New York City Ballet Is Investigating Sexual-Harassment Claims Against Chief Peter Martins

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Peter Martins. Photo: Chance Yeh/FilmMagic

The recent streak of sexual-harassment and misconduct claims made against powerful men has hit the ballet world. Per the New York Times, New York City Ballet is investigating sexual-harassment claims against ballet-master-in-chief Peter Martins after receiving an anonymous letter detailing “general, nonspecific allegations of sexual harassment in the past.” The School of American Ballet, where Martins serves as artistic director, has also suspended his weekly class and is taking part in the investigation. “We, together with New York City Ballet, promptly engaged an independent law firm that specializes in such matters to conduct a thorough investigation, despite the anonymous nature of the letter and the lack of specifics,” the school said in a statement. “Thus far, the investigation has not substantiated the allegations in the letter or discovered any reason to be concerned about student safety.”

While the contents of the letter are nonspecific, reports indicate that the allegations may focus on the inordinate power Martins wielded as a leader of the ballet, a position he has held since the 1980s, and the way he used it on the women he led and taught. Two former City Ballet dancers and three former students described to the Times “a culture in which Mr. Martins was known for sleeping with dancers, some of whom received better roles because of their personal relationships with him.”

NYC Ballet Investigating Peter Martins Harassment Claims