Former New York City Ballet principal dancer Robert Fairchild has said he is “heartbroken and devastated” following the retirement of company chief Peter Martins amid sexual misconduct claims.
The performer described Martins, 71, as an “incredible” leader and said he had never witnessed any inappropriate behaviour.
Martins recently announced his departure in a letter to the organisation’s board of directors, saying he continues to deny allegations of sexually harassing or abusing members of the company, including dancers.
In a wordy Instagram post on Tuesday, Fairchild posted a picture of himself on stage with Martins and wrote: “Devastated for this man who has been nothing but INCREDIBLE to me.
“You can only speak from your own experiences and I’ve never witnessed anything less than professional and honourable. I respect those who have different experiences and I’m deeply sorry for your pain and do not discredit you.
“I wish you got to experience the man that I know. A good man.
“Heartbroken and devastated. Peter, know you are loved by so many of us. And we thank you for your 30 plus years at the helm of the NYCB.”
The New York City Ballet previously announced an independent investigation into the claims, 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.”