The Metropolitan Opera had fired conductor James Levine in March due to sexual misconduct allegations against him by at least seven musicians in 25 years after which Levine had sued the company for violating the contract terms and for defamation. And now, the Met Opera has again sued Levine by counterclaiming in court papers filed on Friday that he tainted the company and also detailed the previously reported sexual harassment allegations against him.
In the New York Supreme Court, Manhattan, the Met Opera revealed that its internal investigation gives a clear picture and evidence as to why the company dismissed Levine, its music director for over four decades.
The Met Opera said the investigation shows Levine had improper conduct in the company from the year 1975 to 2000. The Met Opera did not name the individuals who reported allegations of misconduct but did describe them as an opera singer, a musician, an artist and two people aged 16 years and a member of the company’s Young Artists Program.
In a reply filed by Levine’s attorneys to Met’s papers on Friday, they said the Met Opera “has chosen to create sensationalized allegations … all of which have no legal or factual basis whatsoever.”
The Met Opera said it found enough of evidence of misconduct which includes Levine conducting discussions of groping, pornography, mutual masturbation as well as kissing. In its counterclaim, the company has demanded a sum of $5.8 million from Levine.
Levine’s attorneys denied these allegations and said in the filing, “The truth is that Levine did not commit any acts of sexual misconduct against any individuals, much less the unnamed individuals referred to. The Met’s so-called investigation of Levine’s conduct was nothing more than a pretext for the Met to suspend, fire and defame him.”