Met Opera fires longtime conductor after sexual abuse investigation

James Levine shown leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2007 has been fired from the Metropolitan Opera in disgrace

James Levine shown leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2007 has been fired from the Metropolitan Opera in disgrace. AFP AFP Getty Images

Levine, who served as music director with the opera company for almost 40 years, was first suspended in December as the Met launched an investigation.

The Metropolitan Opera fired music director emeritus James Levine on Monday, citing "credible evidence" of sexual abuse and harassment by the once-renowned conductor.

In addition to his 40-year tenure at the Met, Levine was also a former music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, and the Ravinia Festival, the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

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The Metropolitan Opera said in a statement on Monday that an independent inquiry had "uncovered credible evidence that Mr. Levine had engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct" before and during his time at the company.

Up until now, all public allegations against Levine had concerned an earlier era in his career, before he became principal conductor at the Met in 1973.

It said there was also evidence that the conductor abused and harassed "vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers". Some say they were teenagers at the time.

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In December, the The New York Times published interviews with three men who said that Levine sexually abused them when they were in their teens.

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 statement from the opera noted that the investigation, which was conducted by an outside counsel, uncovered conduct both before and during his tenure as the artistic director of the Met.

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Levine has struggled with health problems including Parkinson's disease in recent years.

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