Vanessa James unaware of abuse allegations against former partner | Golden Skate

News Vanessa James unaware of abuse allegations against former partner

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4everchan

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Press conference ahead of Skate Canada.
Canadian figure skater Vanessa James says she's "deeply disappointed" in her former French partner Morgan Cipres, and had no knowledge of abusive behaviour while the two were competing together.

James, who competed with Cipres for France at the 2014 and '18 Olympics, recently came out of retirement to skate with Canada's two-time world champion Eric Radford.

During a conference call on Thursday ahead of next week's Skate Canada International, the 34-year-old James was asked about Cipres.

 

TontoK

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Well done to the PR team who devised this canned response, because it in no way resembles an in-the-moment reply to a journalist's question:

"Though I could have or should have supported victims of abuse, people that know me — and I hope the whole world — know I'm a good person and I condemn that type of behaviour," she said. "I chose not to make a statement, maybe to my regret, but I hope that victims and survivors know I commend their bravery and I support them and believe them. I am sorry if my silence hurt them in any way."

This might be completely truthful, but I'm neither believing or disbelieving on the basis of her statement.
 

karne

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Bulldust.

I would have loved to have seen a simple follow-up question: "So, Vanessa, why did you continue to skate with him after the allegations became public? Why were you attacking people talking about the allegations on social media after they became public? Why do you still interact with him on social media now that the allegations are public?"

Pathetic canned answer.
 

LiamForeman

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The whole story is blown out of proportion
I thought she did the right thing when she didn't join the lynching mob
Too bad she had to come up with these excuses
I totally agree. Vanessa is not a bad person in that mess. She chose to stay out of it, which I think is a reasonable choice. How would you feel if, say, you are an American pair skater who moved over to Russia to skate pairs. You are in a different country, different language, different customs, different LAWS. So you're in Russia and 'something' breaks in the news about your partner. You don't know what it is, don't really want to know what it is or become involved in any way. Remember, you are in a foreign country and have no clue about the laws and really don't want to get involved because you 100% have done nothing wrong and you don't want to get in trouble while on your visa which could affect your career? Don't you think that is a reasonable choice??? I do and I probably would have done the same thing. I think we should be applauding her for making this statement and apologizing even when she didn't need to. That takes character.
 
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dlbnyc

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Apr 22, 2021
I think this is where a divide may exist in those watching and commenting: Speaking for myself, I do not think it is a reasonable choice. For me, character is the amount of personal ethics you are able to live in your day to day. For me, VJ has an ethical commitment as a leader in the skating community to stand up for what is right - which is taking a clear stand against abuse immediately without partaking in anything on social media - even if that means the end of her career. That would be character to me.

ETA: Also, I don't buy the argument that a skater in a different country is allowed to be ignorant of those laws, especially because in this case Vanessa lived for 10 years in the US (Age 10 to 20, if I read wikipedia correctly)
 

kmw227

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Personally, I do not believe for one second that Vanessa had no idea what was going on. These allegations were literally covered up by their coaching team so that she and Morgan could go to the Olympics without issue. And that's not an allegation, that's a fact. John Zimmerman is still serving his SafeSport suspension for that. I have a very hard time believing that she was completely in the dark during all of that.

She says that she supports the victims, but does she really? Continuing to skate with Morgan after the allegations were made public doesn't seem very supportive to me. I don't care if they were under contract, surely there's a way out of those contracts if one of the parties is being criminally investigated (IIRC, Morgan was not investigated by SafeSport because he is not American). I think that if she truly supports the victims and condemns Morgan's actions, she would've spoken out much earlier.

She really likes to say that she's a good person, but no, she's really not. I don't like that she's back in the sport and I really hope Walsh/Michaud get that second Olympic spot.
 

anonymoose_au

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This was one cringeworthy statement...apart from anything else the "good person" pleas came off way too much like "The lady doth protest too much."

Now it's possible she didn't know about what Morgan did the second he did it, but she certainly would have found out very quickly, the skating world is so small.

