Everyone at the Met has to attend harrassment training

Everyone at the Met has to attend harrassment training


norman lebrecht

December 03, 2019

The Met will launch its post-Levine Sexual Harrassment training programme today. Attendance is obligatory.

From Diane Zola:

Please plan to attend a mandatory anti-harassment workshop, scheduled for 9: 00-10:15AM on Tuesday, December 3rd in the Belmont Room.

During this workshop, a representative from the Met’s Human Resources department wants to facilitate a discussion on sexual harassment-specifically, what it is, what it is to do with you, and how we can help it not hospitable (sic) to harassing behavior. There is also room for rehearsal and staging processes.

New York City and New York State have recently passed laws that provide annual anti-harassment workshops like this….

We take very seriously our responsibility to provide a safe and supportive space for all the members of the Met community, and we believe these workshops are an important part of our efforts.


Diane Zola
Assistant General Manager, Artistic
The Metropolitan Opera


  • V. Lind says:

    Mandatory for whom, I wonder? Yannick Nézet-Seguin? Renee Fleming? Gerald Finley?

    They waited a long time after Levine. Is that really the trigger?

    What are “rehearsal and staging processes” when they’re at home?

    • kaa12840 says:

      Everyone at Columbia University from very senior Professors to janitors have to perform sexual harassment training, and every year. This also happens at every major academic institution; I am surprised that this has not been happening at the Met; I think that it is mandated by New York State

  • Alexander says:

    will it be mandatory for foreign singers who perform there? Nadine Sierra talking to ( for instance) Aida Garifullina on how exciting it was to perform in bikini to support women’s right for equality and say “no” to male domination … options are possible
    PS I’m kidding 😉 hopefully that is in law yet

  • Rob says:

    It’s only sexual ?

  • John Borstlap says:

    I had read the heading totally differently.

    • V. Lind says:

      I just skimmed it until your post, then I looked again and — lo! My spellcheck would never let me away with that spelling of “harassment.” Although this is hardly the first time there has been evidence that there is no spellchecker on the SD software.

  • Guest says:

    These sexual harassment meetings are now standard practice for all U.S. companies. This is how companies reduce or eliminate their liability when cases arise. It’s for rank and file; music directors (and others who probably should) don’t have to attend.

  • Olassus says:

    So stupid and demeaning. All that is needed is respect and an understanding of why people are together in the workplace. These ridiculous and costly programs assume employees lack this.

    • John Kelly says:

      Believe me, employees do need this training. It’s been required in Connecticut for years and my company has done it numerous times. It’s actually valuable and useful, not just to reduce legal liability but to teach people things they need to know about workplace behavior. You’d be amazed at what goes on in corporate America that DOESN’T get reported. Ask any HR executive in any company!

    • Bruce says:

      “All that is needed is respect and an understanding of why people are together in the workplace.”

      Yes, absolutely. And you’d be amazed at how many people lack that respect and understanding.

    • Dennis says:

      Being stupid and demeaning is the point of “human resources” departments these days.

  • The View from America says:

    The role-playing exercises in these sessions should be absolutely fascinating.

  • John Rook says:

    Will they offer courses teaching people how to wipe their own bottoms, too? Seems like they should…

  • Stephanie Patterson says:

    These training sessions are now across-the-board in all companies. However, the trainers may or may not be qualified, and enforcement of workplace standards may or may not be effective. My best guess is that employees who report issues will still face negative outcomes – being sent to counseling, transferred to other positions, or just forced out.

    Training on how to treat people with respect should have started at home and should have been done by the PARENTS!

  • Former employee says:

    How about training for senior management there to treat their staff better and not publicly make scenes with some of their bi-polar meltdowns which can be from no coffee in the coffee room to a misspelled word in a letter, to schedule needs, to their own personal bias regarding the employee personally and real criteria for hiring staff, not just for the color of their eyes or the size of their chest or behind. Yes, people that goes on there and nothing is or has ever been done to those senior management people.

