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James Levine Under Investigation For Sexual Abuse

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Hockenberry seems a different case, more in line with workplace harassers like Lauer and  Charlie Rose.

Color me unsurprised also.  Levine may not be the last conductor whose name gets mentioned, either.

The NY Post broke the story on Saturday. It has some details that, if true, make it all sound even worse -  looks like Levine had been on the hunt  since the boy was four. Not good.

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It was at one such Ravinia concert in 1973 when the alleged victim, then a 4-year-old boy living in a nearby suburb, was taken backstage by his parents to meet the great maestro.

The boy would see the conductor during subsequent summer visits to the festival and, according to the police account he later gave as an adult, the older man “took an interest” in him, even sending conductors’ batons and other gifts to his home.

 

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After sports (gymnastics, college football), Hollywood, the US Capitol, and network broadcasting, now it's the world of opera.  Very sad but, in the end, a good thing for victims' rights. No profession is devoid of sexual harassment.

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52 minutes ago, CharlieH said:

After sports (gymnastics, college football), Hollywood, the US Capitol, and network broadcasting, now it's the world of opera.  Very sad but, in the end, a good thing for victims' rights. No profession is devoid of sexual harassment.

Don't forget higher education. Lecherous professors have been busted -- and named -- for years now and it continues to this day. Best source: Chronicle of Higher Education. For decades, colleagues whispered about this, but wouldn't name names. Now they do, and it's for the best.

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The current allegations refer to the sexual abuse of underage boys, as the articles specify, not sexual harassment (although in Levine’s case it is possible they may end up overlapping).  

The Met is apparently going to conduct its own investigation of Levine -- now that this is in the news. But will the Met investigate itself?  Seems to me Gelb has got a lot more 'splainin' to do.

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3 hours ago, CharlieH said:

After sports (gymnastics, college football), Hollywood, the US Capitol, and network broadcasting, now it's the world of opera.  Very sad but, in the end, a good thing for victims' rights. No profession is devoid of sexual harassment.

Sadly not new

Tito Beltran http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7241667.stm

Robert King http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-23248200

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28 minutes ago, dirac said:

The current allegations refer to the sexual abuse of underage boys, as the articles specify, not sexual harassment (although in Levine’s case it is possible they may end up overlapping).  

The Met is apparently going to conduct its own investigation of Levine -- now that this is in the news. But will the Met investigate itself?  Seems to me Gelb has got a lot more 'splainin' to do.

 

 

 

The Met knew about this for a year. I'm wonder if any management heads will roll.

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6 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

The Met knew about this for a year. I'm wonder if any management heads will roll.

They knew about that specific allegation for a year, but rumors about Levine go way way back. The Times article even references a letter from 1979 where Anthony Bliss defends Levine. 

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Tony Bliss’ letter is here. Because we don’t have the unsigned letter to which he was referring, we have only his letter to guess at what claims he was defending Levine against. Bliss’ reply seems to refer only to charges of homosexuality, and quite rightly he says that's none of the Met's business. (He also refers to “criminal activities” but in 1979 that could well have meant homosexuality alone.)

That hardly lets the Met off the hook, though.

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4 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

The Met knew about this for a year. I'm wonder if any management heads will roll.

I haven't been closely analyzing every detail of this debacle, but it appears that the claims against Levine involve conduct that did not occur on the Met Opera premises.  Moreover, the claimants are not former or present employees of the Met. It's my understanding that there are no claims against Levine of sexual misconduct made by any current or former employee of the Met Opera.  The Board member who directed an alleged claimant to contact the police and then took no further action did exactly the right thing.  This situation is completely different from the one involving Matt Lauer, where Lauer is accused of improper conduct as to victims who are NBC current or former employees, and some of the improper conduct took place either at NBC's premises or while employees were on assignment for NBC as part of their employment.   IN the case of Lauer, NBC has potential substantial liability for Lauer's misconduct.  The only common thread here is that both the Met and NBC are dealing with a public relations nightmare.   Once Levine was branded in the media as a pedophile, the Met had no choice but to cut him loose based on the public relations aspect.