I could maybe even buy that Morgan told her some sort of story (like claiming he didn't send the pic or thought it was to people over 18 or something) and she believed it. But when the truth came out months and months ago - enough for an arrest warrant to be issued! - then she really should have made a statement supporting the victims and condemning - in no uncertain terms - Morgan's actions.

As someone pointed out on Twitter, she made it all about herself and despite her claiming to support victims she seemed to forget about them. They deserve an unqualified "I really did the wrong thing here and I'm so sorry" apology for it to mean something.
 

anonymoose_au

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You are in a different country, different language, different customs, different LAWS.
But this happened in Florida? Everyone would have been speaking English.

Unless you mean when the story broke? But that was in English as well.

Now clearly Vanessa is not the most horrible person who ever lived, but she does show a lack of insight here. The victims were obviously distressed and traumatised by what happened and the statement should have been focused on them.

A good person doesn't need to tell everyone they're good, they let their actions speak for them. You can make a mistake, but you need to own it, which Vanessa failed to do which is the problem.
 

chasingneverland

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I totally agree. Vanessa is not a bad person in that mess. She chose to stay out of it, which I think is a reasonable choice. How would you feel if, say, you are an American pair skater who moved over to Russia to skate pairs. You are in a different country, different language, different customs, different LAWS. So you're in Russia and 'something' breaks in the news about your partner. You don't know what it is, don't really want to know what it is or become involved in any way. Remember, you are in a foreign country and have no clue about the laws and really don't want to get involved because you 100% have done nothing wrong and you don't want to get in trouble while on your visa which could affect your career? Don't you think that is a reasonable choice??? I do and I probably would have done the same thing. I think we should be applauding her for making this statement and apologizing even when she didn't need to. That takes character.
OMG. Do you mean the federation of France, a place where she moved to in 2007?? Or perhaps where this took place in the US?? The US?? A place where she moved to as a child and lived there until she moved to France?? She was born in Canada for goodness sakes and is a permanent resident of the US. (Neither English nor French were unfamiliar to her nor were their customs.)

Furthermore, Vanessa is a fully grown woman. She has agency and is not a child.

You know who wouldn't have been aware of what avenues they could take or if the actions were wrong?? The literal CHILD that was abused by a person in authority.
 
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LiamForeman

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You can choose to react to a situation in any way you wish. I choose to start by keeping an open mind, and believing in the decency of others first. Until they prove me wrong, I choose to believe someone is a good person at heart and then work from there. I could be wrong, but I would find that out quick enough. I'm a very intuitive person, and can read people and situations well. I'm not going to tar and feather her. Sorry. I see how she is now a victim in this whole ordeal too. Maybe don't judge someone so quickly? Not everyone has an ugly heart. Don't show yours.
 
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okokok1777

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You are in a different country, different language, different customs, different LAWS.

I don't really see how this is comparable to Vanessa? She was born in Ontario and lived in Bermuda until she was 10. English is the predominant language in both of those countries. Then she lived in the US from age 10 to 20 and IIRC she & Morgan moved to Florida in 2016. It's a totally different scenario from what you described.
 

LiamForeman

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I don't really see how this is comparable to Vanessa? She was born in Ontario and lived in Bermuda until she was 10. English is the predominant language in both of those countries. Then she lived in the US from age 10 to 20 and IIRC she & Morgan moved to Florida in 2016. It's a totally different scenario from what you described.
She is in a country in which she is not a citizen. I would not expect her to know the ins and outs of US law, especially in this era of MeToo. If you have never been involved in legal situations, having to give a deposition, etc you probably don't understand the headache it is. (I personally haven't, but several of my friends have) Even if you have done NOTHING wrong. It is best to stay out of it, especially if you have nothing to do with it and don't know anything. Save being a social justice worrier until you are in the clear. Which is what she did. I just think that some people don't understand that it is ALWAYS best when in the middle of a legal matter to listen to your attorney and if he says "DO NOT COMMENT" then you better not comment. She said her peace, she apologized for not speaking up and explained why. I feel okay with her. Just because she lived in the US as a minor does not imply that she knows the ins/outs of the US legal system. I don't, and I'm American. Instead of Russia since you think that analogy is impossible to understand, then say you go to England. You probaby have no idea about the laws there either., but you definitely are communicating in the same language. I'd still just keep my mouth shut until the matter is resolved. And then I guess I'd have to worry about social justice worriers on the internet out for blood on perfectly innocent people. Haterz gotta hate. It's what they reflexively do.
 
