Two years after a photo-sharing scandal involving specific pictures rocked New York City Ballet, a decide has dismissed a lot of the authorized claims made by the girl whose lawsuit began all of it.
The girl, Alexandra Waterbury, had sued her ex-boyfriend, Chase Finlay, saying that he had despatched sexually specific pictures and brief movies of her, taken with out her information, to others affiliated with the corporate. Because Mr. Finlay had been a principal dancer at City Ballet, Ms. Waterbury additionally sued the corporate, in addition to its affiliated academy, the School of American Ballet, which she had attended from 2013 to 2016.
Also listed as defendants within the lawsuit had been two different principal dancers, Amar Ramasar and Zachary Catazaro, who weren’t accused of sharing sexually specific pictures of Ms. Waterbury however of different girls affiliated with the corporate or faculty.
In a determination launched late Friday night time, Judge James Edward d’Auguste, of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, dismissed all claims in opposition to the ballet firm and faculty, in addition to these in opposition to Mr. Ramasar and Mr. Catazaro. The solely authorized declare that survived was one in opposition to Mr. Finlay that claims he violated a metropolis administrative code prohibiting illegal disclosure of an intimate picture.
“Mr. Finlay’s actions, as alleged, in secretly taking and then disclosing intimate images of Waterbury without her knowledge or consent, are deplorable,” Judge d’Auguste wrote, however he dismissed six out of seven of her claims in opposition to him, together with assault and intentional infliction of emotional misery.
A lawyer for Ms. Waterbury, Jordan Okay. Merson, stated in a assertion that he disagreed with the courtroom’s interpretation of the regulation within the determination.
“Ms. Waterbury will continue to fight to protect New Yorkers from going through what she has,” he stated within the assertion. Barring a profitable enchantment from Ms. Waterbury, the choice implies that New York City Ballet, in addition to Mr. Ramasar and Mr. Catazaro, has been eliminated as defendants from the lawsuit. Ms. Waterbury had blamed the corporate in her lawsuit for condoning a “fraternity-like atmosphere” that “permeates the Ballet and its dancers, and emboldens them to disregard the law and violate the basic rights of women.”
But as a result of Ms. Waterbury was by no means a pupil or worker of City Ballet — and he or she was not a pupil on the faculty on the time of the “unconsented-to recordings” or textual content exchanges — the decide discovered that the corporate didn’t shirk accountability and dismissed claims of negligence in opposition to it. The decide additionally stated the plaintiff didn’t carry ahead particular allegations that the corporate had purpose to know its staff had a propensity for such habits, rejecting Ms. Waterbury’s claims of negligent hiring and retention at City Ballet.
A spokesman for the corporate, Rob Daniels, stated in a assertion that City Ballet was “pleased that the court recognized that the company bears no responsibility in this matter.”
In 2018, as a results of the photo-sharing scandal, City Ballet fired each Mr. Ramasar and Mr. Catazaro. But the corporate was later ordered by an arbitrator to reverse the terminations; Mr. Ramasar returned as a principal dancer, but Mr. Catazaro decided not to rejoin the company.
The photo-sharing scandal, along with the retirement of Peter Martins, the company’s longtime leader, amid an investigation into reports of physical and emotional abuse (reports that he denied), helped spark a reassessment of the culture at City Ballet. Some women in the company made it clear to management that they would not be comfortable dancing with the men who were involved in the text exchanges, but in spring 2019, Mr. Ramasar was back onstage.
The claims against Mr. Ramasar resurfaced this year with the opening of “West Side Story” on Broadway, in which he played Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks. A group of protesters showed up outside the theater for several nights, demanding that Mr. Ramasar be fired from the show because of the sexual misconduct allegations against him. Mr. Ramasar’s girlfriend, Alexa Maxwell, a member of the corps de ballet at City Ballet who was the subject of the sexually explicit photos Mr. Ramasar had shared, defended his role in the show and said she had forgiven him.
In a statement sent through his lawyer, Mr. Ramasar, who also received explicit photos of Ms. Waterbury, said that he was grateful for the dismissal of Ms. Waterbury’s claims against him and that he was “looking forward to the future, having grown and learned from the past.”
Another defendant who was effectively dropped from the case by the judge’s decision was Jared Longhitano, who is described in Ms. Waterbury’s lawsuit as a junior board member at City Ballet. Her lawsuit said that Mr. Longhitano had participated in the exchange of “lewd, degrading and demeaning text messages about ballet dancers,” and that he once texted Mr. Finlay, “I bet we could tie some of them up and abuse them like farm animals.” The judge dismissed Ms. Waterbury’s claim of negligence against him.
Mr. Longhitano said in a brief phone interview that he was “satisfied with the decision and was looking forward to moving on.”
The surviving claim against Mr. Finlay, who resigned from the company before Ms. Waterbury filed her lawsuit, relates to a city law that made it illegal for someone to distribute an “intimate image” of a person without consent, when the intent is to cause “economic, physical or substantial emotional harm” if those images are spread.
A lawyer for Mr. Finlay, Ira Kleiman, could not be reached on Monday. In 2018, Mr. Kleiman called the lawsuit “nothing more than allegations that should not be taken as fact.”