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zxDaveM

It's now official - Scarlett out

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Statement just issued by the Royal Opera House:

The Royal Opera House has confirmed that Liam Scarlett’s position with The Royal Ballet ended on 23 March 2020. As he will no longer work with, or for, The Royal Ballet, it has been agreed that the scheduled performances of Liam Scarlett’s Symphonic Dances will not go ahead this summer. We can confirm that the independent investigation has concluded and found there were no matters to pursue in relation to alleged contact with students of The Royal Ballet School.

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Copied from a Tweet.  An odd conclusion - if, indeed, that's what it is - to the situation.

 

 

Screen Shot 2020-03-23 at 15.39.05.png

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I don't understand. And there really is no point issuing a statement that raises more questions than it answers.

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You didn't do anything wrong but we're firing you anyway?

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the 2 obvious questions that spring to my mind (and most other people I imagine) - if nothing to pursue, why cancel Symphonic Dances? And if cancelling SD because of 'something', why isn't it being pursued?

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The ROH/RB is trying to close this down - i.e. "There's nothing to see here" - but they're making it sound as if there very much is.

Where does this leave Liam Scarlett - guilty by insinuation? but of what?

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14 minutes ago, zxDaveM said:

the 2 obvious questions that spring to my mind (and most other people I imagine) - if nothing to pursue, why cancel Symphonic Dances? And if cancelling SD because of 'something', why isn't it being pursued?

 

And why specify nothing to pursue with RBS?

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I read the statement as that there was no matters to pursue in relation to the Royal Ballet School students therefore it was incidents within the company that means he no longer works for them.

 

Could be wrong of course.

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And this is the message from Chris Powney.

 

I hope this email finds you well.

 

You may see in the press today that the investigation into Liam Scarlett has now concluded.

 

We note from the ROH’s statement that its investigation found no matters to pursue in relation to alleged contact with our students, but can confirm that we have no plans to work with Liam Scarlett in the future.

 

At this challenging time, we hope that our students are staying connected with the School both academically and creatively, and that we can continue to foster a strong sense of community until we are able to return to work and train at White Lodge and Floral Street.

 

During the coming weeks, our Academic, Artistic and Healthcare teams will be supporting students directly. We will also be providing a range of social media content that we hope is helpful to our own students as well as the wider ballet community.

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Scarlett’s version of Swan Lake will continue? Guess so...too expensive to scrap.

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Posted (edited)

A very odd and abrupt statement, being more used to statements about football manager departures I guess I expect terms like 'by mutal consent' or a recognition of the issue that has lead to his departure....and of course thanks for all his efforts. They've cleared up the RBS issue, but not the bullying accusation which I thought was previously public knowledge.

Edited by Rob S
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 A sad day. I don't mean that he shouldn't have gone I mean sad that it happened at all, but I am glad it has come to light now and not in many years time. 

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18 minutes ago, Jeannette said:

Scarlett’s version of Swan Lake will continue? Guess so...too expensive to scrap.

 

I hope so because apart from the ending I think it's fantastic....I presume they managed to put it on this year with no rehearsal  input from him so don't see why they can't in future

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A very bizarre statement.  I agree with posters above that it is very weird to say 'there is nothing to pursue with the RBS' but we are severing all contact with him going forward.  He must have done something to make the RB want to cut him loose, unless even the fact that there was an investigation was totally inconducive to continue working with him.  I can't imagine that he would jump instead of being pushed as the RB could have continued to be one of his geese laying the golden eggs (especially since no-one else much will work with him).  Will be interesting to see what happens with Swan Lake in the future.  Curioser and curioser.

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1 minute ago, Rob S said:

 

I hope so because apart from the ending I think it's fantastic....I presume they managed to put it on this year with no rehearsal  input from him so don't see why they can't in future

 

There might be rights issues? I think I read somewhere that rights typically revert to the choreographer after 3 years, but I've no idea what the arrangement is in this case, considering the large investment and tangled provenance.

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13 minutes ago, Sim said:

A very bizarre statement.  I agree with posters above that it is very weird to say 'there is nothing to pursue with the RBS' but we are severing all contact with him going forward.  He must have done something to make the RB want to cut him loose, unless even the fact that there was an investigation was totally inconducive to continue working with him.  I can't imagine that he would jump instead of being pushed as the RB could have continued to be one of his geese laying the golden eggs (especially since no-one else much will work with him).  Will be interesting to see what happens with Swan Lake in the future.  Curioser and curioser.

