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16 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Oh it's worse than that. Any number of people would have happily believed that Domingo had gotten "handsy" (if not worse) with his accusers. They just wouldn't have cared very much, if at all. Back in the day I had more than one person explain to me that that kind of behavior should be taken as a compliment.

Yes, absolutely. But there is something in us that tends to want look the other way when everything else is going so well. Sometimes an authority – say a  director – will say I won't have any of that in my theater and everyone breathes a sigh of relief. I think when it happens at the board level, it's inexcusable.

The strangest thing, and what blows all of Domingo's "alibis," is when he put $10 on a dresser and said it was just enough to pay for parking but not enough to make his partner into a prostitute.

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35 minutes ago, Quiggin said:

Sometimes an authority – say a  director – will say I won't have any of that in my theater and everyone breathes a sigh of relief.

Here's the thing: it seems clear from the linked article that everyone—including presumably powerful men like opera administrators and conductors—knew what was going on and knew it was having a deleterious effect on the health, well-being, personal, and professional lives of the women involved and yet none of them appears to have done anything to stop it. At the very least you'd think one of Domingo's friends might have intervened for the sake of him and his family, if not his reputation.

Honestly, I'm just about as dismayed by their behavior as his. 

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell
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1 hour ago, Quiggin said:

The strangest thing, and what blows all of Domingo's "alibis," is when he put $10 on a dresser and said it was just enough to pay for parking but not enough to make his partner into a prostitute.

The alleged quote I saw was:

Quote

When Domingo left for a performance, the woman said, he put $10 on the dresser, saying, “I don’t want you to feel like a prostitute, but I also don’t want you to have to pay to park.”

I tend to think he meant what he said - he felt strange leaving money at all since that wasn't the nature of what happened as he saw it, but as the richer party he also didn't want her to have to cough up for parking ($10 in the 80s or 90s would be about twice that today).

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17 minutes ago, dirac said:

I tend to think he meant what he said - he felt strange leaving money at all since that wasn't the nature of what happened as he saw it, but as the richer party he also didn't want her to have to cough up for parking ...

Why didn't he just say, here's something to pay for parking with. Why did he bring the word "prostitute" into the picture? A bit of a Freudian slip I would think as far as what he really thought of his "consenting" partners.

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2 hours ago, Marta said:

people wouldn't have believed them, especially decades ago.  Just as people found it incredible that priests would sexually abuse children, "society", the opera world, or whatever body of people you want to name, would have been skeptical at best that the great Domingo could be a sexual aggressor.

Firstly one shouldn't conflate sexual abuse of children with knee squeezing.  Child sex abuse is serious, these accusations sound frivolous to me and accusations by a bunch of nobodies (I assume, not many names provided) saying their careers suffered though acquaintance with him would have to be proved in court.  So far I hear nothing that would.

At the opera House this evening, incredulity and irritation, though one opera buff's explanation of why it's all tosh, gave me the biggest laughs I've had in a long time.  Trying to think who is famous enough and rich enough to become the next victim in the arts world.

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2 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Oh it's worse than that. Any number of people would have happily believed that Domingo had gotten "handsy" (if not worse) with his accusers. They just wouldn't have cared very much, if at all. Back in the day I had more than one person explain to me that that kind of behavior should be taken as a compliment.

Indeed. And if the article is correct about what was widely known, SFO and the Philadelphia Orchestra may have taken action only because we finally live in a time when many organizations feel they have to take action once such matters are made public. (We’re still apparently not in a time when they feel much need to take action before that point — at least when a Domingo or a Levine or the like is involved.)

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12 minutes ago, Mashinka said:

At the opera House this evening, incredulity and irritation, though one opera buff's explanation of why it's all tosh, gave me the biggest laughs I've had in a long time.  Trying to think who is famous enough and rich enough to become the next victim in the arts world.

It’s awful to hear the opera house attendees are irritated.

I’d say it largely depends on which of them has behaved badly.

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21 minutes ago, Mashinka said:

Firstly one shouldn't conflate sexual abuse of children with knee squeezing. ..

