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Catazaro Declines NYCB Reinstatement; Ramasar to Rejoin


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2 hours ago, KikiRVA said:

Ramasar is on in week four in Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet opposite Mearns.  https://www.nycballet.com/NYCB/media/NYCBMediaLibrary/PDFs/Press/Casting/NYCB-Casting_May-14-19-2019_2.pdf

Thank you KikiRVA.  I can't wait to see him!  Just to let you know, there is also a thread under NYCB for Spring 2019 where members are discussing this.  https://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/44588-spring-2019/page/3/

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On 4/29/2019 at 5:34 PM, On Pointe said:

By its nature,  arbitration is narrow in scope.  NYCB doesn't  have to justify its reasoning as to the firing of Catazaro  and  Ramasar.  That would be a waste of time and money.  The arbitrator uses the firing as a starting point,  and must only determine if,  according to the terms of the AGMA contract,  the firing is justified.  While the arbitrator determined that the firing was not just,  I am surprised that he or she ruled that the suspensions were allowable.  It seems like an all-or-nothing situation to me.

Individuals will have to determine if seeing Ramasar onstage makes them feel some type of way.  But there are dancers up there now who have engaged in blatant adulterous affairs with other dancers,  and I don't  recall any public outcry against them.

My employer's Employee Manual states that employees who violate their rules on sexual harassment are "subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal", so I wouldn't find it surprising that there is a range of possible actions.

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Different workplaces have different standards.  The arbitrator was using the terms of the AGMA contract to make the determination.  If the contract terms violated/contradicted the law, that might be a different story.

Also, having standards in place sounds like a slam dunk, but isn't always the case.  NYCB gave a community standards argument to the press, although not necessarily to the arbitrator, but 1. That may or may not be part of the contract and 2. Even if it was, the underlying standards need to meet standards.

In my last two workplaces, every update or clarification to harassment policies of any kind needed an explicit electronic acceptance, in addition to the yearly retraining and acceptance.  There was training available or mandatory, and my current employer has an explicit and detailed list of what is considered harassment and other fireable behavior.

I'd be very surprised if three people at NYCB could agree on what "standards" means, whereas the managers at my company can cite chapter and verse.

Arbitrators work with contracts, not "I know it when I see it."

 

 

 

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On 4/19/2019 at 12:20 PM, Leah said:

I wonder if this means Catazaro will be permanently joining Munich? 

I have mixed feelings about Ramasar. He’s a great dancer and I don’t think he should have been fired, but his comments were rather vile. Hopefully his counseling is meaningful. 

I would love to know what comments you speak about Ramasar saying... in all my readings he never commented... he was not involved in the text messages.. is there something i did not catch?

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You did not catch:

1. The references made in the NYT to NYCB's acknowledgement that they were presented text messages by Waterbury's lawyer

2. The NYT reporting that the suspensions and eventual firings of both Catazaro and Ramasar were rooted at least in part in participation in text exchanges.

3. That the arbitrator found that while the firings weren't valid according to the contract, the suspensions were.

According to content cited in Waterbury's lawsuit, among other things, Ramasar was quoted as having asked for images that Finlay bragged to him about having.  

ETA: Plus the arbitrator ordered "counseling on the standards of for his conduct" as a condition of Ramasar's return.

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2 hours ago, Alex Reyes said:

I would love to know what comments you speak about Ramasar saying... in all my readings he never commented... he was not involved in the text messages.. is there something i did not catch?

I would refer you to his IG post from Sept. 17, 2018.  In his own word he admits he had photos, received photo's (although did not circulate the photos) and in addition, refers to the "messages" between him and Finlay being private.  

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Private messages are private messages but the ones listed in the actual suit still ongoing btw he was not involved in.  I read what was published and it said he was not involved in any of the obscene texts ...those were between Finlay and the board member only.  And all of this is alleged. If we were able to look at everyone in the companys phones I am sure there are texts and photos and not only the men.  The courts have spoken lets move forward with hope for the company and all.

 

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17 minutes ago, Alex Reyes said:

Private messages are private messages but the ones listed in the actual suit still ongoing btw he was not involved in. 

