Metropolitan Opera fires James Levine after finding 'credible evidence' of sexual abuse


Additional reports soon followed from Chris Brown and James Lestock, leading to Levine's suspension.

The New York Metropolitan Opera announced Monday that it has fired its conductor, 10-time Grammy award victor James Levine, after an investigation found "credible evidence" that he "engaged in sexually abusive" conduct toward artists.

The Met told The New York Times in a statement it had "uncovered credible evidence that Mr. Levine engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct toward vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers, over whom Mr. Levine had authority".

The Met said more than 70 individuals were interviewed during the course of the investigation.

Yannick Nezet-Seguin was hired two years ago to replace Levine as music director starting in 2020-21, but last month the Met said it had moved up the start of his tenure to next season.

But his termination has dealt the Met a serious blow at a moment of vulnerability.

Levine has been the most prominent classical musician to date to be called out publicly as a sexual harasser or abuser in the wake of the #metoo movement.

The Met added that in addition to its findings on the allegations against Levine, the investigation suggested that any claims of a cover-up are "completely unsubstantiated".

The company suspended Levine in December in light of the allegations, which span from the 1960s through the 1980s.

Chris Brown said that Levine had abused him in the summer of 1968, when he was a 17-year-old student at the Meadow Brook School of Music in MI and Levine led the school's orchestral institute. Levine was to begin a five-year term as Conductor Laureate in the summer of 2018. He was, for a time, musical director for the Cincinnati May Festival and has occasionally returned to Cincinnati to conduct. Met officials said they were launching an investigation.