Orchestra: Dutoit sexual misconduct allegations ‘credible’
BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Symphony Orchestra said an independent investigation into a sexual harassment allegation against prominent conductor Charles Dutoit found that it was credible and uncovered at least three other alleged instances of misconduct.
The orchestra announced Friday that the investigation found “credible” the allegations against the Swiss conductor brought by Fiona Allen, a former intern for the orchestra who is now chief executive at the Birmingham Hippodrome, a theater in the United Kingdom.
The investigation also revealed three other current and former orchestra employees who say they were sexually harassed by Dutoit in the 1980s and 1990s. The orchestra didn’t describe the nature of the new allegations, other than to say they too have been deemed credible.
The 81-year-old Grammy-winning conductor has strongly denied previous accusations, which span multiple cities over a four-decade period starting in the late 1970s, and range from groping and kissing to, in one instance, rape.
Dutoit has said he’s “appalled and sickened” by the rape allegation, which he called a “bewildering and baseless charge.”
Dutoit has not been charged with any crimes. An email sent to Dutoit’s business office in Montreal, Canada, went unanswered.
Dutoit stepped down as artistic director and principal conductor at London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra following the allegations. He has also led orchestras in Philadelphia, Paris, Montreal and Tokyo and traveled widely as a guest conductor.
Allan, who is also president of the UK Theatre Association, alleges Dutoit pushed her against a wall and put his hand on her breast while she was delivering papers to his dressing room at Tanglewood, the orchestra’s summer home in Massachusetts’ Berkshires, in 1997.
Neither Allan nor the other women complained to management about the incidents at the time, the orchestra said. A spokeswoman at the Birmingham Hippodrome didn’t immediately comment.
Dutoit was a longtime guest conductor for the Boston Symphony Orchestra but never held a formal role. The orchestra was among a number of prominent orchestras to quickly sever ties with Dutoit after The Associated Press reported on allegations by Allan and other women in December.
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Allan has done.
In light of the new allegations, the orchestra said it was revoking an honor it bestowed on Dutoit in 2016 and taking a number of internal steps, including creating a secure hotline to handle “complaints and concerns.”
“Let me be clear that we want to send a strong message that any form of sexual harassment or assault goes completely against our values and will not be tolerated,” Mark Volpe, the orchestra’s managing director, said in a statement. “The Boston Symphony Orchestra is extraordinarily thankful to the women who participated in its independent investigation and shared information about their experiences.”