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Opera star Placido Domingo accused of sexual assault and harassment dating back three decades

Placido Domingo is the director of the Los Angeles Opera and a celebrated opera star
Placido Domingo is the director of the Los Angeles Opera and a celebrated opera star
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Opera star Placido Domingo says allegations he pressured women into sexual relationships in exchange for career advancement are "inaccurate".

Domingo is regarded as one of the greatest opera singers of all time and is the current director of the Los Angeles Opera.

Numerous accusers have alleged Spanish-born Domingo used his star power and influence to sexually harass and assault women, dangling the prospect of work in exchange for sex and sometimes professionally punishing women who refused his advances.

Speaking to the Associated Press, nine accusers — whose claims date back to the 1980s — say they were harassed by the 78-year-old at venues that included opera companies where he held top managerial positions.

One said Domingo had stuck his hand down her skirt and three others said he forced kisses on them in a dressing room, at a hotel room and a lunch meeting.

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In addition, half a dozen other women said he had made suggestive overtures to them that made them feel uncomfortable and almost three dozen other singers, dancers, orchestra musicians, backstage staff, voice teachers and administrators who said they witnessed inappropriate behaviour or knew that Domingo sexually pursued young women.

A former opera administrator said he had been aware for years that Domingo was “constantly chasing” one of the women who alleged sexual harassment.

He said that after she “said no to Domingo, she had the rug pulled out for several years”.

Domingo has been accused of sexual harassment by nine womenReuters

Domingo did not directly respond to each of the allegations made against him but did release a statement saying: “The allegations from these unnamed individuals dating back as many as thirty years are deeply troubling, and, as presented, inaccurate.

“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.

“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.

“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.”

The Los Angeles Opera said on Tuesday that it would begin an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.

In a statement, it said: "LA Opera will engage outside counsel to investigate the concerning allegations about Placido Domingo”.

It added that it was "committed to doing everything we can to foster a professional and collaborative environment where all our employees and artists feel equally comfortable, valued and respected."

The Philadelphia Orchestra Association said on Tuesday it had withdrawn an invitation to Domingo to appear as part of its opening night on Septa. 18.

The Metropolitan Opera in New York, where Domingo is due to perform in "Macbeth" next month and "Madama Butterfly" in November, said in a statement that it took accusations of sexual harassment and abuse of power seriously but would await the results of the LA Opera investigation "before making any final decisions about Mr Domingo's future at the Met."