Over the past month, I have been contacted by at least half a dozen news organisations and journalists, all of whom request my help on investigations they were conducting into allegations of misconduct against the emeritus music director of the Metropolitan Opera. They included Reuters, AP, BBC Newsnight and other well-known operations.
I refused, with one exception, to respond to any request since it was clear to me that these were no more than speculative fishing expeditions. There was, and remains, no evidence to substantiate a welter of suppositions against Mr Levine. Like everyone in the music world, I have heard rumours and investigated some of them. None has been supported by independent third-party testimony.
The accuser whose story is told in the New York Post contacted me many months ago and several times since. I advised him at first contact to report the matter to the police, which he did. I have his deposition. It is alarming and unpleasant. It is backed by a diary the kept at age 16. It is not, however, substantiated by any other witness.
On this basis, I declined to publish his allegations. So, too, did the New York Times, which (I am told) is conducting its own inquiry into an incident, possibly related to the Brooklyn Bridge.
The rumours about James Levine remain rumours until proven. Unless they are, he has no case to answer.
In these extraordinarily dangerous times, when superpower leaders are wilfully blurring the line between truth and lie, there is a duty on journalists to stick to the facts, the whole facts and nothing but the facts. That rule applies in James Levine’s case as it does in every other.
UPDATE: Boston Symphony statement
UPDATE: The Met suspends Levine
UPDATE: Who has questions to answer?