Ruth Evelyn, a Boston-based lindy dancer and instructor, posted to her Facebook wall a couple of days ago a very disturbing account of sexual assault by French lindy hopper Max Angelo Hurtado Pitruzella. You can read all of her harrowing account here (WARNING: description of sexual assault.) The incident she reports as happening at Lindy Focus 2014 in Asheville, North Carolina.
As of this news item going out, Ruth’s post has been shared more than 1,200 times and has nearly 1,000 comments, largely expressions of comfort and solidarity. Since then, two other lindy hoppers shared very similar accounts of assaults by Max Pitruzzella (account one and account two), also at Lindy Focus 2014.
In related news, the dance shoe company “Savoy Max Angelo” (which was named after Max Pitruzzella) announced recently that they are rebranding, to show solidarity with Ruth Evelyn and other women who have been sexually assaulted in the scene by Max Pitruzzella.
We at Yehoodi are appalled and sobered by this, two years after Steven Mitchell’s despicable treatment of women came to light. Our solidarity and support goes out to these victims.
Meanwhile, we would note that there is a lot that we all can do to protect people in our scene. See our list of resources for fostering safer dance scenes and spaces, as well as conversations with lindy bloggers, event organizers and instructors that we organized a couple of years ago.
Sadly, this dark topic remains vital today.
[As this is an ongoing and evolving story, we'll try and keep this news item updated.]
UPDATE January 20
A fourth woman has come forward and posted publicly to her Facebook wall about an account of a sexual assault she endured by Max Pitruzzella. You can read Ashley Hill's account at this link.
Annie Trudeau, former dance partner and ex-girlfriend of Max Pitruzzella also released a statement about the sad state of affairs with an expression of support and remorse. You can read it in it's entirety in the comments below.
SECOND UPDATE January 20
French dancer and former partner of Max Pitruzzella , Tatiana Udry, has posted to her a Facebook wall a long, detailed statement written by her boyfriend Alexander Iskandar Macedo, detailing both a long history of abuse and sexual assault, as well as intimidation and denials by Max and others.
An important distinction here is that this is the first instance where the victim is pursuing legal action against Max. In this case, through the French legal system.