SAN FRANCISCO: Two opera singers who accused Placido Domingo of sexual misconduct said it was disappointing and disturbing that the opera legend recently claimed he had always behaved like a gentleman and never acted improperly toward women.
Angela Turner Wilson and Patricia Wulf were among more than 20 women who accused Domingo of sexual harassment or inappropriate sexually charged behavior in two Associated Press (AP) reports this summer.
Their new statement came in response to comments Domingo made in two recent interviews with European publications, in which he disputed the allegations against him and said he never abused his power.
He said he always behaved like a gentleman, but that “gallant gestures are viewed differently nowadays.”
“There is nothing ‘chivalrous’ or ‘gallant’ about groping a woman in the workplace, in any country or era,” Wilson and Wulf said in the statement issued through their attorney, Debra Katz.
The Grammy Award-winning singer is one of the most celebrated men in the opera world and regarded as one of the greatest opera singers of all time.
The long-married, the Spanish-born star also is a prolific conductor and longtime administrator, having served as the general director of both the Los Angeles Opera and Washington Opera.
In the AP stories, several singers, a dancer and backstage staff at opera companies accused Domingo of sexual harassment and other inappropriate, sexually charged behavior that included unwelcomed kisses, touching and late-night phone calls.
Many said Domingo tried to pressure them into sexual relationships and sometimes punished them professionally if they rejected him. The accusers and dozens of others interviewed said Domingo’s behavior was an open secret in the opera world.
Until recently, the 78-year-old had not spoken publicly about the allegations and had limited his reaction to statements from his lawyer and publicist. He had called the accusations “in many ways, simply incorrect” without elaborating.
Last week, Domingo gave an interview to Spanish online newspaper El Confidencial in which he again stopped short of flatly denying the women’s allegations but insisted he had never behaved improperly. He added that Spaniards are by nature “warm, affectionate and loving.
“I have been gallant but always within the limits of gentlemanliness, respect and sensitivity,” he said.