The Metropolitan Opera has sued James Levine.
Two months after James Levine filed a lawsuit against the company for having dismissed him, the Met is suing the conductor for $5.8 million for having harmed the company. In a report filed on Friday, May 18, the Metropolitan Opera alleged that Levine had sexually assaulted nine young artists including two previously unreported accusations of sexual harassment and abuse.
According to the New York Times, the report noted that Levine “used his reputation and position of power to prey upon and abuse artists” during the 40 years he worked for the company.
The report stated, “When a 16-year-old artist auditioned for Mr. Levine in 1979, Mr. Levine questioned him about his sex life. Two years later, Mr. Levine entered the young man’s dressing room in a bathrobe to discuss an upcoming performance. Mr. Levine made sexual remarks or inappropriately touched the man at least seven times over a period of 12 years. After Mr. Levine offered to drive another singer home from an audition at the Met in 1985. He locked the car doors and groped and kissed the man against his will. After the encounter, Mr. Levine placed him in ‘in a prestigious program’ at the Met.”
According to the report the Levine also initiated conversations about pornography, masturbation, penis size to other victims and also failed to get a man to watch him masturbate.
Levine lawyers responded to the claims by noting, that it “was nothing more than a pretext for the Met to suspend, fire and defame him.”
Levine was fired from the Metropolitan Opera in March after an investigation demonstrated that Levine had sexually assaulted numerous young men. He then sued the Met for $5.8 million. Levine served as the Met Opera’s Music Director and Music Director Emeritus.