Nearly six months after the American Guild of Musical Artists opened an investigation into the sexual harassment accusations of Placido Domingo, the union has revealed that the opera legend did indeed engage in inappropriate behavior.
“Many of the witnesses expressed fear of retaliation in the industry as their reason for not coming forward sooner,” the union wrote on their website. “The AGMA Board of Governors has accepted the findings of the report and will take appropriate action.”
The investigation occurred after the Associated Press released a report in August 2019 with more than 20 women coming forward accusing Domingo of unwanted sexual advances — from flirtation to late-night phone calls to physical touching.
One woman, Angela Turner Wilson, described an incident in which Domingo groped her breast while she was getting her makeup done for the female lead in Jules Massenet’s Le Cid. “What woman would ever want him to grab their breast? And it hurt,” she said. “Then I had to go on stage and act like I was in love with him.”
Domingo has profusely denied the accusations, calling them “not only inaccurate but unethical.” However, he reversed his statement on Tuesday, replying to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment by stating that he’s “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.
“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 continued. “While that was never my intention, no one should ever be made to feel that way. I am committed to affecting positive change in the opera industry so that no one else has to have that same experience. It is my fervent wish that the result will be a safer place to work for all in the opera industry, and I hope that my example moving forward will encourage others to follow.”
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Domingo withdrew from his performances at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City last fall, where he has been performing for more than 50 years. The San Francisco Opera also canceled his appearances. But he still has several dates booked abroad, including a singing role in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra at the Hamburg State Opera and a conducting role in Verdi’s Messa da Requiem at Moscow’s Zaryadye Hall.
“AGMA’s efforts to protect its members will not end with this investigation,” National Executive Director Leonard Egert said in a statement. “AGMA is calling upon all companies in Opera, Dance, and Choral concert fields to join an industry-wide initiative to positively change the culture. This will ensure that artists feel respected and empowered to address sexual harassment and related issues going forward.”