 

But doesn't it leave other companies not knowing whether they want to work with him or not? Are they going to base their decisions on rumour now? Very unsatisfactory, for all concerned.

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Glad to see they have finally come to some sort of conclusion (although slightly vague and confusing statement) and finally taken some action  and terminated their relationship with Scarlett. One must presume/hope there must have been some professional or moral line that Scarlett crossed in order to have been let go, as surely if he had done nothing wrong the relationship would have continued? (It would be rather unfair otherwise?) 

 

Having said that hopefully ROH will be able to separate the work of Swan Lake with the man Liam Scarlett. In no way should bullying/harassment/unprofessional conduct etc be tolerated but I don't think continuing to perform Swan Lake (or his other works) means they have tolerated this behaviour. Which is why it's a bit of an odd decision about Symphonic Dances - why not continue to perform it regardless? And why is it accepted to perform Swan Lake but not anything else by Scarlett?

 

Swan Lake was such a huge investment and I do think it's a good production so it would be a shame (and also a huge financial loss which presumably would have wider implications for the ROH) if they decided to scrap it after only 1.5 airings and re-do the whole thing. Perhaps a compromise could be MacFarlane's costumes/sets etc stay, but some choreography and plot is tweaked. But it seems a little silly to do this just for pretences sake, presumably if a new choreographer came in to do this it would be a little demeaning they weren't given free hand to do a total rework of the production the way Scarlett was. I do feel a little uncomfortable about Scarlett having such a huge chunk of the profits from this which is something the ROH will have to consider. Having said that I would still go and I wonder how many people would actively boycott Swan Lake because of it's connection to Scarlett. 

 

But I do wonder if this means we won't see Frankenstein again (no great loss in my opinion to be honest) or any of Scarlett's other works at ROH which are more obviously connected to him as independent/unique works as opposed to a reworking of a classical, well known work. 

 

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5 minutes ago, bridiem said:

 

But doesn't it leave other companies not knowing whether they want to work with him or not? Are they going to base their decisions on rumour now? Very unsatisfactory, for all concerned.

 

Surely there is an arts world/company grapevine which other companies will in essence know what Scarlett did/did not do, or could find out 'off the record'? Not saying this is necessarily correct, transparency is important but I guess it's balancing a clear open statement detailing exactly what he was accused of/found to be guilty of (which as the public do we really need to know?) against the privacy of dancers/others that may be involved in raising allegations etc. 

 

The statement is worded badly but I can understand why they didn't want to go into further details for the sake of those involved. I guess we need to trust the ROH/independent investigation made the right findings/decisions in this case. 

 

I guess if the ROH has decided to terminate its relationship with Scarlett other companies (whether rightly or wrongly) will face pressure/questions if they continue a relationship with him and I imagine Scarlett will see other work/contracts terminated. 

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, JNC said:

 

Having said that hopefully ROH will be able to separate the work of Swan Lake with the man Liam Scarlett. In no way should bullying/harassment/unprofessional conduct etc be tolerated but I don't think continuing to perform Swan Lake (or his other works) means they have tolerated this behaviour. Which is why it's a bit of an odd decision about Symphonic Dances - why not continue to perform it regardless? And why is it accepted to perform Swan Lake but not anything else by Scarlett?

 

 

 

I don't reckon there will be any more performances at the ROH this season so I'm surprised they've mentioned Symphonic Dances in this statement.

 

Edit: I suppose SD bookings were open for Premium Friends, just not the public yet

Edited by Rob S
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4 minutes ago, JNC said:

I do feel a little uncomfortable about Scarlett having such a huge chunk of the profits from this which is something the ROH will have to consider. Having said that I would still go and I wonder how many people would actively boycott Swan Lake because of it's connection to Scarlett. 

 

But since nothing at all has been said about why the ROH (or indeed the RBS) will not work with him again, how is anyone supposed to know how we should think about him, or about Swan Lake?

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, bridiem said:

 

But since nothing at all has been said about why the ROH (or indeed the RBS) will not work with him again, how is anyone supposed to know how we should think about him, or about Swan Lake?

 

Perhaps not the answer you're looking for but to me the fact he's out leads to an assumption /understanding that he did something 'wrong'. Whatever that may be. Hopefully not as wrong to be illegal otherwise the investigation surely should have been conducted by the police. But wrong enough to be unprofessional/immoral/not befitting ROH's standards and public image. (If he hasn't done anything 'wrong' I'd like to think the ROH would support him against rumours etc.) 

