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Peter Martins retires from New York City Ballet amid sexual harassment allegations

UPI News Service, 01/03/2018 

Peter Martins, who has led the New York City Ballet for more than three decades, has retired from the company amid sexual harassment allegations.

"Peter has informed the board of the New York City Ballet of his intention to retire. We thank Peter for his tremendous contributions to New York City Ballet as ballet master-in-chief for over three decades, leading the Company to exceptional artistic heights and accomplishments," chairman Charles Scharf said in a letter to the board.

Two dozen former performers claimed Martins bullied them about their appearance and weight and had sexual relationships with several dancers.

"At the same time, the board takes seriously the allegations that have been made against him and we expect the independent investigation of those allegations to be completed soon," the letter continued.

The 71-year-old denied the allegations in a separate letter to the board where he announced his retirement.

"I have denied, and continue to deny, that I have engaged in any such misconduct," Martin said "I cooperated fully in the investigation and understand it will be completed shortly. I believe its findings would have vindicated me."

The allegations have seemingly caused a split amongst current and former dancers who share different opinions on the behavior of Martins.

Former dancers including 24 men and women, described to The New York Times how Martins created a culture of intimidation at the company and how peers had been afraid to speak out.

Current dancers, however, have defended Martins stating that the allegations do not fit the man they know.

"He has been nothing but respectful of me," Sterling Hyltin, a longtime principal ballerina, said. "It's been really upsetting to see former dancers speaking on behalf of current dancers."

The New York City Ballet and its School of American Ballet will begin a search for a new ballet master-in-chief.

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