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Ex-Conductor James Levine Sues the Met for Firing Him After Sexual Abuse Investigation

Levine accuses the Metropolitan Opera of breach of contract and defamation

Ex-conductor James Levine is suing the Metropolitan Opera for breach of contract and defamation after it fired him earlier this week following a sexual abuse investigation, the New York Times reports.

In a lawsuit filed against The Met in New York State Supreme Court, Levin accuses the company and its general manager Peter Gelb of “brazenly” using “vague and unsubstantiated” accusations of sexual abuse “as a pretext to end a longstanding personal campaign to force Levine out of the Met and cease fulfilling its legally enforceable financial commitments to him.”

He is asking for $4 million, according to the Times.

In a New York Times report last December, three men accused the famed conductor of sexually assaulting them decades ago as teenagers, in separate incidents dating back to the summer 1968.

The Met cut ties with Levine on Monday, saying in a statement that its investigation into those accusations “uncovered credible evidence that Mr. Levine had engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct both before and during the period when he worked at the Met.”

“The investigation also uncovered credible evidence that Mr. Levine engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct towards vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers, over whom Mr. Levine had authority,” the statement continued. “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.”

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.