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karne

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Just because she lived in the US as a minor does not imply that she knows the ins/outs of the US legal system. I don't, and I'm American. Instead of Russia since you think that analogy is impossible to understand, then say you go to England. You probaby have no idea about the laws there either., but you definitely are communicating in the same language.
I'm pretty sure that sexual abuse of a minor is illegal in most civilised countries, so not only is this not the "hot take" defense you think it is, it rather comes off as you defending Cipres' actions.
 

ladyjane

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Isn't showing d*ck pics to minors illegal EVERYWHERE though? Maybe if these girls had been 16 (the age of consent in many places) maaaaybe. But 13?! Hell no, no way.
I wish showing d*ck picks to anybody unasked was illegal everywhere! What has that got to do with consent? I've had to deal with them on a certain digital platform in the past, I'm very much over 16 and I felt stalked. But of course specifically to minors such acts are even more harrowing. No way indeed.

I don't think Vanessa is condoning Cypres' actions though, whatever the statement. I never did think that, and I don't think it now. I do know how difficult it is to speak out against a friend who did something very wrong, especially having to do it publicly. I've been there, and in my case the person involved is no longer a friend and never will be again. In fact he's locked up. But it was hard regardless. And I do understand the issue of following legal advice to keep mum for a certain period of time. In any country.
 

chasingneverland

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She is in a country in which she is not a citizen. I would not expect her to know the ins and outs of US law, especially in this era of MeToo. If you have never been involved in legal situations, having to give a deposition, etc you probably don't understand the headache it is. (I personally haven't, but several of my friends have) Even if you have done NOTHING wrong. It is best to stay out of it, especially if you have nothing to do with it and don't know anything. Save being a social justice worrier until you are in the clear. Which is what she did. I just think that some people don't understand that it is ALWAYS best when in the middle of a legal matter to listen to your attorney and if he says "DO NOT COMMENT" then you better not comment. She said her peace, she apologized for not speaking up and explained why. I feel okay with her. Just because she lived in the US as a minor does not imply that she knows the ins/outs of the US legal system. I don't, and I'm American. Instead of Russia since you think that analogy is impossible to understand, then say you go to England. You probaby have no idea about the laws there either., but you definitely are communicating in the same language. I'd still just keep my mouth shut until the matter is resolved. And then I guess I'd have to worry about social justice worriers on the internet out for blood on perfectly innocent people. Haterz gotta hate. It's what they reflexively do.
I don't think one needs to know the US legal system to know that sending d*ck pics to a 13 year old CHILD (especially one where there is a power imbalance and you're in a position of authority over them) is WRONG! Also, I would sincerely hope that regardless of the laws in England, someone would know NOT to send d*ck pics to a 13 year old. It's morally wrong. You shouldn't need a law to tell you that.

Also no one is hating her. If anything, we're critiquing your defence of her and argument that she was somehow in a completely foreign situation. She did NOT say she was told not to say anything. She said she CHOSE not to say anything, "maybe to [her] regret".
 
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anonymoose_au

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I wish showing d*ck picks to anybody unasked was illegal everywhere!
I thought it was? In this case the claim was the girls requested the pic but that doesn't matter because of their age and power imbalance. A 16 year old asking for a d*ck pic still isn't right from a power imbalance point of view, but in Australia that's the age of consent.

I don't think Vanessa is condoning Cypres' actions though, whatever the statement.
I don't think so either but she didn't really make it clear? Like the problem is the statement focused too much on excusing herself, when it should have focussed on the victims and really clearly stated how wrong Morgan's actions were.

That sounds weird because it's kinda obvious you don't send d*ck pics to minors, but if Morgan's lack of contrition and unwillingness to return to the US and face the consequences is any indication some people DON'T get it. It's terrible to think about but I'm pretty sure he doesn't think he did anything wrong at all and is being hard done by!
 
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