Met fires James Levine after investigation into sexual abuse

Met fires James Levine after investigation into sexual abuse

The Metropolitan Opera has fired Music Director Emeritus James Levine after finding credible evidence supporting a string of longstanding sexual assault and abuse allegations.

The investigation, which opened in December, found evidence of abuse and harassment "both before and during the period" when Levine worked with the Met. An internal investigation included interviews with more than 70 people.

Levine officially retired as music director in April 2016, but had stayed on as music director emeritus and artistic director of the Met's young artist program. The company said "it would be inappropriate and impossible for Mr. Levine to continue to work at the Met". He was also music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. His abusive conduct during his Met tenure has yet to be revealed in print.

The conductor in an earlier statement called the allegations against him "unfounded", saying he was not an "oppressor or an aggressor".

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Mr Levine, who denies the allegations, was suspended in December when they were made public.

The Met added that in addition to its findings on the allegations against Levine, the investigation suggested that any claims of a cover-up are "completely unsubstantiated". 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. The man said Levine would lay naked with him and touched his penis. He said that at one point Levine had the group don blindfolds and masturbate partners they could not see.

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.

It has brought forward the appointment of Levine's successor, youthful French Canadian Yannick Nezet-Seguin, who will become music director with the upcoming season. He conducted 2,552 performances and held sway over its repertoire, orchestra and singers as music or artistic director from 1976 until 2016 when he stepped down due to Parkinson's disease.

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