Neither statement is true, as the "private" messages were the basis of his upheld suspension and requirement for counseling to return to the Company, and he is listed in a number of them in the suit.  For example, #'s 91-95.

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The original complaint's #52 has the same quote as #95 in the amended version.  That was the only quote in the original complaint, which was before Ramasar, Longhitano, and Catazaro were added to the suit.

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On 5/8/2019 at 3:42 AM, Leah said:

Perhaps I just imagined it but I feel as though the original suit, prior to the amended version linked above, contained obscene dialogue purportedly made by Ramasar. If I am wrong then I take my statement back, but I do maintain his actions were still gross.

Can you please define what actions are gross. One can not just say actions are gross.  And as I said before no more gross then more than half of that company including many female dancers...  Ask around... I suppose 75 percent of the company should also be fired.  and then come back with their reputation tarnished.

 

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7 minutes ago, Alex Reyes said:

Can you please define what actions are gross. One can not just say actions are gross.  And as I said before no more gross then more than half of that company including many female dancers...  Ask around... I suppose 75 percent of the company should also be fired.  and then come back with their reputation tarnished.

 

You mention "half of the company including many female dancers ..." Do you mind giving specifics about what "half the company" is doing? And why 75% of the company deserves to be fired? Are you saying 75% of the company also ran up 200k worth of hotel damages after a drunken spree, and also said women deserved to be chained like animals and raped "like the sluts they are"?

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13 minutes ago, Alex Reyes said:

Can you please define what actions are gross. One can not just say actions are gross.  And as I said before no more gross then more than half of that company including many female dancers...  Ask around... I suppose 75 percent of the company should also be fired.  and then come back with their reputation tarnished.

 

One can just say actions described in the lawsuit documents are "gross," because it is an opinion of what is claimed in a publicly facing lawsuit.

What you can't do on Ballet Alert! is claim that "And as I said before no more gross then more than half of that company including many female dancers...  " because you have no public-facing official sources to substantiate your claim, which is in violation of the policies you agreed to abide by when your registered.   

Consider yourself warned.

 

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7 hours ago, nanushka said:

An interesting tidbit in today's New York Times piece on unions in the #metoo era:

Probably a very good idea to get that pinned down.

A couple of pertinent quotes:

'“Lots of women have tried to use the collective bargaining process in male-dominated industries and found that when they tried to grieve the conduct of a fellow union member they were labeled as traitors, as betraying the union or solidarity,” said Ana Avendaño, a former assistant general counsel at the A.F.L.-C.I.O. who now works as a consultant.'
No surprises there...

"One union, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, recently changed its publications to make it clear that its members not only have the right to a safe, healthy workplace, but also the responsibility to foster one."
You think?

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18 hours ago, pherank said:

A couple of pertinent quotes:

'“Lots of women have tried to use the collective bargaining process in male-dominated industries and found that when they tried to grieve the conduct of a fellow union member they were labeled as traitors, as betraying the union or solidarity,” said Ana Avendaño, a former assistant general counsel at the A.F.L.-C.I.O. who now works as a consultant.'
No surprises there...
 

What's unique about the NYCB case is that the company took action based on the complaint of a non-employee.  It wasn't the usual situation of workplace harassment involving fellow union members.

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The original complaint was raised by a non-employee, but once Waterbury's public accusation and the lawsuit hit, it was going to be difficult for NYCB to sweep Ramasar's and Catazaro's behavior against  co-workers under the rug.  (Waterbury didn't accuse them, even in the amended lawsuit, of distributing her images.) The arbitrator upheld their suspensions based on whatever smoking guns were dropped in NYCB's lap.

Finlay, had he not resigned before he could be fired, may have been a different story, as he had major, publicly disclosed strikes against him:  six-figure damages to a hotel room contracted by NYCB when they were on tour in DC and being ejected from class for showing up intoxicated.  That the accusations were coming from a non-employee might have been enough for the company to fire him outright.

 

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You could make a case against Ramasar,  although his alleged victim didn't.  But what action did Catazaro take against a co-worker?  It's not evident from the lawsuit.  He appears to be "collateral damage".

