The Metopolitan Opera last night issued an angry rebuttal of a lawsuit by its former music director, claiming $5.8 million for unfair dismissal.
Its lawyer, Bettina B. Plevan, said: ‘The Met terminated Mr Levine’s contract on March 12 following an in-depth investigation that uncovered credible and corroborated evidence of sexual misconduct at the Met, as well as earlier. It is shocking that Mr Levine has refused to accept responsibility for his actions, and has today instead decided to lash out at the Met with a suit riddled with untruths.’
The bellicose language in this statement – ‘shocking’, ‘lash out’, ‘untruths’ – reads as much as an indication of corporate anxiety as of determination to fight. Nobody wants this case to come to court.
One of Levine’s two lawyers, Elkan Abramowitz, has acted in the past for Harvey Weinstein and Woody Allen. Levine accuses Peter Gelb of scheming for at least three years to remove him. This is getting personal.
More from the Met statement: ‘During the course of the investigation, Mr. Levine was offered numerous opportunities to be interviewed, beginning in December. It was only when the investigation was wrapping up, upon realization that termination was imminent, that he agreed to be interviewed, but on impossible terms, asking that the identity of his accusers, who had been promised anonymity, be disclosed.’