The orchestra justified its decision by saying that it is “committed to providing a safe, supportive, respectful and appropriate environment” for its staff, collaborating artists and its audience. The sudden move appears to be a hasty reaction to a report, in which the 78-year-old, long married, world-renowned performer was accused of sexually harassing women some 30 years ago.
The Philadelphia Orchestra Association has withdrawn its invitation to Plácido Domingo to appear as part of its Opening Night concert on September 18, 2019. pic.twitter.com/5wJXkuhI8t
— PhilOrch (@philorch) August 13, 2019
A lengthy piece published by AP earlier on Tuesday details the accusations leveled against Domingo by eight singers and a dancer as well as “a half-dozen other women.” The accusers, all but one remained anonymous, claimed that back in the 1980s the opera superstar engaged in inappropriate touching, unwanted kissing and made sexually-suggestive overtures like repeatedly asking out women on dates.
Some of the women also told AP that they believe their decision to reject Domingo’s advances also “adversely impacted their careers.” Although the article does not present any concrete evidence of Domingo’s alleged misdeeds beside the accusers’ words, it still says that the singer’s inappropriate behavior has long been an “open secret” within the industry.
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The tenor, who is also a prolific conductor and the director of the Los Angeles Opera, dismissed the allegations as “deeply troubling, and as presented, inaccurate.” Yet, he also offered an apology to anyone he said he might have made “feel uncomfortable.”
“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 told AP, adding that the “standards by which we are — and should be — measured against today are very different than they were in the past.”
Yet, his words were apparently not particularly convincing to the Philadelphia Orchestra, which decided to promptly scrap his performance even before any of the accusations were properly examined.
thank you for doing this! this is 100% the correct move and shows integrity and a commitment to the importance of making classical music a safe place for all
— Brin ? Solomon (@nonstandardrep) August 13, 2019
In the spirit of the Me Too era many praised the move by saying it was “high time” he was held accountable and calling the accusations in the report “strong.” Others, however, pointed to the presumption of innocence and condemned the decision as “shameful.”
What happened to the presumption of innocence??? These kind of decisions set a very dangerous precedent, in my opinion as both a classical music and a law graduate. I feel this is akin to bowing to mob rule, to be blunt. #Domingo
— Vlad Bourceanu (@vlad_bourceanu) August 13, 2019
Some people also called it “mob justice” led by people who are driven by “hate and envy masquerading as virtue.” Domingo appears to be the latest high-profile public figure to become embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal after similar accusations were leveled against actors, athletes and politicians in the US and beyond in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
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Is a national and foreign correspondent based in D.C. She files investigative reports and covers breaking news on a range of topics, including corruption, police shootings, etc. Before joining the TimWorld in 2018, she worked at the Miami Herald. She was a John S. Knight fellow at Stanford University.