But this wasn't just about knee squeezing  – and knee squeezing, and what Matt Damon referred to as just a little pat on the butt now and then, eventually becomes a kind of sign meaning "I own you." But this was also about sex, the compete works, in exchange for being able to keep your job.

Edited by Quiggin
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22 minutes ago, Mashinka said:

 ... these accusations sound frivolous to me and accusations by a bunch of nobodies (I assume, not many names provided) saying their careers suffered though acquaintance with him would have to be proved in court. 

It doesn't matter if they were nobodies. No one should have to endure unwanted sexual attention at any time, ever. Unfortunately, it's the least advantaged and least powerful among us who have to endure harassment of every kind with little hope of redress. 

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell
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32 minutes ago, Quiggin said:

Why didn't he just say, here's something to pay for parking with. Why did he bring the word "prostitute" into the picture? A bit of a Freudian slip I would think as far as what he really thought of his "consenting" partners.

I can’t really address that. I was just noting a possible different meaning behind what he said. You have a point, but maybe he thought “Here’s something for parking,” would be too bald on its own.

What I actually find at least as unpleasant is his allegedly confiding that he needs sex before a performance and telling her he’ll sing better tonight thanks to her, as if all he’d received was a (non-erotic) message. That most definitely implies a service being performed.

I guess opera stars don’t have groupies for this sort of, uh, thing......

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5 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Unfortunately, it's the least advantaged and least powerful among us who have to endure harassment of every kind with little hope of redress.

No, it isn't, sexual harassment of women is universal.  Adult women cope with it.  The worst type is by strangers, incidents in the workplace you cope with and if there's no redress you leave.  In that respect being an opera singer is no different to being an office cleaner, sort out the problem or go.

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7 minutes ago, Mashinka said:

No, it isn't, sexual harassment of women is universal.  Adult women cope with it.  The worst type is by strangers, incidents in the workplace you cope with and if there's no redress you leave.  In that respect being an opera singer is no different to being an office cleaner, sort out the problem or go.

Cope how? Sort out the problem how?

Go where?

Even for quite good singers finding sufficient employment can be very difficult, if one has not achieved a degree of fame (i.e. if one is a “nobody,” I guess).

As for the fact that it’s universal — indeed, but the main point of @Kathleen O'Connell‘s statement was “with little hope of redress,” I believe.

Edited by nanushka
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36 minutes ago, Mashinka said:

No, it isn't, sexual harassment of women is universal.  Adult women cope with it.  The worst type is by strangers, incidents in the workplace you cope with and if there's no redress you leave.  In that respect being an opera singer is no different to being an office cleaner, sort out the problem or go.

Yes, sexual harassment is universal. That being said, a minimum-wage service worker who depends on her job to put food on the table, who has few other employment options, and, who simply can't risk reprisal if she complains about a manager, or a customer, or a colleague is more vulnerable than a white, well-educated professional woman with sufficient personal, professional, social, and material resources to ensure that she has the kind of harassment-free workplace we all deserve. No one should have to "cope" with harassment of any kind, nor should they be expected to give up their job or their aspirations if they can't, or choose not to. 

And I can assure you that workplace sexual harassment isn't any better than being groped by a stranger on the bus. 

ETA: I won't strike it now, but I think using the term "white" wasn't a good choice. There are plenty of white service workers who also endure harassment, and plenty of well off women of color who do as well. I was thinking of my own privilege as a white woman when I wrote that.

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell
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34 minutes ago, Mashinka said:

No, it isn't, sexual harassment of women is universal.  Adult women cope with it.  The worst type is by strangers, incidents in the workplace you cope with and if there's no redress you leave.  In that respect being an opera singer is no different to being an office cleaner, sort out the problem or go.

You are describing illegal activity and saying that women should shut up and deal with it or leave.

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1 hour ago, Mashinka said:

No, it isn't, sexual harassment of women is universal.  Adult women cope with it.  The worst type is by strangers, incidents in the workplace you cope with and if there's no redress you leave.  In that respect being an opera singer is no different to being an office cleaner, sort out the problem or go.

