Exclusive: Singer is sacked over ex-husband’s social media posts

Exclusive: Singer is sacked over ex-husband’s social media posts


norman lebrecht

November 09, 2019

Opera Australia says it has sacked a long-serving singer after rejecting her claim that abusive posts on her social media were made by her ex-husband.

Vanessa Lewis, a chorus member for 24 years, was formerly married to David Lewis, a fellow-singer who is serving three years in jail for child sex.

Vanessa maintained that David Lewis had access to her social media and sometimes forced her to send abusive material. Lewis admitted in court that he had been abusive to his wives. OA decided, however, that Vanessa must bear responsibility for his actions on her media.

She has issued the following statement to Slipped Disc:

I have made no public comment on this scenario on social media, and very little in private life as well to this moment.

Anyone who knows me and knew the man I married can see the truth of these circumstances with absolute transparency.

Choosing to speak has not been an easy decision. I will continue to follow a path of decent behaviour however poor the behaviour of others has been.

I remain heart broken that after an impeccable career of 24 years my employer whom I served faithfully chose to take such a path.

My love of music and theatre will not end here. Nor will my resolve to uphold my reputation and have what has taken place examined.

My despair at the treatment of the victims of abusive men grows.

We never speak of our experiences lightly. After struggling to negotiate a resolution via every quiet means available – I now join the league of women who publicly stand and say ….. #metoo

Vanessa will appeal against her dismissal.



  • Greg Bottini says:

    I hope you follow up on this story, Norman.
    I’d like to hear what Vanessa’s appeal will say, and what the result of it will be.

  • John Rook says:

    This is reminiscent of Tamar Iveri’s case.

    • Eddie Pensier says:

      No it is not. Not in the slightest.

      • Lilas Pastia says:

        Tamar Iveri was also fired by Opera Australia because of written material posted in her name on the internet. As she too claimed that it was posted by her husband, there certainly is a reminiscense here.

      • V. Lind says:

        I think you are basically right, but the ploy of blaming the husband did for a time occur in the Iveri case. So for Opera Australia, which took a lot of stick (quite rightly, as I recall) for dithering and delaying — to quote a popular British pol — over the dismissal of Iveri, Ms. Lewis’ offering the same excuse must have been rather haunting.

        It may have prompted a rush to judgment. Given Ms. Lewis’ long association with the company, that seems rather unfair. But there is a need for investigation here. Suspension might have been a better route.

        I don’t use Facebook, or any other social media. Is it not password-protected to prevent stuff like this?

  • concerned says:

    Opera Australia receives millions of tax dollars each year; more funding than any other arts organisation. It has a duty to be exemplary in its treatment and protection of employees. Such cases of employee mistreatment are rarely singular and often indicate cultural and systemic issues. This should be investigated thoroughly nad vigorously.

    • Observer says:

      It was investigated extremely thoroughly. She wrote absolutely disgusting things about her colleagues in a group setting and then, instead of apologising, blamed it on her ex-husband whom she had already discredited by setting him up and having him sent to jail. The picture perfect image she is portraying is false. She is a manipulative bully and OA did the right thing by her victims to get her out of the workplace.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Kangaroo court and de-platforming – not to mention reputational destruction. All courtesy of the totalitarian Left.

    • May says:

      Australia is in the southern hemisphere, meaning everything is directionally reversed. Please correct your comment to indicate the totalitarian Right, as most of the readers of this blog are in the northern hemisphere and might be confused as to your assumption. thanks mate!

  • Me! says:

    I think it is difficult to have chosen to marry an abusive and child sex predator husband, stayed with him for decades, allowed him to “force” her to post things abusive to others under her own name and account and expect to have all forgiven as she continues to work, perhaps with those she abused at his urging. To me, she has to bear some responsibility, this is not metoo. She obviously needs and needed assistance making proper choices and behaviours, but her post shows zero self responsibility or maturity. At minimum she needs to post a complex statement clarifying for the uninitiated why her nutty sounding post is somehow acceptable and she deserves no adult accountability.

  • Craig says:

    But no apology and no acknowledgement of wrong doing :-/

  • The View from America says:

    11th Commandment:

    You live by social media … you die by social media.