After shaking the halls of Congress, network newsrooms, and Hollywood, a sex abuse scandal has now reached the epitome of high culture — grand opera.
New York’s Metropolitan Opera has suspended famed longtime conductor James Levine because of allegations he sexually abused as many as three teenage boys more than 30 years ago.
“This is a tragedy for anyone whose life has been affected,” Met general manager Peter Gelb said Sunday.
Gelb says the opera company has hired former U.S. attorney Robert J. Cleary to lead its investigation and that Levine has denied the accusations.
The New York Post first reported the allegations against Levine. The newspaper says according to a Lake Forest, Illinois police report, the conductor allegedly molested a 15 year old boy in 1985 when Levine was a conductor with a summer music festival near Chicago.
According to Post, the unidentified victim told police the encounters with Levine “nearly destroyed my family and almost led me to suicide.”
The New York Times reports two other men allege Levine sexually molested them when they were teenagers — one case in 1968 and another in 1986.
The 74 year-old Levine is known for his stocky build and wild frizzy hair and was the face of the Metropolitan Opera for decades.
He retired last year as the Met’s music director, but still conducts occasional performances. He was preparing to conduct the Met’s new production of Tosca when his suspension was announced.
Levine is the latest public figure to fight for his professional and political life after allegations of sexual misconduct.
Just last week, NBC news fired Today show host Matt Lauer because inappropriate behavior toward women.
CBS and PBS also fired longtime newsman Charlie Rose for alleged sexual advances toward coworkers.
Democratic Senator Al Franken says he is “embarrassed” by a picture showing him grinning and holding his hands over the breasts of a sleeping woman in 2006, when he was a television comic. Other women have also leveled accusations against him.
Congressman John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, is under pressure to resign after allegations of sexual misconduct — a charge he denies.
Others confronted with charges include actor Kevin Spacey, comedian Louis C.K., former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, and Republican Senate candidate from Alabama, Roy Moore.
About 16 women have accused President Donald Trump of sexual harassment and worse. He has labeled the accusations “fake news.”