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Catazaro Declines NYCB Reinstatement; Ramasar to Rejoin


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39 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

I'm not a lawyer,  but Waterbury and her supporters antics seem to me to fit the definition of slander - the oral communication of false statements that are harmful to a person's reputation.  Any casual observer of the protesters might reasonably conclude,  based on the signs and the slick handouts featuring a glamor shot of Waterbury,  that Ramasar had physically assaulted her.

I think this (bolded) is the part I have doubts about. I would have thought that the legal standard for slander/defamation was considerably higher than that, even if he weren't (as @Leah points out) a public figure.

Edited by nanushka
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3 hours ago, Leah said:

If Waterbury said that Ramasar commited sexual assault then maybe there’s liability there - is that what you’re asking? If the protesters are coming up with that on their own then I’m not sure she would be liable, unless she acknowledged those claims and didn’t correct them.

If the protester simply made up the claim out of thin air then they would probably be subject to liability.

In her Instagram rant,  Waterbury writes "He sexually assaulted you,  whether you forgive him or not".   She doesn't include names,  but it's evident by the context that she is referring to Alexa Maxwell and Amar Ramasar.   She also claims that Ramasar threatened her,  which is new as far as I know.  She apparently believes that she can be outraged on Maxwell's behalf and is furious that Maxwell is still with Ramasar.  She also spews invective at producer Scott Rudin for not firing Ramasar.  As a veteran Broadway producer,  Rudin has a thick skin,  but he's not known for being soft and cuddly.   He might sic his legal attack dogs on her if she continues to include him in her unsupported rants.

Is Amar Ramasar actually a public figure just because he performs on stage?  I thought that public figures have to actually be famous people.  I'd be willing to bet that the average New Yorker has no idea who he is.

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First random thought: My lawyer once told me that, "anyone can sue anyone for anything at any time." Here in the USA, I've found that to be true.

Two: Waterbury is using RAINN's definition of sexual assault which includes nonconsensual online sharing of sexually explicit images. Sometimes it's called digital sexual assault, revenge porn, cyber assault, etc. I don't think all of the protesters understand the distinction. It's certainly unclear to many who comment on Waterbury's feed. If Ramasar didn't pass on her images to anyone (which he claims he didn't and she does not believe) then he hasn't committed digital sexual assault against Waterbury. When Waterbury says "he sexually assaulted you" she must mean that Ramasar committed digital assault against Alexa Maxwell. [gotta say digital sexual assault is an unfortunate term. Kind of sounds like finger rape]

Three: In New York City, and throughout the United States, we have a right to peacefully protest on any public sidewalk. We do not have the right to block entrances or exits, or disrupt traffic. We do not have the right to use amplification. Waterbury and WSS Protest can legally protest as long as they like.

I don't know about defamation or slander, but Waterbury is repeatedly calling him a sexual predator. My sympathy for her is fading mostly because I don't see any evidence that he is a predator based on ANY definition of that word. 

Four: NY has a revenge porn law on the books, but it requires malicious intent. The person sending the images must be shown to have an intent to harm the person(s) in the photos. This law doesn't say anything about requiring consent. Nothing requiring consent to take the photo (at least not in the revenge porn law, privacy laws probably include consent) and nothing about consent to share the photos. I don't see how Waterbury's case against Ramasar, or NYCB for that matter, will hold up in court. No doubt that's why she's making a big push tonight at WSS's opening.

https://slate.com/technology/2019/07/revenge-porn-law-new-york.html

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What would be the grounds for Ramassar's attempting to abrogate the protesters' first amendment rights of  free speech and the right to assemble?  The protesters' words have not caused him to lose employment.   Subjectively, the protesters' words could be considered to be in bad taste, but there are a lot of things stated that are abhorrent that are not unlawful conduct or  speech. 