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Workplace violations don't need the victim to make a case or raise a violation.  One person can, for example, steal from another person's bank account, with the victim uninterested in pressing charges for whatever reason, and the bank can be responsible for bringing charges against the perpetrator.

#85 in the amended suit, for example, is a discussion about an NYCB corps member, a co-worker. #84 is where Catazaro is discussing an SAB student -- not Waterbury -- in the same vein. 

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I really wish that this case would go to court,  even though it's highly unlikely,  because it brings important unresolved issues to the foreground.  Catazaro is not accused of actually doing anything against a co-worker.  He's been punished for finding a co-worker sexually attractive and expressing his attraction in a message (granted in vulgar terms) where he had a reasonable expectation of privacy.  Is private speech,  that the alleged victim knew nothing about,  now going to be considered harassment?  To me,  this smacks of the Stasi,  the means by which the East Germans kept control of their citizens.  

11 hours ago, Helene said:

Workplace violations don't need the victim to make a case or raise a violation.  One person can, for example, steal from another person's bank account, with the victim uninterested in pressing charges for whatever reason, and the bank can be responsible for bringing charges against the perpetrator.

#85 in the amended suit, for example, is a discussion about an NYCB corps member, a co-worker. #84 is where Catazaro is discussing an SAB student -- not Waterbury -- in the same vein. 

In your example,  if one person steals from another,  and the victim makes no complaint,  who is the bank responsible to?  (This situation is not uncommon,  where family members avail themselves of funds that belong to wealthy relatives,  but the victims prefer not to prosecute.)  There is no indication that the photo Catazaro allegedly shared was taken non-consentually.  According to the suit,  the face of the woman in question was not revealed,  and she is described as an "ex-SAB student",  not a current one,  and over the age of eighteen.   SAB has been around a long time - she could be a sixty year old grandmother (although probably not!). 

The suit,  and to some extent the union,  seem to be conferring a quasi-parental status on the management of NYCB,  making the company responsible for policing the "incorrect" private thoughts of legal adults.  I'm not aware of any other union ruling involving performing artists that is remotely similar.  

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As I was told very early when email became a common work tool, don't write anything that you don't want forwarded, the more people in the "circle," the more chances for it to be shared, and expectations of privacy were a fantasy.

The bank would be acting on behalf of its own institutional rules and the integrity of its cash flow reporting, in addition to laws about reporting transfers and complying with anti-money laundering statutes.  I don't know if banks have any responsibility reporting gift transfers, since for Federal taxes, these count against the lifetime gift and tax exclusion.  There is a counter incentive for the bank to do nothing to please the customer or because it's a relatively small amount (in bank terms) for them not to bother, but it's not unheard of.

#84 discusses the former SAB student.  #85 discusses a NYCB corps member.

I don't see how the union is conferring anything:  it was the Company that was making a standards argument, and it was an arbitrator, not the union, who upheld the suspensions and required counseling on those standards as a condition of Ramasar's reinstatement.  While I don't remember a statement saying that the union was only fighting the firings, I don't see why the arbitrator would need to comment on the suspensions, if the union wasn't fighting both, but it could be possible they were speaking comprehensively.

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On 4/29/2019 at 9:17 AM, MarzipanShepherdess said:

What a mess. Just when it seemed the waters were settling at City Ballet following the long-awaited appointment of successors to Martins, the AGMA decision rocks everything again. Whatever one feels about the validity of the AGMA decision, it’s certainly a nightmare for the company from a donor relations and PR standpoint, and it sounds like it is causing at least some internal tension as well. 

From the NYT article, which I link to again for convenience:

Quote

Ms. Skolnick said that in the performing arts world — where employers must court the approval of audiences and patrons — many employers decide to take what she described as “extreme and swift” action against workers accused of misconduct. “Many employers understand that that’s the popular thing to do, that from a sort of P.R. standpoint, they’ve got a nightmare on their hands if they’re viewed as being soft on sexual harassment,” she said.

This appears to have happened at NYCB. The company leadership acted in panic mode and it backfired. They can point to the upholding of the suspensions, and apparently the company and union are in discussions about standards, which is positive.

