Metropolitan Opera fires music director emeritus, Cincinnati native James Levine

James Levine in 2009

The New York Metropolitan Opera announced Monday that it has fired its conductor, 10-time Grammy award victor James Levine, after an investigation found "credible evidence" that he "engaged in sexually abusive" conduct toward artists.

The investigation, which opened in December, found evidence of abuse and harassment "both before and during the period" when Levine worked with the Met.

"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", the company said.

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The Met says claims its management or board had covered up information of Levine's conduct were unsubstantiated.

The Met said in a press release that a months-long investigation carried out by "outside counsel" that included interviews with 70 people led to its decision to dismiss Levine.

Many of Levine's performances were televised by the Public Broadcasting Service, and singers rearranged their schedules to appear in his performances or even to audition for him.

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Levine has been the most prominent classical musician to date to be called out publicly as a sexual harasser or abuser in the wake of the #metoo movement. The alleged victim reported the incidents to police in Lake Forest, Ill., in October 2016. During that time, he re-shaped the Met orchestra into one of the world's best - and most recorded - ensembles, guest conducted most of the top orchestras, served simultaneously as music director of the Boston Symphony and continued working despite crippling physical challenges, including Parkinson's disease, that often had him conducting from a specially built wheelchair.

Four men accused Levine of assault, including Ashok Pai, who told the Daily News that the conductor "basically sexually assaulted me hundreds of times".

Ashok Pai said he had been abused by Levine for years, beginning in 1986 near the Ravinia Festival in IL, when he was 16.

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The opera suspended Levine after the Times published accounts from three accusers who say that Levine sexually abused them when they were teenagers.

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