Here’s today’s letter:
To the Editor:
I was deeply disturbed by the Metropolitan Opera’s firing of John Copley, described as “one of the opera world’s foremost directors.” I am not an opera fan, but I was dismayed to read that he was fired because “a member of the chorus reported that Mr. Copley had made him uncomfortable at a rehearsal on Friday with a sexually charged remark.”
There is no longer any doubt that our culture is in the grip of a moral panic the likes of which we haven’t seen since the day care child abuse hysteria of the 1980s, and, before that, the congressional witch hunts to root out supposed Communists nearly 70 years ago.
In ordinary times, a possibly inappropriate remark at a rehearsal would have warranted, at most, advice from a superior that it not be repeated. But these are not ordinary times.
As quickly as you can say “Harvey Weinstein,” we have moved from an overdue cultural wake-up call about sexual predation to the frightening point where a comment or gesture, no matter how casual or innocent, can destroy a brilliant career. What matters is not the intent, but whether the recipient felt “uncomfortable.”
Alleged “crimes” such as this have resulted in the resignations or firings of fine men like Senator Al Franken and the former WNYC radio hosts Leonard Lopate and Jonathan Schwartz. Eventually, we will return to our collective senses, but apparently not before we have added even more names to our modern-day blacklist.
KENNETH M. COUGHLIN, NEW YORK