Met Opera conductor fired over sex claims

 James Levine has denied the accusations.  Photo: Koichi Miura/Metropolitan Opera via Reuters
James Levine has denied the accusations. Photo: Koichi Miura/Metropolitan Opera via Reuters

New York's Metropolitan Opera has 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 last year 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.

"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.

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 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. 

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