Former Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine files suit against “McCarthyite” sexual harassment charges and firing

 

Former Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine files suit against “McCarthyite” sexual harassment charges and firing

By
David Walsh

21 March 2018

On March 15, former longtime Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court against the opera company and its general manager, Peter Gelb, for breach of contract and defamation.

Levine certainly has every right to defend himself against the Met’s brutal and anti-democratic actions, its complete disregard for due process and common decency.

James Levine in 2013

The opera abruptly suspended the conductor from his position as musical director emeritus on December 3, 2017 after three articles appeared in the New York Times and New York Post reporting claims of sexual abuse or harassment allegedly committed by Levine from 30 to nearly 50 years ago.

In a December 7 statement, Levine insisted that as “anyone who truly knows me will attest, I have not lived my life as an oppressor or an aggressor. I have devoted my energies to the development, growth, and nurturing of music and musicians all over the world particularly with the Metropolitan Opera where my work has been the lifeblood and passion of my artistic imagination.”

Levine was then fired March 12. In the Met’s statement dismissing him after more than 45 years, it asserted that an investigation 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 opera had concluded “that it would be inappropriate and impossible for Mr. Levine to continue to work at the Met.”

Peter Gelb

Levine’s suit argues that Gelb and the Met acted to suspend him in late 2017 “without even…

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