What. You realize that there are laws against this and the woman shouldn’t have to “go.” The man should be fired for this behavior? And who cares if these women were “nobodies”? No one should have to deal wuth sexual harassment.

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12 hours ago, Roberta said:

Not a surprise. Still, very sad, on so many levels.

https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-49334226

The $64k question for me: How did (does) his wife of 50+ years, Marta, put up with this?  (Not an easy q to answer, I realise.)  I remember Marta as a very good production-director of some of our operas, during the mid-90s. We all felt sorry for her, in a way.

 

I wouldn't feel too sorry. There are perks to being Mrs. Domingo, and at least she didn't get traded in for a younger piece, Pavarotti-style. Emotions aside, there are practical benefits to retaining the legal status of wife, even if the union is less than perfect  -- which most are, anyway.

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9 hours ago, canbelto said:

It’s very difficult for victims of sexual abuse to speak out. Society’s tendency to blame and harass them. I work with kids who were molested and they weren’t believed by their families even after kids were born.

i believe the women. People don’t lie about sexual harassment and abuse period. 

Domingo's behavior as detailed in the AP story seems obsessive,  even psychotic.  He seemed to get off on conquering women who resisted his advances.  (Surely there were willing groupies in his orbit as an opera superstar.)  It was especially shocking to me that married women felt that they had to have sex with him and even told their husbands about it.  But I wouldn't doubt their stories.

That said,  people do lie about being sexually assaulted,  sometimes in great detail.  For example the young woman who claimed to have been gang raped in a frat house at the University of Virginia,  as told to a reporter for Rolling Stone.  This past week the film Brian Banks opened,  about a college football player and hot NFL prospect who had his life upended and spent six years in prison,  based on a teenager's lie.  You can't just say that people don't lie about rape,  period.

Since Domingo's unsavory reputation was well-known,  I wonder why apparently no one in administration had a "come to Jesus" meeting with him.  The various opera companies may find themselves liable for civil damages for their failure to check their employee.  However powerful Placido Domingo is in the opera world,  he still has to answer to somebody.

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10 minutes ago, Helene said:

We don't know if anyone had a meeting with him or not.  There were plenty of examples of men with unsavory reputations, and nothing much happened to them until lately.   

 

Right,  we don't know.  That's why I said "apparently".  But if any of these companies get sued,  if there were such meetings I'm sure they will be revealed in great detail.  The AP story seems quite thorough.  If any company made an attempt to discipline Domingo I believe that the reporter would have found some evidence of it.

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2 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Right,  we don't know.  That's why I said "apparently".  But if any of these companies get sued,  if there were such meetings I'm sure they will be revealed in great detail.  The AP story seems quite thorough.  If any company made an attempt to discipline Domingo I believe that the reporter would have found some evidence of it.

Maybe if they had succeeded in disciplining him. But just attempting? I don't think that would have been likely to have come out in the article.

In any case, I wouldn't find it surprising at all if such an attempt was never even made. Until quite recently, the impetus just wasn't there, for far too many people and organizations.

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44 minutes ago, canbelto said:

Domingo was unique in that he was singer, conductor, and impresario all at once. So he had power in all three arenas. Like if a soprano was at LA Opera who would she have complained to, as he was also the AD?

Doesn't the opera company have a board of directors and legal counsel?  A singer could complain to them.  Or she could file a complaint with AGMA.  Or drop a dime on Domingo anonymously with an ambitious journalist.  

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15 hours ago, Roberta said:

Not a surprise. Still, very sad, on so many levels.

https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-49334226

The $64k question for me: How did (does) his wife of 50+ years, Marta, put up with this?  (Not an easy q to answer, I realise.)  I remember Marta as a very good production-director of some of our operas, during the mid-90s. We all felt sorry for her, in a way.

 

Spain was a very conservative country under Franco, and divorce didn't even become legal until the early 1980s, at which point the Domingos would already have been married for 20 years or so.  It's not hard to imagine that that could be a difficult decision to make culturally and socioeconomically.  And yes, I'm sure there were certain perks to being Mrs. Placido Domingo as well.

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