Placido Domingo is speaking out for the first time since being diagnosed with COVID-19 denying allegations of sexual harassment.
The legendary singer, who is receiving a lifetime achievement award in Vienna, spoke to La Repubblica about the allegations published in August 2019 by the Associated Press.
Domingo told the Italian press that after being ill he vied to clear his name. He said, “I’ve changed. I am no longer afraid. When I found out I had COVID, I promised myself that if I made it out alive I would fight to clear my name. I never abused anyone, I’ll repeat that as long as I live.”
He added, “It was a miracle to find my voice again… Two or three months ago I wasn’t sure I would be able to sing again.” He also noted that his time with his family was “an extraordinary moment, useful for reflecting on our lives, our choices” but it was time to “get back to normal”.
“Our lives have changed. And as you know, it’s even more difficult for me because of the accusations that have been made against me,” he said.
In the interview, he reiterated that he was not the Harvey Weinstein of opera and said, “Of course I’m angry, of course, I’m depressed, especially because my whole family has been involved; the suffering is enormous for all of us. I have always declared my estrangement from the facts, sometimes with short statements that have been misunderstood and considered admissions of guilt. It’s a terrible situation.” He added that the word “Abuse” does not exist in his vocabulary and that anyone who knows him, could speak to that truth.
Domingo also spoke about the statements he released in February. He told La Repubblica that an apology issued last spring after AGMA’s investigation concluded he had engaged in ‘’inappropriate activity ranging from flirtation to sexual advances, in and outside of the workplace” had been misinterpreted.
He said, “The presumption of innocence in my case crumbled when the media published a text of my apology.” Domingo noted that the text published by the Associated Press was prepared to comply with a union request. However, the Associated Press released the statement with the news of the investigation results.
He added, that the text ‘’looked like a mea culpa,’’ and ‘’very much lent itself to that impression.” Days after he released a new statement.
In the interview, Domingo added that his career had been hurt enormously and it had also hurt his family. He said, ‘‘And I am not thinking only of the career. It hurts me to be described in this way. I have read even heavy insults lodged against me. Those who write underestimate the hurt they can do. They speak of me as if I have been tried in a court on precise charges, but it is not the case. This ambiguity is not acceptable. I will never stop saying the truth.”
Domingo added that while he cannot sing in the U.S. or Spain, among other countries, he noted that those decisions were not made by the public and that during this time he has received constant messages of solidarity.
In August 2019, 20 women accused Domingo of sexual harassment. The accusations ranged from forcibly kissing, grabbing and fondling women over a period of more than 30 years. Patricia Wulf, Angela Wilson Turner, and Luz de Alba Rubio were the only three women to come forward publicly.
According to the AP’s initial report, “seven of Domingo’s nine accusers told the AP they feel their careers were adversely impacted after rejecting his advances, with some saying that roles he promised never materialized and several noting that while they went on to work with other companies, they were never hired to work with him again.” In an interview with NPR, Wulf noted that her career never suffered and Rubio told the Uruguayan press that she had already forgiven Domingo.
Domingo returns to the stage later this month for concerts in Italy.