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Brian Seibert writes in the New York Times about yesterday's matinee, including Amar Ramasar's return. A taste of the article's rather odd shifts and turns:

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“Theme and Variations” is an extraordinarily difficult dance. Making his debut in it on Saturday, Anthony Huxley fell. This wasn’t the sort of fall that his partner, Ashley Bouder, is known for: a go-for-it overshooting. Mr. Huxley is known for careful perfection, which he was demonstrating until, during an infamous series of turns on the ground and in the air, he hesitated — and lost his rhythm and footing. A beautiful dancer who has trouble projecting, he could use some of Mr. Ramasar’s un-self-conscious gusto.

Or that’s the sort of comparison I would usually make. Instead, this article must be about Mr. Ramasar’s homecoming and the response of his fans, their bravos and standing ovations. Those who were disturbed or disgusted — I spoke with some afterward — were quiet or drowned out or absent.

The insistent applause felt intended to obliterate the remaining questions. What about the many women aside from Ms. Mearns who were sharing the stage with Mr. Ramasar, and the rest of the women in the company? Will he be able to regain their trust? Or ours? Will this be a story of real contrition and forgiveness or of dirt pushed under the rug? 

Taking a bow, Mr. Ramasar flashed his big smile in relief. A little obliviousness has always been part of his charm. But he — and the new company leadership — should understand: He is not off the hook.

 

Edited by nanushka
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2 hours ago, dirac said:

From the NYT article, which I link to again for convenience:

This appears to have happened at NYCB. The company leadership acted in panic mode and it backfired. They can point to the upholding of the suspensions, and apparently the company and union are in discussions about standards, which is positive.

Well, I'm not sure we can know if, from a PR point of view, that it did simply backfire--it may have helped prevent some donors and audience members from walking away in disgust at that point and it sent out the message to the company's audience and to its dancers that the company was/is prepared to take the issues raised by the case seriously.  I know other fans (and donors too one assumes and dancers)  disagreed with the decision so likely they were angered in turn...But it seems to me hard to measure which decision might have done the most damage to the company's reputation. Nor am I certain that the company was panicking exactly if there was true internal concern and debate going on about the implications for the workplace of not taking further action. It may well have seemed like a reasonable and necessary decision that then, of course, was over-ruled by the arbitrator.  I suppose if people are making Ramasar some kind of hero that could be considered a backfire, but I expect there are a lot of people out there who don't view him quite in those terms. Obviously AGMA has been bending over backwards not to seem as if they don't care about the complexities and implications of the case for those who are unhappy Ramasar is back at NYCB.  Would they be doing so if they weren't hearing from women in their union? Seems unlikely.

(My own feeling is that Ramasar won his case--good for him. I don't begrudge him his legal victory. But had I been in the audience for his return to the company, I'm not one of those who would have been offering standing ovations and cheers at the fact of that return.)

 

Edited by Drew
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I find it ironic and troubling that the person whose photos Ramasar DID share is mostly left out of these conversations. The NYT loves to talk about the women in the company are supposedly “shocked” by his return; the paper chooses not to acknowledge that plenty of company members are probably pleased to have him back – including his girlfriend, who has every right to forgive him if she wants to! And this line about Mearns just wreaks of judgement: “And yet there was Ms. Mearns, one of City Ballet’s biggest stars, a woman who once dated Mr. Ramasar, there by his side, seeming, at least implicitly, to endorse him.” I love the Times but I’m getting so, so sick of these extremely one-sided, moralistic, agenda-driven articles in the dance section.

 

Edited by JuliaJ
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11 minutes ago, JuliaJ said:

I find it ironic and troubling that the person whose photos Ramasar DID share is mostly left out of these conversations. The NYT loves to talk about the women in the company are supposedly “shocked” by his return; the paper chooses not to acknowledge that plenty of company members are probably pleased to have him back – including his girlfriend, who has every right to forgive him if she wants to!

I don’t see Ramasar’s girlfriend’s personal  forgiveness of him as having any particular bearing on the case one way or another. I haven’t seen anyone (including Seibert) questioning her right to forgive him.

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