Met Opera fires James Levine

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

In December, Levine was suspended from his posts as music director emeritus and head of its young artist program; he was sacked this week after an internal investigation revealed "sexually abusive and harassing conduct".

"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", the Met said in a statement.

"We just announced the termination of James Levine's contract, obviously a major event in the history of the Met, and it is therefore necessary that I not leave ny at this critical time", Gelb wrote in an email to Four Arts President David Breneman late Monday afternoon.

James Levine was The Met's music director for 40 years until 2016, when he became emeritus music director, a position he held - along with the role of artistic director of the opera house's young artists programme - until his firing this week.

In a statement on its website, the Met said it was "terminating" its relationship with Levine as Music Director Emeritus and artistic director of its young artist program.

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The Met's statement went on to clear the organization's board of directors of any suspicion of trying to hide knowledge of Levine's behavior.

The Met hired former U.S. Attorney Robert J. Cleary, now a partner at Proskauer Rose, to head its investigation, and the company said more than 70 people were interviewed.

But some questions arose early on about how the company had handled the case, including the fact that it began its investigation more than a year after Peter Gelb, its general manager, was first told that police in IL were investigating an accusation that Levine had sexually abused a teenage boy there in the 1980s.

The conductor in an earlier statement called the allegations against him "unfounded", saying he was not an "oppressor or an aggressor". Law enforcement officials said a year ago that they would not bring criminal charges against Levine, noting that while the state's age of consent is now 17 - and 18 in some cases - it was still 16 in 1986.

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.

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