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Musical director James Levine fired by Met Opera for 'sexually abusive' conduct

Musical director James Levine fired by Met Opera for 'sexually abusive' conduct

The New York Times reported that the Met ended its association with the conductor on Monday evening after an investigation that found what the Met called credible evidence that Levine had engaged in "sexually abusive and harassing conduct".

The Met suspended Levine, 74, in December after several accusations of sexual misconduct stretching from the 1960s to 1980s.

The investigation, it said, "uncovered credible evidence that Mr. Levine engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct towards vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers, over whom Mr. Levine had authority". Levine, who served as music director with the opera company for almost 40 years, was first suspended in December as the Met launched an investigation.

In its statement on Monday, the company said Cleary's investigation found that "any claims or rumors that members of the Met's management or its board of directors engaged in a cover-up of information relating to these issues are completely unsubstantiated".

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We thank the more than 70 individuals who were interviewed during the course of the investigation. Levine denied the allegations of sexual misconduct, saying he wants to resume his work "with full concentration and inspiration".

In an investigative piece published this month by The Boston Globe, former students at the Cleveland Institute of Music described Levine as a cult-like figure who not only coerced them into sex but controlled their lives. The accuser, a man named Ashok Pai, as well as two other men, later spoke to The New York Times about the alleged abuse, which they said dated back to 1968. He alleged that the much-older Levine fondled his penis when he was a teenager and masturbated naked in front of him, describing hundreds of incidents.

Levine began his musical career in his hometown, making a solo debut during a youth concert with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra when he was 10. Levine served as music director at the Ravinia Festival, outside Chicago, from 1973 to 1993. Three decades later - after, Pai said, therapy had helped him realize how destructive those encounters had been - he detailed his accusations in the fall of 2016 to the Lake Forest Police Department in IL.

The Metropolitan Opera has officially fired James Levine.


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