NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Metropolitan Opera is investigating one of its most revered figures.
Longtime conductor James Levine has been suspended amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
The accusations are reverberating across the halls of Lincoln Center, reported CBS2’s Janelle Burrell.
“The open secret in the industry that’s just being made aware to the public,” one woman told Burrell. “And it’s not just in the opera, I think it’s in many industries.”
The accusations date back to the 1960s. Some of the relationships are said to have continued through the 1980s.
All of the victims were teenagers when the alleged abuse took place.
“It’s just really sad to see how many people are affected by this,” said Long Island resident Regina Buzzi. “The more you hear, I guess, the more shocking it is.”
Rumors have long circulated about Levine: Allegations of inappropriate relationships he had with boys.
It wasn’t until October 2016 that one of his alleged victims reported his account to police in Illinois, where he said some of the encounters took place.
The General Manager of the Met acknowledged to the New York Times that they knew about last year’s police report, but when they questioned Levine, they say he claimed the allegations were completely false. Now they have suspended him indefinitely.
“While we await the results of the investigation, based on these new news reports, the Met has made the decision to act now,” the Met’s General Manager Peter Gelb posted a statement on their Facebook page. “This is a tragedy for anyone whose life has been affected.”
“It’s one more thing. What’s going to come out today about who? What’s next?” one man told Burrell.
Reporters asked the NYPD about the allegations against Levine.
“No one has come forward on the recent high-profile cases” except Harvey Weinstein, said Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce.
Levine has not made any public comment since his suspension.
Met officials say Levine continues to deny the allegations.
The Associated Musicians of Greater New York, the union representing the Met’s musicians, released a statement saying they are horrified and sickened by the allegations.
They say the Met has an obligation to provide a safe workplace, free of sexual harassment and discrimination.