The New York City Ballet had to fire two of its male principal dancers over the weekend after they were accused in a lawsuit of exchanging photos and videos containing sexual content.
Zachary Catazaro, 29, and Amar Ramasar, 36, are named in the lawsuit and were even suspended at the end of August for “inappropriate communications,” officials confirmed to The New York Post.
The situation gets even worse though as the two accused ex-New York City Ballet dancers seem to just be reflecting a broader culture. Student-dancer Alexandra Waterbury, 20, filed a lawsuit against the company earlier this month and included her ex-boyfriend in the lawsuit as well. She said the company was a “breeding ground for sexual exploitation.”
She alleges her boyfriend, Chase Finlay, was the person who got the exchanges started between Catazaro and Ramasar after he wrote, “You have any pictures of girls you’ve f–ked? I’ll send you some [hot] ballerina girls I’ve made scream,” in a message he sent to a number of men who worked in the company. Finlay has since resigned.
The Manhattan Supreme Court suit also alleges that Finlay shared with the men secret recordings and photographs of women with whom he had sexual encounters.
Ramasar was one of the people who got the messages and even sent back a picture that showed the exposed breasts of a ballet dancer.
The Jewish Voice has written about these issues before. New York Fashion Week officials are getting involved with the #MeToo movement as well now as they are trying to make sure that their models feel as comfortable and safe as possible, including adding more private dressing rooms, especially for underage models, according to The New York Post.
“The industry is now holding itself accountable to protecting models,” said Steven Kolb, chief executive of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. “The #MeToo movement created a space for models to speak out about harassment, assault or other issues that violated their personal well-being.”
Women and some men shared their stories on social media under the hashtag #MeToo after actress Alyssa Milano posted a message last year on Twitter that said, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘Me too’ as a reply to this tweet, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”
“Being raped once made it easier to be raped again. I instinctually shut down. My body remembered, so it protected me. I disappeared. #metoo,” actress Evan Rachel Wood wrote as part of a series of tweets on her experience.
Milano called the Weinstein allegations “disturbing” in an essay last week, but added that she had been reluctant to comment publicly because of her friendship with Weinstein’s wife, Georgina Chapman.
“I am constantly part of this conversation even if I don’t publicly comment on specific scandals,” she wrote. “Sexual harassment and assault in the workplace are not just about Harvey Weinstein. We must change things in general. We must do better for women everywhere.”
A similar social media campaign is playing out on Instagram among models who are sharing stories of abuse and harassment in the fashion industry.
By: Erick Fischerman