Arts&Culture

Met finds evidence of abuse, fires James Levine

Met finds evidence of abuse, fires James Levine

Acclaimed conductor James Levine was sacked Monday by the Metropolitan Opera after an investigation uncovered credible evidence of "sexually abusive" conduct.

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 Met said in a Monday statement that its investigation found Levine "engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct towards vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers".

Following the death of Leonard Bernstein in 1990, Levine was regarded as the top American conductor and was given a starring role in the film "Fantasia 2000".

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He then played for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2013-2015 before signing a four-year, $40 million deal with the Oakland Raiders . But he never played up to that level and the Raiders have chose to cut him instead of paying him $8.5 million this year.

The Met suspended Levine, 74, in December after several accusations of sexual misconduct stretching from the 1960s to 1980s. After years of ill health, he stepped down as music director two seasons ago.

Levine is one of the latest public figures whose career has been tarnished after the Me Too and Time's Up movements began in the fall of 2017. The man said Levine would lay naked with him and touched his penis. In total Levine conducted more than 2,500 performances with the company and was an influencer in classical music.

Albin Ifsich, who went on to have a long career as a violinist in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, said that he had been abused by Levine for several years, beginning at Meadow Brook and continuing after he joined the group of young musicians who followed Levine to Cleveland and later NY.

According to police reports, the alleged victim told police his parents brought him backstage at the Ravinia Festival to meet Levine in the 70's while Levine was the music director. Met officials said they were launching an investigation.