A former colleague of Plácido Domingo has become the first Spanish woman to denounce a sexual assault by the tenor, stating that his behavior was so well known in the world of opera that the first thing the women were told was: “ Don’t get on an elevator with Plácido. Sunday”.
The sexual harassment allegations against the Spanish singer were first reported by the Associated Press nearly four years ago, and so far at least 20 women have accused Domingo of forcibly kissing, grabbing or fondling them in incidents dating back the decade. from 1980.
On Sunday night, an anonymous Spanish singer told La Sexta’s Salvados program that she had been harassed and assaulted by Domingo when they worked together two decades ago.
The woman, who spoke anonymously, appearing in shadow and with her voice changed, identified two separate incidents. On the first occasion, she said, Domingo had noticed that she was wearing pants with embroidery on the back pockets.
“He asked me a very strange question in front of everyone: ‘Can I put my hand in that beautiful pocket of yours?’” he told the show.
“It hit me right in the stomach and I thought, ‘What do I say to this man now to try to keep things normal? If I say no, he will have consequences. I don’t even want to think about what might happen if I say yes. I worried about what to say for three seconds.”
The woman said the “incredibly uncomfortable situation” had left her feeling like she was “in quicksand”.
The second alleged incident took place when they were performing together and the lights had gone out to mark the end of the act.
“In those seconds when your eyes are getting used to the dark, Plácido approached me,” he said. “He kissed me on the mouth and it was a kiss I didn’t even see coming so I couldn’t dodge it. He didn’t want to be kissed. The act was over, the music had stopped, and the curtain was coming down. There was no justification.”
She told Salvados that she had been too afraid to speak out because of the potential consequences for her career, but said she had been moved by the courage of the first women who told their stories.
“I thought how brave they were,” he said. “It is something that is known in the world of opera: one of the first things they tell you is: ‘Don’t get on an elevator with Plácido Domingo’”.
The tenor’s representatives did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on the latest allegations.
When the allegations first surfaced, Domingo, now 81, said it hurt him to know that he may have upset people or made them feel uncomfortable “no matter how long it has been and despite my best intentions.”
He said he took “full responsibility” for his actions, adding: “I believed that all my interactions and relationships were always welcome and consensual. People who know me or have worked with me know that I am not someone who would intentionally hurt, offend or embarrass anyone.”
Since then, however, Domingo has reversed his position, claiming his apology may have given a “false impression” about what had happened.
“I know what I have not done and I will deny it again,” he said in February 2020. “I have never behaved aggressively towards anyone and I have never done anything to obstruct or impede anyone’s career.”
A 2020 investigation commissioned by the Los Angeles Opera into sexual harassment allegations against Domingo found that the tenor had engaged in “inappropriate conduct” with various women during his three decades in senior positions with the company, which helped found and then directed.
The report did not detail any of the allegations, but said that “the level of discomfort reported by the women varied, from some women who said they did not feel uncomfortable to others who described significant trauma.”