The Met ought to compensate the victims of Jimmy's indiscretions

When the pedophilia scandal first enveloped the Catholic Church, its first line of defense was denial or trying to distance the institution from the predator priests. Church officials lied about the problem or blamed it on isolated miscreants.

Then it commissioned a study that among other things suggested the incidence of pedophilia and homosexuality in the Church’s ranks were partly the result of the breakdown of traditional moral values or the libertinage of modern times.

Or whatever. That fanciful baloney, of course, ignored the long history of homosexual hanky-panky in the Church, going back to, hmm, at least, Pope Julius III (1487-1555).

Julius, who mercifully reigned for only five years, had an eye for young boys and fell head over heels for a 15-year-old street hustler named Fabian, whom he adopted as his “nephew,” renamed Innocenzo and made a cardinal.

Julius III: What’s new pussycat? 

There is indeed very little new under the sun as far as Catholic priests preying on altar boys—or the institutional church sweeping the problem under the very expensive carpets at the Vatican.

Now we have James Levine, the legendary music director of the New York Metropolitan Opera until last year, and guest conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s  summer Ravinia Festival outside Chicago.

Being gay myself, I know quite a number of friends known among ourselves as “opera queens”, who can at the drop of hat give you breathless interpretations of, say, the second act Alban Berg’s “Lulu”.

To the last, these opera queens say that the “Jimmy” Levine story is very old and widely known, and it must have be so to the management and directors of the Metropolitan Opera who let him go on molesting  young men unimpeded, shielded by his fame and star power.

The Met’s suspension of Levine seems as a worst case of too little and too late.

In the case of the Catholic Church, truth and justice caught up with the institution, if only after decades of denials and subterfuge, to the tune of billions of dollars paid in reparations to the victims.

In Ireland, once considered an island colony of the Vatican, the damage to the Irish church’s finances and reputation has been incalculable.

In the U.S. it’s sad to think of all the good the church might have accomplished if instead of billions for reparations it had invested that money to sustain Catholic schools in the inner cities. But at least the Church owned up to the problem.

The question now is whether the august cultural institutions that apparently condoned Levine’s behavior are going to get out their checkbooks and compensate the victims—and apologize to them individually—or just get a pass on the strength of florid apologies.

Is the The Old Vic theater in London going to own up to its responsibility to the fifteen or twenty young actors and staffers Kevin Spacey allegedly harassed while he was artistic director from 2004 to 2015?

And so on with regard to other institutions and organizations—the Weinstein Company, NBC and CBS come to mind—which so far have fired the individual perpetrators but failed to own up to their organizational  failure to pay sufficient attention to what was going on or looking away once they did.

Say what you will about Fox News, but when the sexual harassment scandals there erupted the Murdoch brothers not only fired the aggressors but compensated the victims—big time.

Which brings us to Mexico, which according to various reports, is one of the world capitals of mistreatment of women. A fellow blogger just published a post,  “The Rape Culture in Mexico,” with lengthy details and documentation about this tragic problem which seems to be part of the country’s genetic makeup. Though Mexican politicians and bureaucrats give the problem endless hoo-hah and blah-blah, little is done to combat it. Read it and weep.

And another footnote. To help celebrate my seventieth birthday on December 30, Stew got us tickets for the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of “Tosca” on New Year’s Eve. Last I checked, Jimmy was supposed to conduct. Now what?


One thought on “The Met ought to compensate the victims of Jimmy's indiscretions

  1. Anonymous

    Is Ford Motor Company responsible for the pecadillos of the guy that puts the left front tire on the cars? No, the doctrine of deep pockets has to stop somewhere. It is the people of the Catholic church that eventually had to pay those so called “reparations.” Every expense gets passed on down to the believers that go to mass. And why don't these supposed victims take responsibility for their own personal actions? At some time, they should have pulled up their pants and went home.Just my opinion. PS Have fun at the opera and enjoy New York.Robert GillPhoenix, AZ


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