By Jonathan Allen
and Maria Caspani
NEW YORK – Opera singer Placido Domingo apologized to the women who have accused him of sexual harassment on Tuesday after an investigation by the American Guild of Musical Artists concluded he had behaved inappropriately with female performers.
One of the most feted and powerful opera stars of the modern era, Domingo said in a statement he had spent several months reflecting on the allegations made by his musical colleagues.
“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,” he said.
More than three dozen singers, dancers, musicians, voice teachers and backstage staff have said they witnessed or experienced inappropriate behavior by the 79-year-old Spanish singer toward women at different opera houses over the last three decades.
A former prosecutor was hired to investigate the complaints last September by the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), the labor union that represents performers and producers in opera houses and concert halls across the United States.
The union, of which Domingo is a member, announced its findings on Tuesday.
“The investigation concluded that Mr. Domingo had, in fact, engaged in inappropriate activity, ranging from flirtation to sexual advances, in and outside of the workplace,” the statement said. “Many of the witnesses expressed fear of retaliation in the industry as their reason for not coming forward sooner.”
Domingo said in his statement he now understood the women’s fear.
“While that was never my intention, no one should ever be made to feel that way,” he said.
“I am committed to affecting positive change in the opera industry so that no one else has to have that same experience.”
The union declined to make public its full report. Its board of governors will take “appropriate action,” the union statement said. Union spokeswoman Alicia Cook declined to discuss what action it would take regarding Domingo.
Domingo had disputed the allegations when they were first reported by the Associated Press (AP) last year, forcing him to sever ties with some of the foremost musical institutions in the United States.
Women told the AP that Domingo, who is married, forced wet kisses on them, groped them and sought to pressure them into meeting him privately outside work for sex. They described it as a pattern of behavior stretching back to the 1980s that had long been an open secret in the opera world. – Reuters