Domingo Responds to Allegations

If there is anyone who can lay claim to the title “ultimate male opera singer” apart from Luciano Pavarotti, that may well be Placido Domingo. One of the most powerful brands in international opera for decades, Domingo has been a household name across the world, even among people who don’t care for opera.

Now, though, that name is being barraged with accusations dating back though much of his celebrated professional career. Women are claiming that Domingo “pressured them into sexual relationships” by offering jobs and promotions in exchange for these acts. Some of these accusers claim that, when they refused, Domingo punished them by damaging their careers.

To an outsider, it might seem unlikely that Domingo could have that much clout, but the singer does have a pull that extends beyond the influence of his own personal brand. He is also the conductor and director of the Los Angeles Opera and an almost universally respected and renowned figure in the industry, someone reputed to be a “tireless” promoter of opera as a unique and important art form.

At least, he was. Now, that lifelong reputation as a positive ambassador for opera is being tarnished by these accusations. To date, the Associated Press is reporting that eight singers and at least one dancer are accusing the singer and conductor of sexual harassment and, in some cases, threats.

In subsequent reports, the AP said it spoke to “nearly three dozen singers, dancers, and musicians or staff, who all said they “witnessed inappropriate behavior” committed by Domingo “without recourse.”

In response to repeated requests for comment, Domingo said he would not respond to any direct questions. Instead, the renowned singer offered a statement that the allegations were “troubling” and “inaccurate.”

His statement went on to say: “It is painful to hear that I may have upset anyone or made them feel uncomfortable, no matter how long ago and despite my best intentions… I believe all my interactions were welcomed and consensual… I would not intentionally harm, offend, or embarrass anyone…”

That’s it, so far. A statement that is similar to many that have come before. To date, the singer has not faced much, if any career consequences, though the LA Opera said it would “investigate the allegations” made. While the Philadelphia Orchestra rescinded an invitation to a concert, NY’s Met said it would not make any final decisions until the investigation was completed.

One thing that is certain is that Domingo will need to prepare and release another statement when the investigation report comes out. Between now and then, entertainment media will likely be printing as much of the salacious details contained in the accusations as can be printed. Domingo should be very careful if or when he chooses to respond to these.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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