworkers. While the correspondence between Finlay, Ramasar, and Catazaro might seem small in comparison to the assaults that Kavanaugh is alleged to have committed, there are many instances of people being fired for behavior that was perfectly legal, but didn't look "good" professionally (for example, school teachers who were fired when their pasts as exotic dancers were revealed). I find this entire situation much less egregious than that. 

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2 hours ago, Helene said:

Not liking someone and being compromised in the workplace by having sexual photos distributed among your co-workers without your permission is something quite different.

These assertions have yet to be adjudicated legally.  It's not even clear from the lawsuit that all of the photo sharing was non-consensual.  Having no access to the inner workings of NYCB,  I don't know  if other employees were disciplined,  but it would be indefensible for only Ramasar and Catazaro to be fired when allegedly more co-workers were involved.

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5 hours ago, On Pointe said:

These assertions have yet to be adjudicated legally.  It's not even clear from the lawsuit that all of the photo sharing was non-consensual.

NYCB's decision to fire them was not contingent on guilt as proven in a court of law, nor need it have been. It was also not apparently based solely on the lawsuit's (clear or unclear) descriptions of the allegations.

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9 hours ago, Helene said:

Not liking someone and being compromised in the workplace by having sexual photos distributed among your co-workers without your permission is something quite different.

It certainly is quite different but does the complaint even allege that all three principals distributed non consenting photos of coworkers? 

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11 hours ago, Pique Arabesque said:

The union is just doing its job in appealing the firings, but the dancers are certainly entitled to their feelings, especially as the union's job is also to ensure a safe workplace for those still employed by NYCB. I

 

NYCB's own conduct raises serious questions regarding the legitimacy of the firings.  The fact that they initially only suspended them for four months, and a week later fired them, suggests that NYCB itself initially concluded that there was no grounds to fire them.  What facts came to light during that one week period that moved them from the relatively minor punishment into the opposite extreme of firing?  Was it the feelings of a few dancers?  Was it bad publicity from the Waterbury media blitz?  Under the circumstances that transpired, the legitimacy of the firings needs to be evaluated by an impartial person like a mutually acceptable arbitrator.  The union isn't just going through the motions of doing its job - there are significant issues at stake here.

 

I'm probably in the minority here, but I thought the stunt of having Reichlin read a prepared statement with all the dancers surrounding her on stage was inappropriate.  The dancers were being used as pawns by the company (management) to give the company some much needed positive publicity.  But that's not their job.  Their job is to dance.  To the extent that individual dancers feel strongly about what's happening, they can express their feelings on their own social media platforms. Requiring them to be herded on stage in a show of unified support was not appropriate in my opinion.

Added:  We now know that there is no unified position among the dancers regarding the firings.  Some support the terminations; others do not.

Edited by abatt
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38 minutes ago, abatt said:

I'm probably in the minority here, but I thought the stunt of having Reichlin read a prepared statement with all the dancers surrounding her on stage was inappropriate.  The dancers were being used as pawns by the company (management) to give the company some much needed positive publicity.  But that's not their job.  Their job is to dance.  To the extent that individual dancers feel strongly about what's happening, they can express their feelings on their own social media platforms. Requiring them to be herded on stage in a show of unified support was not appropriate in my opinion.

In the minority, maybe, but certainly not alone. 

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1 hour ago, abatt said:

I'm probably in the minority here, but I thought the stunt of having Reichlin read a prepared statement with all the dancers surrounding her on stage was inappropriate.  The dancers were being used as pawns by the company (management) to give the company some much needed positive publicity.  But that's not their job.  Their job is to dance.  To the extent that individual dancers feel strongly about what's happening, they can express their feelings on their own social media platforms. Requiring them to be herded on stage in a show of unified support was not appropriate in my opinion.

Added:  We now know that there is no unified position among the dancers regarding the firings.  Some support the terminations; others do not.

Regarding your addendum: the statement was very carefully worded, I thought, so as not to be applicable to the particular views of one "side" of the Waterbury v. NYCB dispute. The values Reichlen was speaking of were ones I'd imagine those on both sides would share. The statement was, in my interpretation, neither in support of or opposition to the terminations.

Do we know where the impulse for this statement came from? You suggest management. But it was written by Reichlen and Danchig-Waring. Do we know that they were asked to do it by company leadership?

Edited by nanushka
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I had assumed (very stupidly - forgetting there's an a-s-s in the word) that the statement was independent of management. I don't know where I got the idea that the dancers had together voted on presenting such a statement. But of course it would have to be approved by management at the very least. 

I do agree with those who say the statement was carefully worded, and I believe it's one that all people everywhere - whether dancers or not - whether incriminated or not - can support. 

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The statement was carefully worded to avoid a direct reference to the firings, resignation and the Waterbury lawsuit.  However, I don't think there's any doubt that the statement was the direct result of the firings, resignation and Waterbury lawsuit, and was an implicit reference to these events. 

I have not seen any info to suggest that there was a vote on the Reichlin statement.  We know that it ws written by Reichlin and Adrian D W.  Since individuals are not normally given a platform to give speeches from the stage at a special event on topics of their own choosing, I'm comfortable with the assumption that the speech was prompted by, and approved by, management.

Added:  It's also no coincidence that the text of the speech was distributed to the media for reporting purposes, in order to promulgate favorable news coverage pertaining to the speech.  This was done through the NYCB publicity/public relations department. 

