Opera superstar Placido Domingo defended himself against multiple claims of sexual harassment in an article Friday by saying his “gallant gestures” had been misconstrued.
He also told the online Spanish publication El Confidencial that Spaniards are naturally “warm, affectionate and loving.”
The legendary tenor called the allegations against him in the U.S. a “nightmare” amid the Me Too movement and strongly denied that he had done anything wrong.
“I have been gallant, but always within the limits of gentlemanliness, respect and sensitivity,” Domingo said, according to a translation by The Associated Press. The 78-year-old conceded that “gallant gestures are viewed differently nowadays.”
He complained that the accusations against him were given “automatic” credibility and said he felt “prematurely judged, sentenced and convicted.” He has not been charged with a crime.
It was the first time Domingo had given an interview about the harassment accusations since they were first reported. In an earlier statement, he’d called the allegations “deeply troubling” and “inaccurate.”
AP reported in August that eight singers and a dancer said they had been sexually harassed by Domingo while working with opera companies in which he held major positions. Allegations backed up by witnesses, dating back to the 1980s, included forcible kissing and groping. The women also claimed that Domingo sometimes retaliated using his professional clout when they spurned his advances.
Eleven other women emerged with similar stories after the first AP report.
Domingo responded after the initial story, “It is painful to hear that I may have upset anyone or made them feel uncomfortable. … I believed that all of my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual.”
But he also conceded then, “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.”
Domingo withdrew from planned performances at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in September following the allegations. The opera issued a statement that “The Met and Mr. Domingo are in agreement that he needed to step down.”
He also announced early this month that he is dropping plans to perform at an event next year heralding the Tokyo Olympics — though he made no mention of the allegations against him. Last month Domingo resigned his position as general director of the Los Angeles Opera, which was launching a sexual harassment investigation of him.
Domingo told El Confidencial that he planned to continue performing at least until the end of his 2021 engagements.