Ballet Master Retires After Being Accused Of Sexual Assault and Abuse
One thing that was not left behind in 2017 is the ongoing sexual harassment epidemic that plagued Hollywood and media outlets for several months.
Now, the scandal is hitting the dance stage. Danish ballet master and choreographer Peter Martins has been accused of sexual misconduct and abuse by several current and former dancers from the New York City Ballet.
Martins began his career with the Royal Danish Ballet in 1953. Martins became a principal dancer for the New York City Ballet in 1970 after appearing in several performances as a guest dancer. Martins officially retired from dancing in 1983 and assumed the role of Balletmaster-in-chief in 1990.
The acclaimed choreographer took a leave of absence in December 2017 before officially retiring in January 2018. Martins has been accused by over two dozen dancers. They all claimed Martins bullied and coerced them into having a sexual relationship with him.
Martins has denied the allegations against him, stating that it has "exacted a painful toll on him."
"To bring an end to this disruption which has enveloped the Ballet and the School, I have decided that it is time for me to retire. I have denied, and continue to deny, that I have engaged in any such misconduct," Martins stated.
The board chairman, Charles Scharf, acknowledged Martins' letter and stated that despite his bountiful career with the company, they will continue to take the allegations against Martins seriously.
"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," Scharf wrote.
While some are speaking against Martins, it has been reported that there are several dancers who were defending the former teacher.
Martins has had previous encounters with the law. He was arrested in 1982 after his wife, Darci Kistler, phoned for help. Kistler accused Martins of pushing and slapping her and cutting and bruising her arms and legs.
The 71-year-old former dancer choreographed several performances, including The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo + Juliet, and Swan Lake. He also choreographed the Barbie movies such as Barbie in the Nutcracker and Barbie of Swan Lake.
Martins now joins the growing list of high-profile men who are accused of using their power to manipulate men and women. The allegations began back in September 2017 after disgraced movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein, was accused of sexually harassing and abusing over 80 women.
Following Weinstein, actors Kevin Spacey, Ed Westwick, Danny Masterson, Dustin Hoffman, and former anchorman Matt Lauer were publicly outed as well.