Sony staffer says Domingo tongued her

Sony staffer says Domingo tongued her


norman lebrecht

September 14, 2019

A nameless former Sony Classical staffer in Berlin is the latest to accuse the singer of being a sex-pest. She tells Der Spiegel he kissed her on the mouth and hugged her in February 2001 while trying to enter her hotel room during a Three Tenors promotion.

The woman told him she was not interested.

She did not report the incident to her employer.




  • BastaCosi says:

    Great – another nameless accuser. The industry is currently very accepting to MeToo accusers – so, the idea that this could hurt her career is ridiculous. So, the anonymity removes all validity from her claim. Coward.

    • Person who doesn’t know everything says:

      Who are you to decide if her claim is valid? By your logic (not mine), calling yourself “BastaCosi” instead of your real name removes all validity from your comment and makes you a coward.

      • Mick the Knife says:

        In the US, the accused has the right to face his accusers in court – 6th amendment. This doesn’t mean with a bag over their head. BastaCosi is not accusing anyone of anything just pointing out the violation of the sense of fairness in the US constitution.

        • Read the Words says:

          Um, is this a court case? Did we all miss something that you know about? Why cite US Constitution for an international issue that is not in any court of law anyway?

        • Saxon Broken says:

          Why should Europeans give a stuff about your constitution.

          Many more civilised places allow some anonymity in sexual harassment cases (in the press, not in the courts) to ensure nasty people like you don’t harass the victim.

    • Monsoon says:

      If you’re so concerned about anonymity, why don’t you post your real name and address so we know just who is defending Domingo’s behavior.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      The new Feminism. I demand to belong in the military but woe betide any many who tries it on.

    • Caravaggio says:

      Not nameless. Her name is Sarah Kruse.

  • CHNina says:

    >he kissed her on the mouth and hugged her in February 2001

    Did this harm her in any way? Did the kiss even last longer than 5 seconds? And *eighteen years later* she’s still carrying a grudge, and even thinks it’s worth reporting to the press?

    >The woman told him she was not interested.

    And what happened after that? As that is the end of her story, I assume that Domingo said, “OK, sorry,” and disappeared.

    If this is the worst thing that has ever happened to her, this lady has led a charmed life.

    • emil says:

      Interesting. You assume the assault was insignificant and that she’s lying about the whole thing being traumatic. And you assume he was a perfect gentleman about the whole thing (notwithstanding that the guy kissing a woman without consent while trying to enter her hotel room without invitation may not, in fact, be a perfect gentleman).

      Funny you would make those two assumptions.

      • Andrew R. Barnard says:

        When does ungentlemanly behavior warrant ending someone’s career, especially when it’s nearly two decades in the past? I don’t have the answer. Was Domingo’s behavior criminal? Is there some space in the middle between “she’s just carrying a grudge” and viewing Domingo as a pervert who needs to be kicked off the stage?

        • Emil says:

          Hi Andrew.
          It warrants ending someone’s career when the behaviour entails breaking the career of others, as numerous allegations make clear (for instance, AP article 2). And when the bahaviour makes it impossible to work with the person without risk. And when that behaviour is incompatible with respect for coworkers. And when that behaviour is ciminal.
          And yes, sexual assault is criminal, and we now have at least two accounts of alleged sexual assault by Domingo.
          Is there some space in the middle? Sure, there’s the ‘we don’t care’ space: women were harassed and assaulted by Domingo and he doesn’t need to be kicked off stage – we simply don’t care if he did. That seems to be the attitude taken by Salzburg, the MET, and multiple other institutions in Europe. Sexual assault? Meh.

          • MrJo says:

            It seems you’re the one assuming… in the wrong way, at least in the opposite way to the free and democratic world.

          • Marel says:

            You are making a lot of assumptions. Obviously, Mr. Domingo has been tried and found guilty by you and countless others, without actual evidence. Stop the lynching and get a life!
            The man is 78 years old and still working very hard. That is something to commend. I seriously doubt any of us will be doing so when we are that age.

          • fern says:

            “The man is 78 years old and still working very hard. That is something to commend. I seriously doubt any of us will be doing so when we are that age.”