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57 minutes ago, BalanchineFan said:

 

Two: Waterbury is using RAINN's definition of sexual assault which includes nonconsensual online sharing of sexually explicit images. Sometimes it's called digital sexual assault, revenge porn, cyber assault, etc. I don't think all of the protesters understand the distinction. It's certainly unclear to many who comment on Waterbury's feed. If Ramasar didn't pass on her images to anyone (which he claims he didn't and she does not believe) then he hasn't committed digital sexual assault against Waterbury. When Waterbury says "he sexually assaulted you" she must mean that Ramasar committed digital assault against Alexa Maxwell. [gotta say digital sexual assault is an unfortunate term. Kind of sounds like finger rape]

Three: In New York City, and throughout the United States, we have a right to peacefully protest on any public sidewalk. We do not have the right to block entrances or exits, or disrupt traffic. We do not have the right to use amplification. Waterbury and WSS Protest can legally protest as long as they like.

I don't know about defamation or slander, but Waterbury is repeatedly calling him a sexual predator. My sympathy for her is fading mostly because I don't see any evidence that he is a predator based on ANY definition of that word. 

 

RAINN's definition does not have the force of law.  At any rate,  the images were never online.

While there is a right to peaceful protest,  some of Waterbury's followers are taking it way too far by harassing other members of the WSS cast through their social media.  The producers have had to hire cyberstalking experts to deal with the problem,  and Actors Equity issued a statement urging affected cast members to bring problems to their attention.

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4 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

ome of Waterbury's followers are taking it way too far by harassing other members of the WSS cast through their social media.  The producers have had to hire cyberstalking experts to deal with the problem,  and Actors Equity issued a statement urging affected cast members to bring problems to their attention.

This is appalling behavior, and I think Waterbury should say so.

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I don't think Ramasar has a very good defamation case either. He's likely a limited-purpose public figure for defamation purposes. Unsavory and inappropriate as his actions were, I personally think calling him a sexual predator is highly misleading. But from the NYT article, it seems like the protestors using that word are using it out of ignorance and carelessness (negligence), rather than malice, which is the standard public figures must meet in a defamation suit.

Ramasar might have better luck moving for a gag order in the current case. He could also trying moving for a more limited gag order or protective order enjoining Waterbury from mentioning Maxwell or contacting her.

What happened to Waterbury was abhorrent. But that doesn't mean she should harass people who don't completely agree with her. Her stoking up online trolls like this makes me very nervous. I do feel very sorry for Maxwell.

1 hour ago, Josette said:

What would be the grounds for Ramassar's attempting to abrogate the protesters' first amendment rights of  free speech and the right to assemble?  The protesters' words have not caused him to lose employment.   Subjectively, the protesters' words could be considered to be in bad taste, but there are a lot of things stated that are abhorrent that are not unlawful conduct or  speech. 

I don't think the First Amendment is implicated here. The First Amendment applies to government restrictions, not actions by other individuals.

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13 hours ago, cinnamonswirl said:

I don't think Ramasar has a very good defamation case either. He's likely a limited-purpose public figure for defamation purposes. Unsavory and inappropriate as his actions were, I personally think calling him a sexual predator is highly misleading. But from the NYT article, it seems like the protestors using that word are using it out of ignorance and carelessness (negligence), rather than malice, which is the standard public figures must meet in a defamation suit.

 

I wonder if the protesters are ignorant and negligent. According to what I've read, they are claiming that Ramasar "violated women." "Violate" in this context is generally taken to mean "rape" and this will be particularly true for casual passersby who don't know the details. Hard to believe Waterbury and the protesters aren't aware of this. Whether that improves Ramasar's case for defamation I don't know, but it goes well beyond "misleading."

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I also don't think Ramasar has a case for defamation. Even if he does, the point of a motion to dismiss is to avoid litigation, right? I doubt he would voluntarily put himself through that. With opening night behind him, I don't know how many more headlines the protests can generate. It might just run out of steam on its own.

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On 2/22/2020 at 12:42 AM, yukionna4869 said:

I also don't think Ramasar has a case for defamation. Even if he does, the point of a motion to dismiss is to avoid litigation, right? I doubt he would voluntarily put himself through that. With opening night behind him, I don't know how many more headlines the protests can generate. It might just run out of steam on its own.

I did see that Alexandra used the word pedophile to describe Amar. I think he may have a strong case against her there.   

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2 hours ago, Fairandlove said:

I did see that Alexandra used the word pedophile to describe Amar. I think he may have a strong case against her there.   