  • Karl says:

    I get it at my workplace. I tuned out when the trainer started going on about micro-aggressions. Ugh! The definition of sexual harassment has expanded too much. Just touching someone on the shoulder is now considered sexual harassment. But a few weeks after the training a woman at work touched me on the shoulder and I informed her that it was sexual harassment. She just laughed. I’m so traumatized!

    • John Borstlap says:

      My PA sometimes accused me of harassment when I insisted that she need to come to work at the agreed time and not 2 hours late.

  • mary says:

    Everyone needs training to recognize it and to know what to do immediately when they witness it.

    Recall the Met chorister who got John Copley fired, actually, many in the chorus witnessed the incident, but they differed in their interpretation of the incident, some blaming the chorister, some blaming the stage director, some not knowing what to think at all.

    What is needed is that everyone should at least know what is the proper procedure to follow, even if they disagree with what is it they actually witnessed.

  • ThrownOutOfTheKremlinForSinging says:

    Who needs sexual harassment training? Most people can figure out all by themselves how to sexually harass a co-worker. Over-rehearsal can ruin the spontaneity and make your harassment less effective.

  • Dennis says:

    “Human Resources” departments are a greater menace to society than “sexual harassment.”

  • An Ordinary Member of the Public says:

    Mandated by Woke bits of fluff who now occupy HR departments at the behest of ass-covering management. Training run by otherwise-unemployable Grievance Studies Red Guards. Struggle sessions where white cishet males will be forced to denounce themselves. Institution of draconian policies which assume guilt. Even completely professional conduct will be no defense against even the most implausible accusation.

  • RayBlew says:

    Job posting: Copy editor for Diane Zola.

    That second paragraph is a disaster. “Wants to”? You mean that’s what they’d like to do, but whether it happens remains to be seen? How about using an em-dash, or is “harassment-specifically” a hyphenated word now? Do you mean “what it HAS to do with you? As for “how we can help it not hospitable”, seriously, wtf?

    And then why the ellipsis ending the third paragraph? Is that not a simple statement of fact?

  • Dear Old White Dudes Who Always Remain Anonymous,

    “Human Resources are a greater menace to society than sexual harassment”

    “Mandated by woke bits of fluff Who now occupy HR departments”

    Really? Well now. What’s in your closet, if you think that it’s better for men in positions of power to be allowed to treat women and young boys as they please with impunity rather than attend a class one morning a year. Afraid, perhaps, that these woke bits of fluff (in this case, a woman) might change the status quo?

    It is, of course, too little, and late, but for decades the Met allowed harassment and severe abuse to happen within its hallowed hall. It is an open secret from Key West to Nanaimo that they paid off children who complained. The public allegations against Levine are the tip of the iceberg, and hopefully the Met will one day release the other victims from their NDAs, considering their former music director is sleeping in his four-poster bed enjoying his large severance. A bit like Cardinal Law, who passed away peacefully in Vatican luxury.

    For you men to deride even a tiny bit of progress in this department is revolting. If you’d like to discuss this any further, let me know, although I will engage no further with limp shriveled cowards who hide behind anonymity.


    Lara St John

    Advocate for ChildUSA,
    Advocate for RAINN,
    Child Rape Survivor

    • Enquiring Mind says:

      I don’t know if I am a limp shriveled coward but I am an old white dude with a question. If the violin teacher who raped you had taken a 2 hour seminar on sexual harassment, do you think it would have changed anything?

      • Lara St. John says:

        if the school had had harassment rules at the time, it may certainly have made a difference. And even if there could have been a small chance that he would not have then raped me I would deem it well worth it. A two hour class: possibly not raping a child vs no class and definitely raping a child. Why don’t you decide, O anonymous old man?

    • Karl says:

      Are the 18 women who accused Domingo without being publicly named also limp shriveled cowards? The expanding definition or sexual impropriety is creating problems of false accusations and men are most often the victims. You have to understand that false accusations DO happen. I’ve been a victim and I know several other men who have been falsely accused of everything from harassment to rape. Refusing to engage with people who don’t share your views on this isn’t productive.

