Met Opera suspends legendary Levine after sex abuse allegations
NEW YORK - AFP
New York’s Metropolitan Opera said Dec. 3 it was suspending its famed longtime music director James Levine after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.
The premier US opera house said Levine would no longer appear at the Met this season and that it had hired a former US prosecutor to investigate the accusations.
“Based on these new reports, the Met has made the decision to act now, while we await the results of the investigation,” Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Met, said in a statement.
“This is a tragedy for anyone whose life has been affected,” he said.
Gelb said that Robert J. Cleary, the former US attorney for New Jersey best known for prosecuting the anti-technology mail-bomb assailant dubbed as the Unabomber in the 1990s, would lead the Met’s probe.
The suspension came after fresh allegations of misconduct against the 74-year-old Levine.
The New York Post on Dec. 2 first reported on a 2016 police report alleging that Levine abused a boy for years, starting in 1985 when the purported victim was 15.
The New York Times published accounts by three more musicians who described similar experiences -- the older Levine pressuring them into sex when they were teenage students.
Chris Brown, who went on to play principal bass at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, told the newspaper that Levine forced him to masturbate him during a summer at the Meadowbrook School of Music in Michigan.
When Brown told Levine he did not want to repeat the sexual encounter, he said the conductor shunned him for the rest of the summer. Now 66, Brown said he has suffered emotional trauma for years