Friday, March 02, 2018

The Levine Cult

Here's a stunning report from the Boston Globe about the cult that James Levine ran in Cleveland. It is creepy as hell, because of the way he manipulated the cult members into various sexual encounters and used various mind control techniques.

An enterprising reporter is eventually going to find someone who got paid off to keep quiet about Levine. You know such people are out there, right?


Joanne Lafler said...

Once upon a time I would not have suspected that someone would be paid off to bury this creepy and depressing story. Now, nothing surprises me.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I'm thinking of individuals harmed by Levine. It's clear that no one in the Cleveland cult WANTED to talk about this.

Henry Holland said...

"Creepy and depressing" is correct. As I mentioned here previously, it was not even a badly kept secret --that would have required some, well, secrecy-- that James Levine had a thing for high school/college guys. What I find most disheartening in all this is the number of people in his career since the 1960's that either looked the other way or just flat-out denied the accusations. However, the managers, the agents, all the "infrastructure" around him didn't do a damn thing to help the students or stop him.

And the Boston SO's PR-massaged statement is just pathetic. Fine, you're not going to hire a guy who doesn't have a conducting career anymore, but what about when you hired him in the first place?

Joanne Lafler said...

You were thinking of victims signing non-disclosure agreements? Hmm. This gets very tangled, since only men of considerable wealth (two of whom come immediately to mind after last night's "Frontline" program), or men with wealthy and helpful friends, would have the resources for pay-offs. If I had been one of the people harmed by Levine, shame and fear would be more likely motives for maintaining silence.

Anonymous said...

Gadzooks. It reads like a bad novel.

It also repeatedly emphasizes that Levine is a brilliantly talented musician. What a shame he should squander that in this way.

Cameron Kelsall said...

Joanne: Levine is both a man of considerable personal wealth and a man who has (had?) many wealthy and influential friends. At least one of his victims has already admitted to receiving money in exchange for silence. It's not unreasonable to believe there are others in the same situation.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I didn't see Frontline - who was on and what did they say? As Cameron says, Levine has lots of money; his salary was in the $1.5 million per year range toward the end of his tenure at the Met, plus he was MD of the BSO and the Munich Phil at different times, did guest conducting, made records, etc. He must be worth millions.

Henry, yeah. It was such a badly kept secret that you really have to wonder how the BSO could have hired him in the first place. I read somewhere that there was a German orchestra that decided against him on the basis of the rumors alone.