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Boston Symphony Orchestra Cut Ties With Guest Conductor Charles Dutoit Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Charles Dutoit denied the allegations and called them "shocking"

The Boston Symphony Orchestra has cut ties with guest conductor Charles Dutoit amid sexual misconduct allegations.

Three opera singers and a classical musician say that the world-renowned conductor sexually assaulted them on the sidelines of rehearsals and performances in five U.S. cities.

"Given the extremely troubling allegations against Charles Dutoit reported by Associated Press this morning, the Boston Symphony Orchestra will end its relationship with him and he will no longer appear as a guest conductor," the orchestra said in a statement. "The Boston Symphony Orchestra is committed to a zero tolerance policy towards anyone who exhibits inappropriate behavior in the workplace, and behavior that runs counter to these core values will always be met with serious consequences."

Dutoit has served as a guest conductor for the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1981.

The women told The Associated Press that Dutoit physically restrained them, sometimes thrust his tongue into their mouths, and in one case stuck one of their hands down his pants.

The four women say the incidents occurred between 1985 and 2010 in Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Saratoga Springs, New York.

The 81-year-old Dutoit denied the allegations, which NBC News did not independently confirm. He called them "shocking."

"Whilst informal physical contact is commonplace in the arts world as a mutual gesture of friendship, the serious accusations made involving coercion and forced physical contact have absolutely no basis in truth," he said in a statement. "I am taking legal advice and plan to meaningfully defend myself and I believe within this current climate, media accusations on serious physical abuse do not help society tackle these issues properly if the claims are in fact not true."

Dutoit is artistic director and principal conductor of London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He has led orchestras in Philadelphia, Paris, Montreal and Tokyo and traveled the globe widely as a guest conductor. He is scheduled to conduct the New York Philharmonic next month.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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