 

Edited by abatt
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4 minutes ago, abatt said:

The statement was carefully worded to avoid a direct reference to the firings, resignation and the Waterbury lawsuit.  However, I don't think there's any doubt that the statement was the direct result of the firings, resignation and Waterbury lawsuit, and was an implicit reference to these events. 

I have not seen any info to suggest that there was a vote on the Reichlin statement.  Since individuals are not normally given a platform to give speeches from the stage at a special event on topics of their own choosing, I'm comfortable with the assumption that the speech was prompted by, and approved by, management.

 

The statement was defensive and unnecessary,  so it's a good thing that it didn't  really say anything.  The singers and players at the Met have made no group statement about Levine,  the musicians at the Philharmonic have made no statement regarding the firing of two principal musicians.  The ballet community,  including the dance press,  appears to be overestimating the effect of the Waterbury  affair on the public,  hence the virtue-signalling speech.   It is an internal matter,  important to (some) dancers,  but of very little significance to the rest of the world.  It's likely that a number of NYCB dancers don't  care one way or the other about the firings.

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6 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

 The singers and players at the Met have made no group statement about Levine,  the musicians at the Philharmonic have made no statement regarding the firing of two principal musicians. 

Good point, On Pointe. 

Edited by abatt
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3 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

The statement was defensive and unnecessary,  so it's a good thing that it didn't  really say anything.  The singers and players at the Met have made no group statement about Levine,  the musicians at the Philharmonic have made no statement regarding the firing of two principal musicians.  The ballet community,  including the dance press,  appears to be overestimating the effect of the Waterbury  affair on the public,  hence the virtue-signalling speech.   It is an internal matter,  important to (some) dancers,  but of very little significance to the rest of the world.  It's likely that a number of NYCB dancers don't  care one way or the other about the firings.

Do you work for NYCB?  I don't know why you would assume it's "likely" the dancers don't care, or that they're overestimating the effect of the lawsuit (do you know how many letters they've received from donors withdrawing support?), unless you work for NYCB.

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Just from a few Instagram messages,  it's clear that there is no unanimous reaction from the company dancers to the firings.  No doubt there are some young male dancers who are quite happy about their enhanced opportunities.  I don't  know how many donors have threatened to withdraw support,  but donors don't  have to abide by union rules,  and they don't  run the company.  If some drop their support,  that's a problem for the company to overcome.  I'm sure they are quite happy to lose Longhitano's money,  which he apparently gave in order to fuel his fantasies.

 

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7 minutes ago, Marta said:

 

It's really not a parallel situation.  The people Levine molested, or insert whatever word you prefer, were not current musicians at the Metropolitan Opera.  We don't even know the story about the fired NY Phil musicians. I don't assume that management of NYCB told the dancers to write a statement for the Gala. Rather I assume the two authors wrote it and then had it approved.

Levine allegedly had many victims,  and some of them were singers and players in the employ of the Met and other organizations where he had a leadership position.  The story on the Philharmonic firings is out there,  it's just not getting any traction in the mainstream press.  (It's a lot worse than anything involving the dancers.)  It is amazing,  considering our litigious culture,  that none of the people abused by Levine have sued him or the Met,  where,  unlike NYCB,  Levine's sexual misconduct was known and gossiped about for years,  and where,  unlike Ramasar  and  Catazaro,  he had direct control over the careers of his subordinates.

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22 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

 It is amazing,  considering our litigious culture,  that none of the people abused by Levine have sued him or the Met,  where,  unlike NYCB,  Levine's sexual misconduct was known and gossiped about for years,  and where,  unlike Ramasar  and  Catazaro,  he had direct control over the careers of his subordinates.

The statute of limitations may have expired on some of the potential claims against Levine.

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Still no response from Finlay. I wonder what approach his lawyers are going to take, or if their approach is just to negotiate for a settlement.

With wild hotel parties leading to broken water pipes, hangovers that result in suspensions, and the ugly allegations in the lawsuit, Finlay's story is beginning to sound like a late F. Scott Fitzgerald or early Jay McInerney novel. The privileged young man who has too much too soon - dancing the lead in Apollo at age 20! - and somehow throws it all away in a haze of alcohol, (alleged) drugs, and bad company. Lots of dramatic action here: the public love affair and break up with a widely-respected ballerina, and then the follow up relationship with another, less successful dancer who discovers the sordid underbelly of his thoughts while searching through his computer --- and exposes it all to the public.

A good writer could do a lot with this. 

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I do too. I know what I'd suggest.

I'd say settle. Finlay can't afford to drag this out. He's unemployed. He owes NYCB some part of $150,000. Rehab cost something. His lawyer's probably billing by the hour. His ballet clock is ticking, and he needs to leave town to find work.

Plus, Merson has leverage: a criminal complaint under 10-177 (unlawful disclosure of intimate images). If he files, Finlay risks up to a year in jail and/or a misdemeanor conviction, which'll "get stapled to every job application he ever submits." 

He's not defenseless. 10-177 requires "intent to harm." He can argue he didn't. Or try to get the photos thrown out. But that fight is his worst option.

What Merson really wants is City Ballet. Get out of his way. 

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It has not been disclosed officially that Finley owed NYCB anything for the fine.  There are other possibilities, such as, the fine may have been covered by Company insurance of somekind.

As discussed upthread, there are two possible criminal charges, and "Intent to harm," is only required for one: it is not required for taking the images without consent.

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