New York's Metropolitan Opera terminated its relationship with famed conductor James Levine as Music Director Emeritus and Artistic Director of its young artist program after an investigation found he engaged in "sexually abusive and harassing conduct." Photo by Ralph Daily/Wikimedia Commons
March 12 (UPI) -- New York's Metropolitan Opera fired famed conductor James Levine after an investigation found he engaged in "sexually abusive and harassing conduct."
The Met released a statement announcing it had terminated its relationship with Levine, 74, as music director emeritus and artistic director of its young artist program following the three-month investigation conducted by outside counsel.
"The investigation uncovered credible evidence that Mr. Levine had engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct both before and during the period when he worked at the Met. The investigation also 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. In light of these findings, the Met concludes that it would be inappropriate and impossible for Mr. Levine to continue to work at the Met," the opera said.
The Met opened the investigation in December into whether Levine sexually abused an aspiring conductor since he was 15 starting three decades ago.
Met officials at the time acknowledged they had been aware of the alleged victim's police report since it was filed last year in Illinois, but they also said Levine denied any wrongdoing at the time and authorities did not contact them further.
The investigation included interviews with more than 70 people. It also found that allegations members of the Met's management or its Board of Directors engaged in a cover-up of information relating to Levine's misconduct were "completely unsubstantiated."
"We recognize the great concerns over these issues that have been expressed by the Met community both inside and outside of the opera house, and wish to provide the assurance that the Met is committed to ensuring a safe, respectful and harassment-free workplace for its employees and artists," the opera said.