 

So who will they find to conduct Tosca on New Year's Eve?  I think this Met Tosca is cursed.  Jimmy Levine was conductor number 2, after Kristine Opolais's husband withdrew.  Original singing leads of Kaufmann and Opolais were replaced by Grigolo and Yoncheva.  Who will be conductor number 3 inserted into this new production with less than one month before the performance.

Edited by abatt

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Yes - as  noted upthread,  this is not (as of yet) a case of workplace sexual harassment, but of sexual abuse of minors.

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Once Levine was branded in the media as a pedophile, the Met had no choice but to cut him loose based on the public relations aspect.

 

That would only be true if the Met already had reason to believe that the charges had validity. If they have reason to believe Levine could be innocent, then their obligation would be to stand by their employee, at least for now. Even if that were not the ethical course to take, they might well be in serious legal trouble if they fired Levine on the basis of allegations that turned out to be false. Indeed, they have only suspended him, not fired him.

(Also, I wouldn’t throw around the word “pedophile” – its applicability is arguable here, based on the information we have.)

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I think the alleged  pedophilia component is the most important  and troubling  aspect of  the Levine controversy.  One of the accusers (in Illinois) claims that the inappropriate conduct started when the victim was 15, and sexual abuse took place when the victim was 16.  The age of consent  in Illinois was 17.  Not sure about the ages of the other alleged victims.  

 

 

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Pedophilia is typically defined (including in the DSM) as sexual attraction to prepubescent children, not simply sex with a minor. There is a big difference, in terms of the psychological ramifications, between the former and the latter — which is not, of course, to suggest that either is acceptable.

This term has been misused throughout much of the general public (i.e. non-journalistic, non-professional) commentary on the Levine case.

 

Edited by nanushka

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1 hour ago, nanushka said:

Pedophilia is typically defined (including in the DSM) as sexual attraction to prepubescent children, not simply sex with a minor. There is a big difference, in terms of the psychological ramifications, between the former and the latter — which is not, of course, to suggest that either is acceptable.

This term has been misused throughout much of the general public (i.e. non-journalistic, non-professional) commentary on the Levine case.

 

Indeed, the correct term is ephebophilia I believe.

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13 minutes ago, Mashinka said:

Indeed, the correct term is ephebophilia I believe.

Yes — though that is not, I believe, a medical term, whereas pedophilia (or pedophilic disorder) is. In other words, the latter is considered a psychological disorder, whereas the former is I think more an issue of law and morality. Big difference, and not just in terms of semantics.

That's not to suggest that a propensity toward sex with minors might not itself be an indicator of underlying psychological disorder — just that it is not, in itself, a primary indicator. I'm by no means an expert, but that's my understanding of the issue.

 

Edited by nanushka

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Two recent items.

Alex Ross has apologized for not taking the rumors about James Levine seriously and brushing them off as a kind of "noise" and signing onto the Met/Fiedler defense:

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At the time, I thought that Levine was being victimized by false rumors. I was disastrously wrong, and am ashamed to have written this. My feelings don't matter, though. What counts is what the real victims have endured.

https://twitter.com/alexrossmusic/status/937701099976327173

 

Article cited in the Peter Martins thread by the son of a cellist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra who was warned by his parents, when he was 12 years old, to never be alone with James Levine;

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In an interview with Die Welt recently, the coloratura soprano Edda Moser recalled that “Jimmy always had a bunch of little boys around…between seven and maybe 12 years old. They always sat in the wings during the stage rehearsal…they only really got on our nerves because they always banged their feet against the clock and disturbed us musically. They waited for Levine until the rehearsal was over.” Maybe it’s possible that this happened, and that no one at the Met noticed or decided to investigate further; and maybe they did investigate further and found nothing. I will only note, in evaluating the plausibility of that theory, that the Met first learned of the police report that broke this story over a year ago; and that after receiving that police report, even in the context of the overwhelming rumors and the previous incident in 1979, conducted no internal investigation, made no public announcement, granted Levine an honorary title, and continued to engage him for performances. 

https://van-us.atavist.com/silence-breaking

 

 

Edited by Quiggin

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 Shades of Tiberius and his little fish.

