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Placido Domingo backtracks on earlier statement about sexual harassment accusations

By | Published on Friday 28 February 2020

Placido Domingo

Placido Domingo has backtracked on the apology he issued earlier this week. The opera star said on Tuesday that he takes “full responsibility for [his] actions” after results of an investigation into numerous claims of sexual harassment against him were leaked.

Allegations investigated by the American Guild Of Musical Artists included unsolicited kissing and groping, and late night phone calls inviting women to his house, while two women said that they’d had sex with him fearing that it would damage their careers if they did not accept his advances.

In a new statement yesterday, according to the New York Times, Domingo said that he wanted to “correct the false impression” that he was admitting any wrongdoing in his previous statement.

“My apology was sincere and wholehearted”, he said. “But I know what I haven’t done, and I will deny it again. I have never behaved aggressively toward anybody, nor have I ever done anything to obstruct or hurt the career of anybody. On the contrary, I have dedicated a large part of my half-century in the world of opera to helping the industry and to promoting the career of innumerable singers”.

In his previous statement, he said: “I have taken time over the last several months to reflect on the allegations that various colleagues of mine have made against me. I respect that these women finally felt comfortable enough to speak out and I want them to know that I am truly sorry for the hurt that I caused them. I accept full responsibility for my actions and I have grown from this experience”.

The results of the AGMA’s investigation only became public after an anonymous whistleblower leaked them to the Associated Press. It transpired that the organisation had been attempting to negotiate an agreement with the music star to keep the report confidential, in return for a payment of $500,000 from Domingo. This despite the AGMA saying last year that it was launching its own investigation because it didn’t think opera organisations with direct links to the singer could be trusted to properly scrutinise the allegations against him.

Domingo’s backtracking comes as a number of opera venues in Europe confirm that they are considering cancelling planned performances by the star. He told the NYT that he himself had decided to pull out of a run of performances of ‘La Traviata’ at Madrid’s Teatro Real “to prevent my situation from affecting, harming or causing any additional inconvenience”. But it later transpired that the venue was already discussing the cancellation of the performances.