PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Orchestra has rescinded an invitation to opera legend Placido Domingo after nine women told The Associated Press that he sexually harassed them. The concert was supposed to take place on Sept. 18 for the orchestra’s opening night.
“The Philadelphia Orchestra Association has withdrawn its invitation to Plácido Domingo to appear as part of its Opening Night concert on September 18, 2019. We are committed to providing a safe, supportive, respectful, and appropriate environment for the Orchestra and staff, for collaborating artists and composers, and for our audiences and communities. Information about Opening Night artist and program changes will be announced at a later date,” the Philadelphia Orchestra said in a statement.
The Los Angeles Opera, where Domingo is general manager, announced an independent investigation would be launched to examine some of the harassment claims. The San Francisco Opera has also canceled a concert with Domingo that was scheduled for October.
“He’s ruined careers of many, many women. It seems as though the industry was well aware of what he was doing and basically turned a blind eye to it. Now that he’s been exposed, it would be foolish for the academy to take the position, ‘Well, we don’t know for the fact it happened.’ There’s enough evidence here to demonstrate that it did happen, he shattered many, many lives and he engaged in a pervasive and abusive power towards these women,” said Sidney Gold, an attorney specializing in sexual harassment litigation.
The accusers say the encounters happened over three decades, beginning in the late 1980s.
Seven of the women said he implied the possibility of jobs that never materialized after they rejected his advances. A former opera singer is among the accusers.
“You have to understand when a man is that powerful, he’s almost like God in my business, when he would come up that close and say that, the first thing that goes through your mind is ‘What?’ and then you’re furious,” Patricia Wulf said.
The 78-year-old Domingo calls the allegations “deeply troubling and, as presented, inaccurate.”
He says he believed that all of his interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual.
The Philadelphia Orchestra said it would be announcing changes for opening night, including the artist for that program, at a later date.
CBS3’s Joe Holden contributed to this report.