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....after receiving that police report, even in the context of the overwhelming rumors and the previous incident in 1979, conducted no internal investigation, made no public announcement, granted Levine an honorary title, and continued to engage him for performances. 

That really is damning. After the police report there was really no excuse for the Met not launching its own investigation. 

Levine will not be charged in Illinois, and says the claims against him are "unfounded":

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The one-page statement notes the statutory age of consent in Illinois at the time of the alleged abuse was 16, though the state has since raised it to 17 and to 18 in cases where the accused was in a position of trust or authority over the victim.

 

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What did Tom know, and when did he know it?

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Tom Levine, a painter who lives in Chelsea, was part of an entourage attending to every need of the renowned Metropolitan Opera maestro and knew of his relationship with at least one of his alleged victims.

 

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Anne Midgette weighs in. (Some of what she says is relevant to the Martins matter as well.)

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True, sexual harassment and abuse is a rampant problem, not confined to one industry, as we are learning more and more every day. But classical music, which tries to maintain the fiction that it is privy to some kind of moral purity, along with all of that putative artistic superiority (the conductor Andris Nelsons recently had to retract his words after averring in a radio interview that abuse didn't happen in the classical music world because art made people better human beings), seems to have a particularly toxic bunch of enablers at the helm.

 

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Here is part of the statement that the Met musicians released – in a way not so different from Nelsons:

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In difficult moments, we, as artists, find solace and strength in the power of our voices and in opera itself. Each night this week, as we have readied for performances, we have collectively redoubled our commitment to creating the finest and most artistically vibrant opera in the world. As we find ourselves joining a critical national conversation, we feel fortunate to be able to share the power of musical expression with our audience and work to make our society stronger.

Many of the comments that follow the musicians statement make light of the investigation and support Levine –

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–Yes, they express compassion for the victims, as well as for all the complainants some of whom may not be victims at all.
What is missing is any expression of compassion for the man they have worked with for 44 years.

–Very sad! By the way, where is the proof for all this condemnation of one man, and did he do anything inappropriate to any of the MET orchestra musicians to merit this rebuke?

–If Levine were to sue the Met (and the Ravinia Festival) to enforce his contract, he would win!
It’s a simple matter of law.
Nothing has been proven, no police is currently investigating, no prosecutor has said charges are even remotely in the works.
The Met and Ravinia should be prepared to spend millions of dollars to settle with Levine.

http://slippedisc.com/2017/12/met-musicians-issues-statement-on-james-levine/#comments

 

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The final two paragraphs of the Midgette piece are particularly striking:

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An institution that really cared about ending the cycle of abuse might be proactive about such "rumors." I am waiting for the first institution to get in front of the problem, to come clean. "In light of the current climate, and the repeated and widespread allegations made about this individual," its statement might say - this performer in our orchestra, this conductor in our opera house, this tenured member of our conservatory faculty - "we at X institution have resolved to launch an internal investigation to resolve these claims once and for all."

It's a nice dream, but I think I will be waiting for a long time - at the very least, until the next news report revealing yet another perpetrator.

Particularly in light of the comment below, on her public Facebook page, I read this as a warning to those institutions: "Get in front of this now. I'm coming for you."

I would not be at all surprised if there is more soon to come out.

 

 

Edited by nanushka

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12 hours ago, Quiggin said:

Here is part of the statement that the Met musicians released – in a way not so different from Nelsons...

Is this a reference to Nelsons' (ridiculous) statement that art is so ennobling that sexual harassment/abuse is uncommon among artists?

There's a huge difference between saying what Nelsons said and saying that art offers "solace and strength" — particularly since the preceding two paragraphs from the musicians' statement make it clear that they are concerned about the very real possibility that the Levine allegations are true.

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