NEW YORK • Another prominent man is the latest to face the sexual-harassment music even as an alleged victim has drawn hate mail and Pamela Anderson has defended her view that women knew what they were getting into when they met men alone.
The legendary music director at New York's Metropolitan Opera was said last Saturday to have molested a teenage boy in the 1980s.
The alleged victim told the police in Illinois that the abuse began in 1985 when he was 15 and Levine 41, and continued until 1993, leading the unidentified man to the brink of suicide, reported The New York Post.
The Met is one of the premier opera companies in the world. The Post said the opera company's general manager was informed of the allegations last year.
"He inflicted shame and guilt on me," the paper quoted the now 48-year-old alleged victim as having told the police. "Emotionally, I have been hurt by this and confused and paralysed."
Levine, now 74, made his Met debut in 1971, going on to lead more than 2,500 performances of 85 operas and working with greats such as Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo. He was music director at the Met for 40 years before retiring at the end of the 2015-16 season for health reasons - he has Parkinson's disease - but has stayed on as music director emeritus.
Winner of 10 Grammys, Levine conducted a performance of Verdi's Requiem at the Lincoln Centre last Saturday, shortly before the Post published the allegations.
The alleged victim told the police in Lake Forest, Illinois that Levine would masturbate in front of him.
The claims cannot be criminally prosecuted as the state's statute of limitations has expired, but the Post said the police investigated and submitted findings to the state attorney. No charges have been brought.
The Post said the alleged abuse began while Levine was guest conductor at the Ravinia Music Festival in Chicago where the man first met the maestro as a four-year-old.
Over subsequent years, Levine sent him gifts such as conductors' batons before, in 1985, driving him home and stopping the car in his family's driveway. "He started holding my hand in a prolonged and incredibly sensual way," he was quoted as saying. "I was very uncomfortable."
He added that Levine first fondled him when he was around 16 at a hotel in Lake Forest, which he claimed was the scene of "hundreds of incidents" over the years. The alleged abuse "nearly destroyed my family and almost led me to suicide", the paper quoted him as telling police.
The alleged victim said the encounters continued until 1993 and that Levine gave him US$50,000 (S$67,000) in cash over the years.
In October, the actor revealed that Kevin Spacey had made sexual advances in 1986 when he was 14 and Spacey 26.
Angry Spacey fans have since slammed Rapp, now 46, for ending the career of the House Of Cards star. Last week, Rapp tweeted: "Here are some comments on Instagram. I've decided I want to share some of them because people need to be outed for their harassment."
Among the comments was one that read: "So you were 14 and at an adult party? So you were innocently chilling in a room watching TV while a party was happening? Seriously? You are an opportunist. You are not a victim."
Another person said: "I don't understand why you have to go public about it... What you did is a sick way to get attention and try to get famous... This is all assuming that the accusation is true. "
The suspicion was picked up by another Spacey fan who posted: "Funny how you conveniently come out with this nonsense while Harvey Weinstein is big in the news."
The 50-year-old actress had told Today host Megyn Kelly last week that it was common knowledge that certain producers in Hollywood "are people to avoid, privately".
"You know what you're getting into if you're going into a hotel room alone. If someone answers the door in a bathrobe, leave. These are things that are common sense, but I know Hollywood is seductive and the people want to be famous."
After her blunt assessment drew backlash online, she posted: "Somebody had to say this. We have the power to be safe and free by using common sense. My position is not 'problematic' because I don't fall in line with the common herd or trend... I'm trying to tell women as a survivor of childhood abuse myself. It is important to be pro-active as an adult who knows better.
"Don't get in cars with strangers... don't go to hotel rooms alone for an audition. Women are powerful and smart and we can use all our charms in more positive ways. And I stand by what I say. My mother taught me - protect yourself. I am not an easy girl and have not had as many partners as people might think."