      • Lara St. John says:

        You are old men sitting behind their computers spewing comments about how sexual harassment training is worse than sexual harassment. The 18 Domingo accusers are young women who rightly fear reprisal and blacklisting from men in positions of power in a small profession. The two who came forward publicly are retired. Do you seriously not see a difference here, O anonymous dude?
        Seems as though your mind is also shriveled.

  • Scott Fruehwald says:

    Traditional Sexual harassment training is a waste of time. Do you think Levine would have said “you know, maybe I shouldn’t do this” if he had had traditional harassment training?

    There are two types of sexual harassers: 1) those who realize what they are doing and don’t care and 2) those who think sexual harassment is wrong but don’t recognize that they are sexual harassers. Sexual harassment training will not help those in group 1. What members of this group need to curtail their misconduct is the threat of punishment and public embarrassment. Sexual harassment training, however, can help those in group 2, but only if they are shown that “cognitive biases” are preventing them from recognizing that they are sexual harassers.

    Many sexual harassers are not bad people; they are just “ethically blind” to their harassment. Under this bias, a person can find sexual harassment to be repugnant, but that person can still commit sexual harassment himself because he doesn’t recognize that his conduct is sexual harassment because of the bias. For example, a comedian might think that grabbing a sleeping woman’s breasts is not sexual harassment because it is funny. However, the comedian never considered how the victim would feel.

    The overconfidence effect helps create ethical blindness. Under this bias in relation to sexual harassment, a person is overconfident that he can act ethically in a certain situation. However, this objective predication is affected by emotions and the context of the event. Humans are often guilty of faulty emotional predictions. We think that we will act in a certain way when something happens, but we don’t account for the effects of our emotions and how the situation influences them. For example, an orchestra conductor may objectively believe that he can have an affair with one of his orchestra’s members without crossing ethical boundaries. However, when trouble arises in the relationship, the emotions created by the situation that produced the trouble often results in a sexual harassment suit.

    How can new and improved sexual harassment training help an individual overcome these cognitive biases? First, the training must make the attendees aware of the cognitive biases that affect sexual harassment. Second, the training must teach participants to self-reflect. Not to just learn the rules, but to think about what the rules mean and why they exist. Not to just be aware of the cognitive biases, but to think about how they might affect the individual’s behavior. A particularly effective type of reflection is to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. With sexual harassment, a person should think about how the victim will feel about the misconduct. Most humans are very empathetic, but they sometimes need to be shown situations in which empathy is needed. Third, role playing can be a very effective method of overcoming cognitive biases. Fourth, when in doubt, an individual should consult a neutral third party. Finally, slow down! A lot of sexual harassment occurs when the individual is acting based on intuition. Slow, reasoned judgment can help you avoid misconduct in many situations.

    For a more detailed description see my book on cognitive biases on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Overcoming-Cognitive-Lawyers-Students/dp/1985130130/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_img_5?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=7XG5D5R70KVJ1QF34Y1F. The main audience is lawyers and law students, but it doesn’t take any special training to understand the book.

  • Anon! A Moose! says:

    As others have noted, this is now normal in a lot of places. While it sexual harassment is a real problem, the training is a waste though, as the people who need it will just roll their eyes the whole time and the people who don’t need it, well they don’t need it so it’s a waste of their time and the employers’ resources. But the employer gets to tick off the magic lawsuit-repelling box.

  • Steve says:

    It’s called fascism.

  • Nick says:

    The craziness persists!

  • Nick says:

    Overton Window is working! Unthinkable only 20 years ago became an obligatory norm!! Full blown mass idiocy!

  • Cantantelirico says:

    Will Plácido and Jimmy be conducting the workshop?

  • BrianB says:

    Good heavens, most organizations and institutions from corporations to the military services have been doing this for years, with refreshers each year. What took the Met so long?