Placido Domingo sued by a Spanish singer for sexual harassment

by Lorraine Williamson
Placido Domingo - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pl%C3%A1cido_Domingo.jpg

MADRID – Since 2019, Placido Domingo has come under international fire for various sexual harassment charges. For a long time, it remained silent in Spain. Now the world-famous Spanish opera singer has also been sued by a Spanish woman for the first time. 

A Spanish singer told her story anonymously in the Salvados program of broadcaster La Sexta. She related practices very similar to those exposed by fellow victims in the United States earlier in 2019. The Spanish woman wants to remain anonymous for fear of adverse consequences for her successful career. 

“It’s something you can’t tell, because whom are you telling? It’s Placido Domingo and you’re nobody,” the singer said in the program about the inviolability of great celebrities like Domingo. 

The singer accused Domingo of a series of alleged harassment situations when she shared the stage with him in 2000. The opera singer is said to have kissed her on the mouth against her will during a performance when the lights were turned off. On another occasion, he asked her to put his hand in the back pocket of her trousers in front of witnesses. “I didn’t know what to say without offending him and to keep him calm,” the alleged victim admitted. 

The anonymous singer took the opportunity of the interview to call on the cultural world to appoint confidants in theatres and other venues. According to her, such a measure is more than necessary “because these things sometimes happen in front of everyone”. 

“Public secret” 

With her statements, the woman is the first Spanish to join the complaints from other countries against Domingo. The first to name Domingo in a sexual harassment complaint was American mezzo-soprano, Patricia Wulf. “It was an open secret,” Wulf assured about the various situations in which the opera singer would have misbehaved. According to Wulf, Domingo acted “like a god” in the opera world. He showed up in her dressing room knowing she was changing, made constant advances and called her at odd hours, and spoke of her husband as his rival. 

The scandal erupted in August 2019 following an Associated Press investigation that brought together the complaints of a dozen opera professionals in the United States. Subsequently, more testimonies came to light from the Los Angeles Opera, where Domingo was a director, as well as from the American Union of Music Artists AGMA. 

Cover up 

The former vice president, the baritone Samuel Schulz, reported in the program that a half-million-dollar deal had been made between the singer and the union. With that agreement, the research into the 27 women who suffered from the opera singer’s transgressive behaviour for 20 years would not be published. Schulz decided to leak the report to the press anyway. As a result, he has been placed completely outside the opera world and is out of work. 

The opera singer does not want to comment 

Salvados’ program, entitled Plácido, an open secret, declares at the end that several attempts have been made to speak to the opera singer himself. Neither he nor his entourage bothered to reply. It also contains several telephone testimonials from people who have worked with the tenor, surprised by the silence that reigned in Spain around the famous singer. “It is outrageous that we have not taken any action, not even institutionally,” one of them denounced. 

The tenor previously acknowledged his sexual misconduct 

In February 2020, Placido Domingo did respond to the charges in the United States. He acknowledged his sexual misconduct and expressed his respect for the women who dared to report it. He let them know that he was sincerely sorry for his actions and the suffering caused by them. 

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