More women have come forward with sexual assault complaints against Charles Dutoit. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), where the Swiss was principal conductor and artistic director, have removed him from his post.
“The protracted uncertainty and media reporting makes Mr Dutoit’s position with the orchestra untenable,” said RPO in a statement. “The RPO is committed to the highest standards of ethical behaviour and takes very seriously its responsibility to maintain a safe working environment for all its artists, musicians and staff.”
Allegations against Dutoit first surfaced in December 2017. Those to come forward include French soprano Anne-Sophie Schmidt, American soprano Sylvia McNair and Canadian soprano Pauline Vaillancourt. So far, ten people have accused Dutoit of assault, dating back to the late 1970s.
“He came out of his dressing room and he jumped on me, pushed me against the wall and started to touch me everywhere, on my chest, between my legs,” said Schmidt in an interview with the Associated Press. “I fought back, and I pushed him away.”
Dutoit has denied the allegations: “I do not recognise the man or the actions being described in the media,” he said. “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.”
Other orchestras to cut ties with Dutoit are Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and New York Philharmonic.