March 12, 2018 / 10:34 PM / 10 days ago

Met Opera fires conductor Levine after 'credible evidence' of misconduct

(Reuters) - New York’s Metropolitan Opera said on Monday that it had fired its longtime conductor and musical director James Levine after an inquiry found “credible evidence” to support accusations against him of sexual misconduct.

The Met suspended Levine, 74, in December after several accusations of sexual misconduct stretching from the 1960s to 1980s. At the time, he was serving as music director emeritus and artistic director of its young artist programme at the Met.

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.

Metropolitan Opera (MET) musical director James Levine is shown in Japan in this 2001 photo provided by the MET April 14, 2016. Koichi Miura/Metropolitan Opera/Handout via Reuters/File Photo

“In light of these findings, the Met concludes that it would be inappropriate and impossible for Mr. Levine to continue to work at the Met,” it said in the statement.

Levine, who served as the Met’s musical director for 40 years until he retired from that position in 2016, has denied the accusations. His representative did not immediately return a request for comment on Monday.

The Met said in its statement on Monday that more than 70 people had been interviewed in the investigation, which took more than three months and was led by an outside counsel.

Levine was the latest powerful man in the United States to lose his job over accusations of sexual misconduct or harassment.

Reporting by Eric Kelsey; editing by Jill Serjeant and Jonathan Oatis

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