ARTS

Spanish opera singer Plácido Domingo apologizes to women after probe finds misconduct

The tenor has said he is sorry for all the “hurt” he caused his victims and takes “full responsibility” for his actions

Spanish opera singer Plácido Domingo in 2019.
Spanish opera singer Plácido Domingo in 2019.Mònica Torres

An investigation from an opera union in the United States has found that Spanish opera singer Plácido Domingo sexually harassed women and abused his power when he was general director of the Washington National Opera and Los Angeles Opera, The Associated Press reported on Tuesday. Following the news, the Spanish tenor issued a press release apologizing for the “hurt” he caused the women and accepting “full responsibility” for the accusations made against him in recent months.

The lawyers hired by the American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents opera performers, found a “clear pattern of sexual misconduct and abuse of power by Domingo spanning at least two decades,” according to anonymous sources consulted by The Associated Press.

I want them to know that I am truly sorry for the hurt that I caused them
Opera singer Plácido Domingo

In 2019, between September and the end of December, the lawyers interviewed 55 people, according to sources close to the investigation. Twenty-seven of them experienced or witnessed sexually inappropriate behavior from Domingo in the 1990s and 2000s, and 12 said that they were aware of the opera singer’s reputation and that this was also known to the opera companies.

In a press release published by Europa Press on Tuesday, Domingo expressed his respect for his female colleagues who, in August 2019, “felt comfortable enough to speak out” about the harassment. “I understand now that some women may have feared expressing themselves honestly because of a concern that their careers would be adversely affected if they did so,” he said. “While that was never my intention, no one should ever be made to feel that way.”

The investigation found a “clear pattern of sexual misconduct and abuse of power by Domingo spanning at least two decades”

He added: “I have taken time over the last several months to reflect on the allegations that various colleagues of mine have made against me [...] and I want them to know that I am truly sorry for the hurt that I caused them.”

In the press release, Domingo said he is “committed” to leading “positive” change in the opera sector so that “no one has to go through the same thing.” “My fervent desire is that this will become a safer place to work and I hope that my example pushes others to follow my steps,” he added.

When the scandal erupted in August last year, the Spanish opera star initially denied all the accusations of sexual harassment, claiming it was both “impossible and inconceivable” for him to have abused of his position as general director of Washington National Opera and Los Angeles Opera.

“I would never have behaved in the harassing, aggressive and vulgar way they have accused me of,” Domingo said last November.

The investigation from the American Guild of Musical Artists is the first of two independent probes that were opened after several women accused Domingo of sexual abuse and abuse of power. The second, which has not yet concluded, was launched by Los Angeles Opera, which Domingo led from 2003 until his resignation last October.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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