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Metropolitan Opera Fires Former Music Director James Levine
13 March 2018, 05:16 | Myron Mathis
Met opera fires conductor after sexual misconduct probe
New York's Metropolitan Opera said on Monday that it had fired its longtime conductor and musical director James Levine after an inquiry found "credible evidence" to support accusations against him of sexual misconduct.
"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". After years of ill health, he stepped down as music director two seasons ago.
But his termination has dealt the Met a serious blow at a moment of vulnerability. Now the Met finds itself forced to court both philanthropists and audiences as it faces hard questions about what it knew, or should have known, about its star conductor.
The Boston Globe reported earlier this month that three of Levine's accusers said the conductor abused them when they were teenagers.
Levine is one of dozens of powerful men in multiple industries brought down by allegations of sexual misconduct brought to light in the wake of the Me Too movement and the Harvey Weinstein sexual-assault scandal in Hollywood.
The Met says claims its management or board had covered up information of Levine's conduct were unsubstantiated. Levine was to begin a five-year term as Conductor Laureate in the summer of 2018. In total Levine conducted more than 2,500 performances with the company and was an influencer in classical music.
Ashok Pai said he had been abused by Levine for years, beginning in 1986 near the Ravinia Festival in IL, when he was 16. He was, for a time, musical director for the Cincinnati May Festival and has occasionally returned to Cincinnati to conduct.
He said he was reaching out to police in Lake Forest because some of his encounters with Levine took place there in the mid-1980s.
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