Two days after apologizing for sexual harassment allegations, opera star Placido Domingo has walked back his statement. “My apology was sincere and wholehearted,” he said. “But I know what I haven’t done, and I will deny it again.”
The reversal occurred as European opera houses were questioning whether Domingo should still appear at performances he has scheduled through summer, according to the New York Times. “I have never behaved aggressively toward anybody, nor have I ever done anything to obstruct or hurt the career of anybody,” he added. “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.”
He released the new statement just before the executive committee of Teatro Real, an opera house in Madrid, was planning to meet about the Spanish singer and conductor’s upcoming performances in La Traviata in May. Domingo withdrew from the role, claiming it was: “To prevent my situation from affecting, harming or causing any additional inconvenience.”
It was originally reported by the Associated Press in August 2019 that nine women had come forward accusing Domingo of sexual harassment that dated back to the Eighties, including flirtatious comments, late-night phone calls and unwanted advances. By September, 11 more women came forward, and Domingo — who made his opera debut in 1961 — withdrew from upcoming performances at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
Six months after the American Guild of Musical Artists opened an investigation on Domingo, the union reported on Tuesday that Domingo had indeed “engaged in inappropriate activity,” and that “many of the witnesses expressed fear of retaliation in the industry as their reason for not coming forward sooner. The AGMA Board of Governors has accepted the findings of the report and will take appropriate action.”
Although Domingo initially described the accusations as “not only inaccurate but unethical,” his apology acknowledged that he had taken time over the last six months to reflect. “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 added. “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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