The onstage world of opera is elegant and dramatic, but what goes on offstage is often quite tawdry. Placido Domingo, founder of the Los Angeles Opera, is stepping down as General Director after multiple accusations of sexual harassment and is withdrawing from scheduled performances. He also broke with New York’s Metropolitan Opera, where he was scheduled to perform this fall. Domingo says he intends to focus on clearing his name. The Spanish tenor has long been married.
Accused by 20 Women
Domingo’s alleged sexual harassment is nothing new. There are two formal investigations into his conduct, looking into behavior dating as far back as the 1980s and as recently as 2017. Twenty women have accused the opera star of sexual harassment ranging from groping, unwanted kissing, demands for private meetings, and career threats if they did not respond to his sexual overtures. Domingo denies the accusations, saying he thought his interactions with the women were consensual. He also noted that things were different back in the day, and it was unfair to judge him by contemporary standards.
Of all the allegations, singer and actress Angela Turner Wilson stands out. In the 1999-2000 season of the Washington Opera, one of the highlights was a production of Le Cid, starring Domingo, who also served as the company’s artistic director at the time. For Wilson, then 28, the second female leading role was a career breakthrough, and her performance received rave reviews.
Wilson claimed that one night, prior to performance, she and Domingo were seated together having their makeup done. He got up and stood behind her chair, then placed his hands on her shoulders. At that point, he reached beneath her robe and grabbed her breast. She said Domingo squeezed her breast hard, and it hurt. Just a few minutes later, with an aching breast, she had to go on stage and pretend she was in love with him.
Backstage Employees Try to Help
Domingo’s behavior was well-known backstage. Administrators of various opera companies were likely aware of the harassment, but they looked the other way. Backstage employees, however, did their best to protect vulnerable young women from Domingo. One production coordinator at the LA Opera says she went out of her way to keep Domingo out of rehearsal rooms with young females and tried to hire male dressers for the star. She would try to make sure Domingo’s wife attended company parties because her husband behaved himself when she was present. For the most part, though, these young women had no protectors in the company and were forced to deal with the harassment.
Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Fight for Victims of Workplace Harassment
Most sexual harassers are not famous, but the damage done is just as devastating. If you experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, you need the services of an experienced Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyer at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Located in Pennsauken, New Jersey and Philadelphia, we represent clients throughout Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County, as well as South Jersey, including Haddonfield, Marlton, Moorestown, and Mount Laurel. Please contact us for a free consultation via our online form or call us today at 215-569-1999.