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NPR Arts & Life

Plácido Domingo Engaged In 'Inappropriate Activity,' Union Says

NOEL KING, HOST:

The union that represents opera performers commissioned an investigation into whether the star Placido Domingo was guilty of sexual misconduct. Yesterday, investigators said they had concluded that he had engaged in inappropriate activity. But their report isn't being made public, and some opera fans are upset about that. Here's NPR's Anastasia Tsioulcas.

ANASTASIA TSIOULCAS, BYLINE: Last summer, 20 women made accusations against Placido Domingo that spanned two decades. The first to publicly accuse Domingo was a retired opera singer named Patricia Wulf. She spoke with the investigators hired by the union, the American Guild of Musical Artists, or AGMA. Now Wulf says the union has a responsibility to release its findings.

PATRICIA WULF: I deserve to see that report. You deserve - we all deserve to see that report in full. I believe AGMA is trying to hide the report.

TSIOULCAS: The union's executive director, Leonard Egert, denies that. He says the union is not publishing the report in order to protect accusers' and witnesses' identities.

LEONARD EGERT: We had an extremely difficult time getting people to talk to our investigators. People took great precautions to ensure that their names and descriptions would not appear in any place. The fear of retribution is real.

TSIOULCAS: Yesterday, Domingo himself said as part of a statement, quote, "I am truly sorry for the hurt that I caused them. I accept full responsibility for my actions" - unquote. Wulf and her lawyer, Debra Katz, said they were surprised and dismayed by an NPR report yesterday that revealed that the union was trying to broker a financial settlement with Domingo for $500,000.

DEBRA KATZ: They failed in their representation of the women in this union, and what they should be doing is not negotiating a sweetheart deal with him but expelling him from the union. And they are not doing that.

TSIOULCAS: Egert says the $500,000 was a fine that Domingo had agreed to pay as punishment. And he points out the process isn't over.

EGERT: There's certainly no sweetheart deal. We could go forward with a disciplinary process. We could impose a fine. And Mr. Domingo can resign from the union and never pay that fine.

TSIOULCAS: For now, Placido Domingo has walked away from the proposed settlement. Anastasia Tsioulcas, NPR News, New York.

(SOUNDBITE OF CLASSICAL LULLABIES' "SILENT DAWN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.