The Metropolitan Opera has fired James Levine after a lengthy investigation revealed the former music director emeritus had “engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct both before and during the period when he worked at the Met.”
Seventy individuals were interviewed by outside counsel over the course of “more than three months,” with the Met concluding that Levine targeted “vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers, over whom Mr. Levine had authority.” Levine’s career at the Met began in 1972, and he held the position of music director from 1976-2016.
The statement also addresses the controversy surrounding the organization’s handling of the allegations: A December 2 report from the New York Times, in which a man accused Levine of sexual abuse — allegations Levine denied — prompted an investigation and his suspension, though authorities approached the Met regarding the victim’s accusation in 2016. To that end, the 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.”
Read the Met’s statement in full below.
After considering the findings of a thorough investigation conducted by outside counsel that lasted more than three months, the Metropolitan Opera has terminated its relationship with James Levine as Music Director Emeritus and Artistic Director of its young artist program.
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 investigation also 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.
We thank the more than 70 individuals who were interviewed during the course of the investigation.
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.