Opera union launches investigation into allegations against Placido Domingo, retains former federal prosecutor
A labor union that represents thousands of opera singers has launched an independent investigation into the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct made against Placido Domingo.
The American Guild of Musical Artists said that it has retained former federal prosecutor Bruce Maffeo to lead the probe, citing his “extensive experience” in such matters.
“Given the uncertainty surrounding the investigations of our signatory companies, AGMA’s internal investigation will not be limited to conduct that occurred at a specific company or at a particular time,” said AGMA National Executive Director Len Egert in a statement released Friday.
“Our investigation will also examine the systemic failures within the industry that could have allowed this conduct, if substantiated, to continue unchallenged for decades," he added. "In light of the seriousness of the allegations, and the number of AGMA members who may have been affected, we believe this investigation is necessary at this time.”
At least 20 women say that the 78-year-old opera star sexually harassed or mistreated them over the years, with the The Associated Press revealing 11 new accusations earlier this week.
“The ongoing campaign by the AP to denigrate Placido Domingo is not only inaccurate but unethical,” spokeswoman Nancy Seltzer told The AP. “These new claims are riddled with inconsistencies and, as with the first story, in many ways, simply incorrect. Due to an ongoing investigation, we will not comment on specifics, but we strongly dispute the misleading picture that the AP is attempting to paint of Mr. Domingo.”
Reacting to the original AP story, Domingo had said he believed his actions “were always welcomed and consensual” and added that “the rules and standards by which we are — and should be — measured against today are very different than they were in the past.”
“What woman would ever want him to grab their breast? And it hurt,” Angela Turner Wilson told The Associated Press earlier this week. “Then I had to go on stage and act like I was in love with him.”
Wilson told The AP that Domingo sexually abused her two decades ago.
AGMA said it is encouraging any members who have information “revelant” to the investigation should contact AGMA counsel Wendy LaManque.
“The health and safety of AGMA Artists is of paramount importance to the Union,” said AGMA President Raymond Menard. “Every AGMA Artist has an absolute right to go to work without fear of sexual harassment, discrimination, or assault. As a labor union, it’s our job to make sure that our employers keep our members safe at work.”