AGMA says: No deal with Domingo. Just a massive fine

The US union of opera performers has taken issue with the New York Times wording of its proposed settlement with Placido Domingo after its lawyers found him guilty of inappropriate behaviour.

AGMA says there was no talk of a settlement by which the slate would be wiped clean. Rather, Domingo was told he would be fined half a million bucks to pay for AGMA’s legal expenses and its future anti-harrassment measures.

Here’s the statement:

This afternoon, The New York Times published a piece titled “Disclosure of Plácido Domingo Allegations Scuttles $500,000 Deal.” AGMA seeks to clarify the misperceptions of this article and in recent reports by NPR: the anticipated fine, to our knowledge the largest to be imposed on a union member, was NOT in exchange for AGMA’s silence or to make any “secret deal.”

The potential fine was part of a series of proposed measures to resolve potential internal union discipline which included: a lengthy suspension; mandatory training/coaching; and a sincere public apology.  In addition to offsetting AGMA’s legal fees incurred in the investigation, the fine was earmarked to support the Union’s ongoing efforts and new initiatives to prevent sexual harassment in our industries.  Additionally, a portion of the fine was to go to nonprofit entities designated by the Union to support targets of sexual harassment and programs to eliminate harassment in our industries. The Union had complete control over how the monies from the fine were to be spent.

Regardless of the fine imposed, AGMA was never planning to publicly release the specific details of its internal investigation, as the Union had assured witnesses of confidentiality. Any suggestion that the Union was being paid to withhold information is patently false.   

AGMA thanks the individuals who took part in the months’ long investigation for their bravery in coming forward and wants to assure them that we hear them. AGMA has accepted the findings of the internal investigation, which confirmed allegations against Mr. Domingo. AGMA is in the process of determining appropriate action that sends two clear messages: 1) this behavior won’t be tolerated by AGMA and 2) we are leading a national effort to eliminate sexual harassment within our industries. Should any AGMA members become a target of harassment or discrimination, they should notify AGMA immediately by confidentially reporting claims to reporting@musicalartists.org.