 

People can either continue to appreciate his work as separate from some sort of wrong he's committed (e.g. the way you may still watch a Harvey Weinstein produced movie and enjoy it) or decide you don't want him to be making any financial gain from any work he's been involved in (i.e. don't watch any more Weinstein movies/go to Swan Lake). 

 

For me, I'm not that interested in what 'wrong' he commited. I don't really need to know, other than the fact that it's now been dealt with as appropriate (I hope). My only concern is this had been going on for a sustained period of time (as some articles alleged, of course I don't know one way or the other), why ROH/RBS etc took so long to do something about it (if they in fact did). I am more interested in whether or not there was a 'cover up' (I am not suggesting in any way that there was, but it would be nice to be reassured there wasn't and action was taken immediately once there was any whiff of impropriety).

 

Crucially I would also like clarification from ROH/RBS about what they have learnt from this (i.e. what safeguarding measures or other measures they are putting in place e.g. someone available to anonymously report concerns to etc) and how they will ensure whatever happened doesn't happen again in future. 

 

 

Edited by JNC
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19 minutes ago, JNC said:

 

Perhaps not the answer you're looking for but to me the fact he's out leads to an assumption /understanding that he did something 'wrong'.

 

 

 

Or maybe did nothing wrong enough to be suspended for x months and so resigned

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Posted (edited)

I agree it raises a number of questions, but ROH no doubt has good reason to release the statement in this form. It's doubtless a delicate matter, legally speaking.

 

Maybe I'm just not curious enough, but I don't think we automatically have the right to know the whys and wherefores of it all.

Edited by Lizbie1
Missing words
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1 minute ago, Rob S said:

 

Or maybe did nothing wrong enough to be suspended for x months and so resigned

 

Quite right Rob, the statement can be read that way so perhaps I am wrong to assume. But then why would they not say Scarlett resigned? Or why would Scarlett not announce a resignation himself? 

 

I have also only just realised that the statement was sent to the press but there is nothing posted on their twitter or main webpage about this which just seems like they are trying to sweep it under the carpet (even though they know press would report it?) but has only led to things looking more suspicious -  why not put something official on their twitter/website? 

 

It would be odd for them to make a point about not doing Symphonic Dances though if there was no wrongdoing...but perhaps it is also wrong to assume this. 

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What I'm reading between the lines were that there were no issues with children at the Royal Ballet School but that there might have been many other issues with the Royal Ballet company that they're not willing to disclose at the time.

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2 hours ago, JNC said:

 

Perhaps not the answer you're looking for but to me the fact he's out leads to an assumption /understanding that he did something 'wrong'. Whatever that may be. Hopefully not as wrong to be illegal otherwise the investigation surely should have been conducted by the police. But wrong enough to be unprofessional/immoral/not befitting ROH's standards and public image. (If he hasn't done anything 'wrong' I'd like to think the ROH would support him against rumours etc.) 

 

People can either continue to appreciate his work as separate from some sort of wrong he's committed (e.g. the way you may still watch a Harvey Weinstein produced movie and enjoy it) or decide you don't want him to be making any financial gain from any work he's been involved in (i.e. don't watch any more Weinstein movies/go to Swan Lake). 

 

For me, I'm not that interested in what 'wrong' he commited. I don't really need to know, other than the fact that it's now been dealt with as appropriate (I hope). My only concern is this had been going on for a sustained period of time (as some articles alleged, of course I don't know one way or the other), why ROH/RBS etc took so long to do something about it (if they in fact did). I am more interested in whether or not there was a 'cover up' (I am not suggesting in any way that there was, but it would be nice to be reassured there wasn't and action was taken immediately once there was any whiff of impropriety).

 

Crucially I would also like clarification from ROH/RBS about what they have learnt from this (i.e. what safeguarding measures or other measures they are putting in place e.g. someone available to anonymously report concerns to etc) and how they will ensure whatever happened doesn't happen again in future. 

 

 

Great post, JNC.  Like yourself, I have no interest in what this man may or may not have done.  This is between him and his employers and nothing to do with me.  It certainly wont stop me enjoying Swan Lake again or continuing to find Frankenstein dire.

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I guess the ROH has very good reasons to end the collaboration with Liam Scarlett but I can't help thinking how devastating it must be for him and his family. 

 

A very very sad situation...

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