Spanish opera singer Placido Domingo has apologised for his behaviour and accepted “full responsibility” following months of denying a string of sexual harassment claims and insisting it was a “plot” against him.
The 79-year-old opera singer made the statement as the American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents opera performers, reportedly prepares to release findings of an investigation into his conduct.
In a statement he said: “I have taken time over the last several months to reflect on the allegations that various colleagues of mine have made against me. I respect that these women finally felt comfortable enough to speak out, and I want them to know that I am truly sorry for the hurt that I caused them.
“I accept full responsibility for my actions, and I have grown from this experience. I understand now that some women may have feared expressing themselves honestly because of a concern that their careers would be adversely affected if they did so. While that was never my intention, no one should ever be made to feel that way.”
According to the Associated Press, the Guild spoke with more than 24 people who said they fell victim to Domingo or witnessed improper behaviour by him.
The AP reported that the investigation is set to show that Domingo “showed a clear pattern of sexual misconduct and abuse of power by Domingo spanning at least two decades.”
Placido Domingo has also said he is “committed” to make a “positive” change in the opera industry so that “nobody should go through the same”.
He said: “My fervent wish is that this turns up in a safer place to work and I hope my example could push others to follow in my footsteps.”
His sudden change of heart comes after months of strenuous denials in the face an ever-growing number of sexual misconduct claims.
Speaking just a few months ago Domingo said the allegations were “not only impossible but inconceivable”.
In December, the opera singer appealed to the public to stop talking about the allegations and said they were “offensive” to him.
Domingo told El Pais: “It has been offensive. The accusations they made about me do not make sense. I just want to stop talking about it.”
Domingo also added: “It is very easy today to pick on someone you do not like and spread false stories, (someone says) ‘if you have anything against this person, let us know’. And a plot is started.”
The accusations were first reported by The Associated Press in August and it is reported that he allegedly pressured women into sexual relationships and sometimes allegedly professionally punished those who rebuffed him.
Speaking about one alleged incident, Angela Turner Wilson, 28, told The Associated Press that Domingo slipped his hands under her bra straps and grabbed her bare breast as she was having her makeup done.
She said: “It hurt, It was not gentle. He groped me hard.”
She said Domingo then turned and walked away, leaving her humiliated.
In all, more than 20 women have accused the singer of sexual harassment.
Since the allegations first surfaced Domingo has had many shows cancelled all around the world, including San Francisco and Dallas operas, and he has stepped down as the general director of Los Angeles Opera.