That’s definitely troubling. Could you be more specific on where you saw that? I’d like to see exactly what she said. Thanks!

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In her recent Instagram story, which she's saved to her profile (you can still go see it), Waterbury says she realizes that "pedophile" is a controversial term, but after seeing the texts it is clear to her "that's what he's after" (implying Amar, as this comes after a long rant about him, in particular).  She then goes on to say that, in order to be "politically correct," she will now "address Amar as a 'sexual predator who preys on really young people because they are really young.'"  She also typed the phrase I just wrote in quotes onto the story.

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2 hours ago, Leah said:

I think that gets closer to reckless disregard that could show actual malice, but I still think it's difficult as she could say it’s her honest opinion and he is a limited purpose public figure. 

But yeesh, she really needs to stop. She could be achieving something meaningful but she doesn’t know how and she will probably be demolished if/when she testifies because of her careless statements.

I don’t see how making an accusation of someone being a pedophile can be considered ‘her opinion’. Either you are or you aren’t. 
 

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1 minute ago, Leah said:

You’re right but she’s saying that his actions make him a pedophile. That’s an opinion and she seems to have clarified it. She’s not, it would appear, making something up out of malicious intent, which is what he would need to prove. 

I disagree since nobody involved in any of the accusations was a minor, how did his actions make him anything close to a pedophile? She was an adult. In one of her stories she boldly stated “these men are pedophiles”.

 This doesn’t seem like an opinion, it is a strong and false accusation. 

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1 minute ago, Leah said:

She seems to think that going after younger women makes you a pedophile. Yes, she’s completely wrong. But when it comes to public figures it’s very hard to win a defamation case against someone who is stating an honestly held belief. 

Perhaps, but it doesn’t seem likely for somebody studying at Columbia University to not know the difference. 

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23 minutes ago, Leah said:

But Ramasar would have to prove she didn’t. That’s the problem.

She said in the same story where she said “these men are pedophiles”, that “pictures had to be investigated for underage people”. So there’s proof that she understands the distinction right there. 

To the extent that nobody was arrested and charged as a child sex offender I think it’s obvious that this didn’t occur. Amar’s lawyer recently stated that Alexandra and the protesters have been throwing words around as if they have no meaning. 

Edited by Fairandlove
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Sadly, pedophile is used colloquially as a pejorative, like chicken hawk was used fairly freely among gay men of my generation.  (I'm not sure if it's still used.). 

Edited to add:. And many college-educated people with advanced degrees believe that pedophilia involves all people under the age of consent and/or significantly younger, when it actually means adults who are attracted to pre-pubescent children.  I don't remember any texts quoted in the lawsuit that suggested any of the men involved were interested in pre-pubescent students at SAB.

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8 minutes ago, Helene said:

Sadly, pedophile is used colloquially as a pejorative, like chicken hawk was used fairly freely among gay men of my generation.  (I'm not sure if it's still used.). 

Ah yes I understand what you’re saying. Similar to the term jail bait.

I agree it will be interesting to see if there are any legal rebuttals to her public facing stories/posts.

 

 

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On 2/21/2020 at 9:53 PM, Leah said:

Violate is not just an old-timey euphemism for rape. It is very common for it to be used in situations where ones privacy and dignity have been invaded. I would definitely say that Ramasar violated women. The fact that some people may misinterpret that does not mean that it is defamation as it is at the very least an honestly held opinion.

And to be clear, once again: negligence on the part of protesters is not enough to make a defamation case, you need actual malice here as Ramasar is a limited purpose public figure.

 In such a case people will usually say that they "felt" violated, recognizing the distinction. You can also "violate" someone's privacy. However, to say that someone violated a woman has a specific meaning - sexual assault. Ramasar did not "violate women." Period. It's completely and recklessly misleading to say otherwise, regardless of whether he has a case for defamation or not -- although it woudn't surprise me if Waterbury is getting close to some definition of actual malice.