            And what does this have to do with the price of bread?

          • Karl says:

            If that kiss is sexual assault then I’ve been sexually assaulted a few times by women in the past. It’s time to grow out of the victimhood mentality that is causing the definition of sexual assault to expand to an absurd level.

          • Laurence says:

            It’s amazing how you are able to empathize with women and understand them from the inside, almost as if you weren’t a man! Only Tolstoy with “Anna Karenina” and Henry James in “Portrait of a Lady” have been able to match you there!

        • Saxon Broken says:

          Andrew…you do know that he committed assault (if the accusation is true). And can get a prison sentence for that. It actually is criminal behaviour.

      • M2N2K says:

        It is not any funnier then assuming that it happened “without consent” and “without invitation”, and that the entire episode proceeded exactly as one of the two participants is describing it eighteen years later.

        • Emil says:

          It is funny (well, in fact, not funny at all, but you get my point) that Domingo is automatically given the benefit of the doubt (I’m sure he was a perfect gentleman, etc.), while one of 21 (twenty-one!) women who allege similar behaviour is assumed to be misremembering the whole thing. The 80 year-old guy for whom this, by multiple accounts, was routine behaviour has a perfect memory of the event not happening 18 years ago, while the woman for whom this would have been a traumatic experience must have gotten confused.

          There are now 21 allegations, with multiple confirming witnesses. At what point do you recognize that these accounts are not incompatible with the pattern of Domingo’s behaviour, but that they *are* the pattern of behaviour?

          • M2N2K says:

            When it is established beyond reasonable doubt by due process that “the pattern of behavior” is in fact true rather than alleged. No one on either side should be “automatically given the benefit” or “assumed to be disremembering” until then.

          • Emil says:

            And yet you just did.

          • M2N2K says:

            No, definitely not in the way you used those expressions. First, I never stated that accusations are false – only that at this time, as far as this is known publicly, they are not proven to be true. Second, the “benefit of the doubt” if any should be given to both sides equally – in other words, each one of them should be doubted but not dismissed.

          • M2N2K says:

            The point is that when both sides are doubted as they should be, then neither side receives the “benefit”. But the burden of proof should certainly be on the accusers, because proving negative is impossible.

          • david hilton says:

            There have not been 21 allegations. You are simply libelling Mr Domingo. The second AP article contains at best 3 allegations against him, not 11 as this blog initially reported. And two of those are unlikely to meet most standards of sexual assault. (e.g., ‘whispering in my ear’ and ‘kissing me on the cheek’). In total we have only heard from 2 or 3 identified complainants, together with a handful of still anonymous complaints.

            People seem to think that by inflating the numbers here, they make possibly weak and unconvincing complaints more believable. They do not.

        • Barbara says:

          Some men are making a true and sincere effort to understand what women have endured for centuries, to understand the causes of the problem, and to be active and vocal allies in making things better for everyone. Thank you, Emil.

      • Mick the Knife says:

        The “assault”? Grow up stop the silly hyperbole.

        • Emil says:

          Dear Mick, the hyperbole here is that of nearly every criminal code in the world.

          • Karl says:

            Name the statutes then. Name some cases where someone was convicted of sexual assault for unwanted kissing.

          • david hilton says:

            And recall that one of the phantom “11 allegations” that actually never were produced by the AP in its second article consists of this: the complaint believed that Domingo intended to kiss her on the lips, though he only in fact kissed her on the cheek. Assault? Where? In what jurisdiction?

          • Saxon Broken says:

            It is a common law offence…

            …but the victim has to feel threatened or afraid for the offence to be committed.

      • Stereo says:

        All these accusations would perhaps have some validity if they had been made at the time. Jumping on the bandwagon springs to mind.

      • bari says:

        Whatever experiences we hold in relation to this case, and therefore, usually, what prejudices, I would suggest that no one should make assumptions.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Ah, a new version of Salome awaits!!! She kissed him on the mouth!!!

