Several women claim to have been sexually harassed by the opera star, Placido Domingo. The Los Angeles Opera has announced the opening of an investigation.
The famous opera singer Placido Domingo faces a series of accusations of sexual harassment, which prompted the Los Angeles Opera to announce an investigation and two large American theatres to cancel performances.
In an investigation published Tuesday by the Associated Press, nine women – only one having accepted that his name be published, the others remaining anonymous – claim to have been sexually harassed, from the the late 80s, by the legendary singer. Spanish origin, considered as the greatest living star of the lyrics.
One of them claims that he put his hand under his robe, three others that he imposed kisses on them. They also evoke inappropriate gestures, such as a hand on the knee during lunch, or insistent calls late at night.
Seven of the nine women reported that their careers had taken a hit after they had rejected his advances and that they had never been able to work with him again.
Two said they succumbed briefly, fearing to jeopardize their careers. One of them reported having twice had sex with him.
These women were all young and early career at the time of the alleged events, according to AP.
“Painful to hear”
“The allegations of these anonymous individuals who sometimes go back 30 years are deeply troubling and, as presented, inaccurate,” responded Placido Domingo, 78, in a statement sent by his agent.
“However, it is painful to hear that I was able to trouble or embarrass anyone – even if it was a very long time ago and despite my intentions,” said the Spanish-born singer. , become world-famous thanks to the representations of the “Three Tenors” given with Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras.
“I thought that all my interactions and relationships were always welcome and agreed,” added the prolific tenor-turned baritone, who in a half-century career has recorded more than 100 albums and has performed more than 4,000 times.
He also argued that “the rules and standards we are – and must be – today are very different from what they were in the past (…). I will respect the highest standards.”
Reactions were quick in a country where the #MeToo movement, launched in October 2017 by sexual assault charges against the powerful film producer Harvey Weinstein, has already brought down many men of power, especially in the show world.
The Los Angeles orchestra, which Placido Domingo has been managing director since 2003, has announced it will “hire a lawyer to investigate the worrying allegations” against his star.
“We are determined to do everything possible to foster a professional environment where all our employees and artists feel comfortable, valued and respected,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.
The Philadelphia Orchestra, where Placido Domingo was scheduled to perform for the opening of the season on September 18, announced that it had withdrawn its invitation, citing the need to ensure “a respectful environment” for the orchestra, its staff and its audience.
The San Francisco Opera, where Placido Domingo was expected in early October, did the same.
Met New York, where Placido Domingo was scheduled to perform in September, said he would wait for the results of the Los Angeles investigation before “making final decisions about Domingo’s future at the Met.”
The great New York opera has itself been recently shaken by accusations of sexual assault against its music director, James Levine, first suspended and then fired after an internal investigation in March 2018, after more than 40 years of career.
On the other hand, the director of the festival in Salzburg, Austria, where Placido Domingo is scheduled to perform on 25 and 31 August, did not plan to cancel.
“I’ve known Placido Domingo for more than 25 years” and “I’ve been impressed from the beginning by the very grateful way he treated the festival staff,” Helga Rabl-Stadler said in a statement.
“I would find it objectively unjust and irresponsible, on a human level, to make definitive judgments now,” she added.
In addition to the nine accusers cited, about forty other women told the AP agency to have witnessed inappropriate behaviour of the star.