Opera singer Placido Domingo has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women.
Nine women, including eight singers and a dancer, accused the 78-year-old of harassing them in incidents going back to the 1980s.
One accuser told the Associated Press the married Spanish superstar stuck his hand down her skirt and three others said he forced wet kisses on their lips – in a dressing room, a hotel room and at a lunch meeting.
‘The allegations from these unnamed individuals dating back as many as thirty years are deeply troubling, and as presented, inaccurate,’ Domingo said.
‘Still, 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,’ the 14-time Grammy winner added.
‘I believed that all of my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual. People who know me or who have worked with me know that I am not someone who would intentionally harm, offend, or embarrass anyone,’ he said.
‘However, I recognize that the rules and standards by which we are – and should be – measured against today are very different than they were in the past.
‘I am blessed and privileged to have had a more than 50-year career in opera and will hold myself to the highest standards,’ he added.
Domingo, one of the most famous tenors of the 20th century, still continues to pack out audiences after transforming himself as a baritone.
One of Placido’s accusers told AP: ‘A business lunch is not strange. Somebody trying to hold your hand during a business lunch is strange – or putting their hand on your knee is a little strange.
‘He was always touching you in some way, and always kissing you.’
Patricia Wulf, a mezzo-soprano who worked with Placido in 1998, said he would confront her every night after she performed and ask if she had to go home.
‘Every time I would walk off stage, he would be in the wings waiting for me,’ she said. ‘He would come right up to me, as close as could be, put his face right in my face, lower his voice and say, “Patricia, do you have to go home tonight?”‘
Patricia, now 61, claimed he would also wait in her dressing room and added that she’d walk to her car with a male colleague for fear of going alone.
‘It affected the way I dealt with men for the rest of my operatic career and the rest of my life,’ she said.
One of the women said she had sex with him twice, including at the Biltmore hotel in Los Angeles. When Domingo left for a performance, the woman said he put $10 on the dresser, saying, ‘I don’t want you to feel like a prostitute, but I also don’t want you to have to pay to park.’
Many of the accusers said they were warned repeatedly to never be alone with Domingo, even in a lift. If they did join him for a meal, they said they were told to avoid alcohol and meet at a public place – for lunch, not dinner.
The women making the accusations were mostly young and starting their careers at the time.
In addition to the accusers, half a dozen other women claimed Domingo’s comments made them uncomfortable, including one singer who said he repeatedly asked her out on dates after hiring her to sing a series of concerts with him in the 1990s.
AP also spoke to almost 40 other singers, dancers, orchestra musicians, members of backstage staff, voice teachers and an administrator who said they witnessed inappropriate behavior by Domingo.
Domingo, who has made more than 100 albums, celebrated his 4,000th performance earlier this year.
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by – metro.co.uk