    • John Borstlap says:

      The point is that a climate of antisocial and inappropriate behavior in music life, made possible by a cult of stardom, should end, once and for all. These unpleasant behavior types have always been hidden in the shadows of reverence, and it is good that they are now exposed.

    • Mario says:

      <Did this harm her in any way?

      How dare you. Of course it does. Have you ever been sexually assaulted? I can assure you it's difficult to forget, and quite traumatic. And yes: being kissed in your mouth with tongue IS a sexual thing. Quite invasive and harmful if you don't want to be kissed.

      • Eric says:

        People who are traumatized for the rest of their lives by minor sexual activity, like being tongue kissed, often have a lot of psychological problems of their own which have little or nothing to do with the abuse.

    • sycorax says:

      Do you think it okay that a man enters a woman’s room without permission and tries to kiss her? Don’t you think it shows lack of respect for the lady? Don’t you think it made her feel rather uncomfortable, perhaps even terrified?

      I remember how I was for a congress with a guy I worked for and how he came into my room and tried something. I managed to kick him out – and for the rest of the night I didn’t sleep a minute because I was so afraid! Every time I heard something in front of my door my pulse started to race and I thought he’d come in and would try to rape me.

      A few days after this weekend he stood in front of my flat’s door, a bottle with cheap sparkling wine in his hand. I told him I’m not interested and closed the door. The next morning as I came into the office there was a letter on my desk – he’d sacked me.

      At the employment office they looked on the letter and then they asked me if I’d go to the police because I was “Number Five” in two years – the fifth lady he’d hired for this job and sacked because she hadn’t wanted to have sex with him. Unfortunately I didn’t go to the police – I had a lot of problems at this time and I was afraid they’d dig around in my private life.

      It’s now around 30 years ago – but I still remember it very well and I hate that men like you obviously still think it isn’t a big problem if women become harrassed. Men like you are still in victim blaming, still willing to defend men who treath women without any respect. Men like you show to me why #metoo is so damn important and why we shouldn’t stop speaking out!

      I have no daughter, but by now five step granddaughters – and for them I wish that they won’t have to go through such situations, that they don’t need to be afraid of men and that they mustn’t be afraid to speak out when something has happened.

  • V.Lind says:

    Meanwhile, the accusation has surfaced in Europe, previously considered (apparently) to be 100% pro-Domingo because Me Too does not happen here because attitudes toward sex are so much more mature than in prudish America (probably true)etc.

    And we get the usual crap about how if it is “anonymous” — i.e. names not released to the public — it can’t be true, and even if it is true it doesn’t matter after all this time and of course was insignificant in the first place.

    Where are these troglodytes living that they cannot understand any of this?

    • Tamino says:

      What’s worrisome is how all this public shaming and mob rule is overriding the rule of law. In the end it is reversing progress we made in the age of enlightenment for the last 300 years.

      If a woman thinks Placido Domingo did something that crosses the line and is not allowed, she should file a law suit or press charges through the police.

      That’s the system we have in place.
      But tying someone in the town square and letting everybody spit at him and publicly shame him is not how we should do it these days.

      We should be better than that. We should be better than Placido Domingo, who apparently thought, he is so irresistible, that he can overstep the common rules of decency and interpersonal respect.

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    It is remarkable how unsuccessful & clumsy such prominent musicians as Domingo and Dutoit were with women.At least others like Klemperer, Solti and Carlos Kleiber generally succeeded in their compulsive womanising as far as we know. Or are they lucky because they are dead?

    • John Borstlap says:

      It may be that they knew how to treat women like people and not like objects. If women like to be conquered, they prefer to be conquered as people, not as dehumanized objects.

    • Novagerio says:

      I agree Mustafa. At least Furtwängler stormed the brothels straight after the concerts, in order to seak professional help for his sexual compulsion ! 😉

    • Bill says:

      Another possibility: maybe a wider net is being cast (or cast more often), and the catch of uninterested parties is larger. I don’t think we know that D&D are always striking out, just that it does appear to happen. The others may have been more selective, and not in such a rush.