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41 minutes ago, dirac said:

 In such a case people will usually say that they "felt" violated, recognizing the distinction. You can also "violate" someone's privacy. However, to say that someone violated a woman has a specific meaning - sexual assault. Ramasar did not "violate women." Period. It's completely and recklessly misleading to say otherwise, regardless of whether he has a case for defamation or not -- although it woudn't surprise me if Waterbury is getting close to some definition of actual malice.

Violation is not just physical. Many child molesters pass around photos of underage girls. Are they not violating those girls?

I'm disgusted by shaming of women for being angry and having feelings. 

ETA: the Harvey Weinstein case just proves how "violating" women isn't back-of-the-alley rape, but can be just as violent and traumatic.

Edited by canbelto
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11 minutes ago, Leah said:

To be clear, this is the quote: “You have manipulated the women you violated into claiming they consented when, even if they had consented to you taking photos, they were unaware of them being sent."

Wait, that's the only time she's documented as using the term "violated"? Yeah, that's a totally reasonable use of the word.

12 minutes ago, Leah said:

In the context it's very clear that she is not accusing him of physical sexual assault.

Completely clear.

13 minutes ago, Leah said:

Waterbury is certainly behaving emotionally and to be fair unwisely for someone currently a party to a civil suit. She was in a relationship with a severe power imbalance with a man who degraded and humiliated her to his friends. And instead of understanding why that may make someone upset, people are convinced that she is up to no good and are therefore parsing every word she says to try to prove that she is simply conniving to destroy people.

This.

14 minutes ago, Leah said:

The fact that her honest feelings do not fit your grammar does not mean she has actual malice. Maybe you believe that Ramasar has been sufficiently punished already, but that does not mean that Waterbury is just deviously making things up for her own ends.

This.

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10 minutes ago, Leah said:

Maybe you believe that Ramasar has been sufficiently punished already, but that does not mean that Waterbury is just deviously making things up for her own ends.

I have posted the Change.org petition below which Alexandra has actively participated in, both as a protestor and linking to it via her social media. The texts quoted were written by Chase Finlay, not Amar, which is the first misleading point.

It states that he has violated ‘countless women with intent to violate more’. This is also misleading, there were only two women involved with Amar’s participation and any texts speaking of intent were from Finlay or Loghitano,  not Amar.

Whilst Waterbury didn’t start this petition she has made no efforts to clarify or amend these points.

 

“Last year, dancer Alexandra Waterbury, a former student at the School of American Ballet, found out that her then-boyfriend, principal dancer with New York City Ballet, Chase Finlay, along with several other dancers including fellow principal Amar Ramasar, had been taking pictures and videos of dancers engaging in sexual acts with them and sending them around.

Alexandra was not aware that these pictures and videos had been taken, and she definitely had not consented for them to be shared. The texts that have been released from these dancers are truly vile, and snippets that have been released include "You have any pictures of girls you’ve f*cked? I’ll send you some . . . ballerina girls I’ve made scream and squirt," and "fucked a 20-year-old ballerina and her sister! That was my first threesome with family members. It was incredible!"

I am sure that I am not the only person for whom this has struck a cord. Although the dancers were fired by New York City Ballet shortly after the incident, this decision was shortly after rejected, and they were rehired with virtually no consequences. I am shocked and appalled, and although I hope that Alexandra and other victims will get the justice they deserve come a trial next year, there is something we can do now.

West Side Story opens on Broadway on February 20, and Amar Ramasar, one of the main parties involved in the picture and video exchange, is starring as Bernardo. There is no reason why someone who has taken advantage of his power and violated countless women, while stating his intent to violate more, should be able to show his face onstage. Please join me in protesting his position in the musical by signing this petition. Every signature and share is so appreciated and so important. Help make sure that the theater remains a place where EVERYONE can feel safe, and help get Amar Ramasar off the stage.”
 

 

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2 hours ago, Leah said:

When the Manhattan DA declined to prosecute, it was because they could not find evidence independently of what Waterbury had saved.

Could someone clarify where this complaint stands? What happens when the DA declines to prosecute? I assume this case is ongoing so I'm confused. It hasn't been dropped has it? I would understand if they couldn't find evidence about involvement of the NYCB or SAB, but surely those pictures and emails would be sufficient to continue a case against Finlay (and possibly Ramasar) - no?

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