Spain cancels Placido Domingo show over sexual harassment scandal

Spain's culture ministry on Wednesday cancelled opera star Placido Domingo's participation in an upcoming Madrid show, a day after he accepted "full responsibility" in a sexual harassment scandal.

Spain cancels Placido Domingo show over sexual harassment scandal
Photo: AFP

The culture ministry's National Institute for Scenic Art and Music (INAEM) said it had called off Domingo's participation in two performances of “Luisa Fernanda”, a Spanish “zarzuela” or operetta, at Madrid's prestigious Zarzuela Theatre slated for May 14 and 15 “in solidarity with the affected women”.   

It is the first time that a performance by the 79-year-old has been called off in his native Spain since he was accused by 20 women last year of forcibly kissing, grabbing or fondling them, in incidents dating back to at least the 1980s.

So far, Domingo's career has been less affected by the scandal in Europe than in the United States.   

The accusations first began to surface in August and two months later, he stepped down as general director of the Los Angeles Opera, and withdrew from all future performances at New York's Metropolitan Opera, effectively ending his US career.   

Several of the women said Domingo tried to pressure them into sexual relationships by dangling jobs, and then sometimes punished them professionally when they refused his advances — but in his statement, he said that had “never” been his intention.   

The singer — who has been a director and conductor at some of the world's most prestigious opera houses — on Tuesday apologised for “the hurt” caused to his accusers.

“I accept full responsibility for my actions,” he said in a statement.   

“I have taken time over the last several months to reflect on the allegations that various colleagues of mine have made against me,” added Domingo, who was one of the most recognised tenors of the 20th century but has since transformed himself into a baritone.   

Domingo had previously denied the allegations, referring to them variously as “inaccurate” and saying all his interactions and relationships were “always welcomed and consensual”.

The culture ministry body said the performances of “Luisa Fernanda”, composed in 1932 and set against the revolutionary struggles in Madrid in the 1900s, would go ahead without Domingo.

READ ALSO: Placido Domingo: Opera star 'truly sorry' over sex harassment

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‘When I said no’: Danish women in campaign against sexual assault victim blaming

Women in Denmark have joined a social media movement responding to victim blaming of women who have suffered sexual violence and harassment.

'When I said no': Danish women in campaign against sexual assault victim blaming
Illustration file photo: Issei Kato/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpi

Using the hashtag #dajegsagdefra, which translates loosely to ‘when I said no’, women have described assault, attacks, violence, harassment and humiliation against them which occurred or continued after they rejected the advances of an attacker.

The hashtag began to trend in response to social media comments suggesting women can avoid being assaulted simply by firmly ‘saying no’ (ved at sige fra). Such comments have been criticised as an attempt to place responsibility for sexual assault, violence and harassment with victims.

The discussion is linked to Denmark’s #MeToo debate, which remains a prominent issue in the country after thousands of women shared stories of sexual harassment in late 2020.


 In the hashtagged tweets, the women describe situations of sexual assault or harassment which escalated after they told the aggressor to stop.

Kirstine Holst, the chairperson of support organisation Voldtægtsofres Vilkår, is among those to have shared personal accounts.

“When I said no I was held by the throat and raped”, Holst’s tweet reads.

Another voice in the Danish debate, Khaterah Parwani, is also among those to have tweeted using the hashtag.

Parwani is director of Løft, an organisation which works against negative social control.

She described several incidents in which she was subjected to violence and abuse after saying no to an aggressor, including being “unrecognisable at hospital” after an attack and “beaten up in a car and lying bleeding on a wet pavement”.

A number of Twitter uses in Denmark also highlighted on Tuesday a report issued by police in North Zealand of an incident in which a 22-year-old man punched and kicked a 15-year-old girl after she asked him to stop whistling at her and friends, and told him her age.

That incident occurred in the town of Espergærde.