Posted by: operatheaterink | September 12, 2019

Commentary-Opinion, Domingo Legalities, Sept. 12, 2019

There’s Nothing New in the News.
Why Now? And On What Grounds?

Domingo and the Law


By Carol Jean Delmar
Opera Theater Ink

The stunning part about the Plácido Domingo scandal is that it all started with one story written by a reporter at the Associated Press. Almost all of the accusers have been anonymous, and even the accusers that spoke on the record had very little to say except that Domingo flirted with them.

The other media organizations have latched on to the story. The latest accuser was having makeup applied with Domingo when she says he slipped his hand under her robe and touched her breast, and that was years ago. That was one notch above flirting. I would have just grabbed his hand and flirted back at him with, “No, no, no.” Or maybe she should have slapped him. End of story.

As a result, two companies and an orchestra have canceled Domingo’s engagements. Based on what? I ask.

AP surely was after a story, but there is nothing new here.

Books have been written in the past about Domingo’s roving eye as I wrote in a previous commentary: “Molto Agitato” for one, written by Johanna Fiedler; and another written by Monica Lewinsky’s mother Marcia Lewis, on the private lives of The Three Tenors. The first is more accurate and valid than the second, but still, there is really nothing new in the news. So why go after Domingo now?

The sad part for me is that Domingo has methodically been planning for his retirement from singing for years. He started conducting, then as the general director of Washington National Opera and now Los Angeles Opera, became an administrator. The board of directors of LA Opera has been dependent on his leadership. Now the board must assert its independence, which is not fair to Domingo. And now Domingo must re-evaluate his future and what he wants to accomplish. This whole turn of events is very sad to me. And it all seems to have come from out-of-the-blue.

I would assume that lawyers must be involved for a company to cancel a contract. Not one reporter has gone to Domingo’s attorney, to my knowledge, for comments. That is because there are no grounds for anything that is happening. The press is running on air.

Number One: The press is clearly after a good story, and AP apparently thinks it has one. But the problem is that so far, there are no grounds for this big story that could ruin the career of one of the greatest tenors of this generation. That could end up being a story in itself, as well as a defamation lawsuit. But I don’t know much about the law. It might be difficult to prove intent.

LA Opera may have gone to an attorney to lead an investigation, but none of the reporters have gone to Domingo’s attorney, probably because the attorney probably would not talk to the press, probably because there is nothing there. But I am only guessing. What do I know?

Second: I have no idea why any company would cancel Domingo’s engagements based on stories in the newspapers that have no legal grounds. To my knowledge, he might have flirted. Is that abuse?

If Domingo had been involved in a lawsuit, then maybe a company would have grounds. But so far there is nothing in the legal arena to my knowledge.

Plus the second element has to do with contract law. What did the contracts that were broken look like? Was there a clause in them that enabled them to be broken — a loophole? The great reporters in the press did not interview the companies with respect to the law. Was Domingo just being nice by not taking legal action against the companies regarding contract law? So much is still unknown. And the press doesn’t even show that its members have much journalism expertise if they have left out these important legal aspects to their story.

Or maybe the reporters aren’t so dumb after all. They simply know that there is nothing there. Are they trying to “denigrate” Domingo, as his spokesperson Nancy Seltzer has said, based on hot air? Maybe.

Also, Domingo has a contract to head LA Opera through the 2021-2022 season. That is another contract. Again are their clauses or loopholes in the contract that either Domingo or LA Opera can utilize? Could LA Opera force Domingo to resign as general director? Could LA Opera fire him? Or could he retire if he desires?

So to me, the latest aspects include the books that show that there is no new real news in the news. The generalities are the same.

And nothing legal has occurred which would render Domingo guilty of anything more than flirting, so his attorneys have not been questioned by the media. And he has been extremely nice by not pursuing anything legal himself regarding contract law.

There may or may not be anything there since so much is unknown. Only the future will tell.

So the press has no or few grounds for their attack on the tenor who is currently the greatest tenor alive. If anything, he may have legal grounds to sue due to the breaking of his contracts.

The press has not reported that it has gone to his attorney for comment and to learn the facts. The press is basing its stories on hot air.

I am sure that Domingo has gone to his attorney and is laying low, waiting for further developments.

All I know is there is no basis for what the press is trying to do to Domingo at this present time.

Bad and unethical reporting has led to a story that all the media organizations have latched on to.

In the end, if this vein of reporting keeps moving forward, Domingo will be exonerated and the media organizations and companies who have canceled his engagements will have egg on their faces and will have to either apologize or could face legal actions against them as a result.

Only time will tell. But as the spokesperson for Domingo said, this whole press spectacle is the result of “unethical” journalism meant to “denigrate” Domingo.

Yes, we do live in a free press society, but the press better be careful, specifically AP. This irresponsible reporting could turn around to bite them.