New York City Ballet’s leader Peter Martins is retiring as the company investigates accusations of sexual misconduct.
The 71-year-old made the announcement in a letter to the company’s board of directors, saying he continues to deny the allegations. Martins denies sexually harassing or abusing members of the company, including dancers.
The company previously announced an independent investigation into the allegations, after receiving an anonymous letter accusing its leader of harassment. He had previously said he would take a leave of absence from the company during the investigation, carried out by a law firm.
In a letter to the company’s board, Martins said he had “co-operated fully” in the investigation and that the scandal had “exacted a painful toll on me and my family”. He said it was time to retire to “bring an end to this disruption which has enveloped the Ballet”. “I believe its findings would have vindicated me,” he wrote of the investigation.
Board chairman Charles Scharf said: “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.
“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.”