Placido Domingo Engaged In "Inappropriate Activity" Says Performers' Union The statement from the American Guild of Musical Artists contained no details, although an Associated Press story did, reportedly prompting the withdrawal of a $500,000 settlement.
NPR logo

Union Says Plácido Domingo Engaged In 'Inappropriate Activity'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/809206575/809368366" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Union Says Plácido Domingo Engaged In 'Inappropriate Activity'

Union Says Plácido Domingo Engaged In 'Inappropriate Activity'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/809206575/809368366" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Opera superstar Plácido Domingo was found to have engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior. That is according to an investigation commissioned by a union that represents opera performers. NPR's Anastasia Tsioulcas has been following this story since last year, when 20 women accused Domingo of misconduct. She joins me now.

Hey, Anastasia.

ANASTASIA TSIOULCAS, BYLINE: Hi. Thanks for having me.

CHANG: So what did the union say today about this investigation?

TSIOULCAS: They're saying very little in public, Ailsa. This morning, the union, the American Guild of Musical Artists, issued a very brief and extremely vague statement. It said its investigators found that Domingo, quote, "engaged in inappropriate activity ranging from flirtation to sexual advances in and outside of the workplace," unquote. But there was no mention of how many alleged victims were involved or when these incidences allegedly took place or where they happened.

CHANG: So not many details - do you have any sense why the union is being so vague about all this?

TSIOULCAS: Well, Plácido Domingo is a member of that union himself, so that means the union represents him and, we believe, at least some of his accusers, so it's complicated.

CHANG: OK, so these findings - they broke before the union's announcement today. Is that correct?

TSIOULCAS: That's right. Early this morning, the Associated Press published a story that included leaked details of the investigation. The AP said that there were 27 accusers and witnesses alleging incidents with Domingo that took place over about a 20-year time period. And today we independently confirmed those figures.

CHANG: And has Domingo responded to any of this investigation so far?

TSIOULCAS: Well, he's never actually denied any of the allegations. Last year, he told NPR that he believed that all the encounters he had were consensual. Today he issued a lengthy statement, saying in part, quote, "I'm truly sorry for the hurt I caused them" - the women - "I accept full responsibility for my actions, and I have grown from this experience," unquote.

CHANG: OK, so as we said, you followed up with your own reporting today. Tell us some of the other things that you've learned.

TSIOULCAS: Well, I learned some things this morning from two sources who requested anonymity for fear of retribution. They told me that Domingo and the union had made an agreement that nothing specific about the investigators' findings, not even a summary, would be made public or even to the union's own membership. And in return, Domingo was supposed to pay a $500,000 settlement to the union. But this morning, after the AP published its report, I also learned that Domingo's legal team withdrew that settlement offer, saying that the confidentiality agreement had been breached. And I also learned that the union is threatening to take action against whoever talked to the AP. In addition, two of the accusers who have come out by name - who came out last year - and their lawyer issued a statement that urges the union, quote, "to stand with the numerous women who have courageously come forward and to expel Domingo from the union," unquote.

CHANG: OK, so as all the fallout from this investigation is playing out, I understand there's still another investigation of Domingo underway at the moment, right?

TSIOULCAS: Yes, that's correct, Ailsa. LA Opera in California, which Domingo led until last year, is conducting its own independent investigation, and that's still ongoing. A number of opera companies have already parted way with Domingo, so we'll see if this union announcement and the apology he's made result in any further repercussions to his career or his endorsement deals. For example, he's been associated with Rolex watches for a long time now.

CHANG: That is NPR's Anastasia Tsioulcas.

Thank you.

TSIOULCAS: Thanks for having me.

Copyright © 2020 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.