    • BastaCosi says:

      They’re lucky because they’re dead. As are most of the other famous singers/conductors/actors etc of a bygone era. Make no mistake – people would be trying to take down Pav alongside Domingo if he were still alive and singing…

      People are mad (in most cases for good reason) and that has given traction to the trash that is cancel culture. At some point we will be through this to the other side, but probably not any time soon – and certainly not until both sides can stop screaming into the void rather than listening to each other.

  • laurie says:

    We will find out the truth about all of this when the union representing opera singers conducts its own independent investigation – see below. It’s interesting that they are not confident in the investigations now said to be underway.

    Published September 6, 2019 | By Musical Artists | Post in All Areas
    AGMA has retained J. Bruce Maffeo of Cozen O’Connor to conduct the Union’s investigation into the multiple allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination against Plácido Domingo.

    Today the American Guild of Musical Artists (“AGMA”) opened its own independent investigation into the multiple allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination against Plácido Domingo. AGMA has retained J. Bruce Maffeo of Cozen O’Connor, a former federal prosecutor, to conduct the Union’s internal investigation. Mr. Maffeo has extensive experience conducting similar investigations on behalf of labor unions.

    This week the Associated Press published new disturbing allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Mr. Domingo. In the wake of the initial allegations against Mr. Domingo, first published on August 13, AGMA demanded that its signatory companies that employed Domingo launch full investigations into the allegations against him. Since that time, however, the companies that have begun their own investigations have been unwilling or unable to provide AGMA with sufficient assurances about the scope and timing of their investigations, as well as whether or not the findings will be publicly disclosed or otherwise made available to the Union.

    “Given the uncertainty surrounding the investigations of our signatory companies, AGMA’s internal investigation will not be limited to conduct that occurred at a specific company or at a particular time,” said AGMA National Executive Director Len Egert. “Our investigation will also examine the systemic failures within the industry that could have allowed this conduct, if substantiated, to continue unchallenged for decades. In light of the seriousness of the allegations, and the number of AGMA members who may have been affected, we believe this investigation is necessary at this time.”

    “The health and safety of AGMA Artists is of paramount importance to the Union,” said AGMA President Raymond Menard. “Every AGMA Artist has an absolute right to go to work without fear of sexual harassment, discrimination, or assault. As a labor union, it’s our job to make sure that our employers keep our members safe at work.”

    AGMA encourages any members who may have information relevant to this investigation to contact AGMA Eastern Counsel Wendy LaManque at, to be put in touch with Mr. Maffeo’s office

  • Brad says:

    Ahhhhhh ok. Relieved!

  • sam says:

    1) Stop the prurient headline. She never said he “tongued” her.

    2) Stop the “anonymous” red herring:

    Would any of the anonymous trolls here give the accusations any more credence if a name was attached to the accusations?

    No, the anonymous trolls would just harass her by name.

    Ironic that anonymous trolls insist on knowing the victims’ names.

    Sure, as soon as this site publishes the names of all commenters here.

    • Bill says:

      I’m not necessarily going to dismiss an anonymous accusation, but all else being equal, I’m more inclined to put weight on one where the victim puts his or her name out there in this climate! Seems hard to imagine doing that for an imaginary accusation…but if there’s enough smoke, you don’t necessarily need to know exactly what is burning to conclude that there is a fire nearby.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Europe normally legally protects the identity of the victim in sexual assault/rape cases. The court will know the victim but will forbid the name to be reported to the public.

    • Karl says:

      If the accuser’s name is released then the allegation can be examined more thoroughly by people who know what happened. I think it’s pretty clear that the AP engaged in conformation bias. We posters are only giving opinions so our identities don’t matter. I don’t know why that is so hard for some people to grasp.

      • Laurence says:

        Some people are desperate to have names so that they can proceed to harass and slut-shame, perhaps even go as far as death threats. I am not suggesting you are one of these creeps, but surely you are aware of the misogynistic culture the internet has fostered.

  • Antonio says:

    It’s hard to find any certainties in this case, especially in this post-truth world we live in, in which everything, even the journalistic integrity of the Associated Press, seems to be in doubt for some people. I suspect that even if Domingo was found guilty in a court of law, his apologists would claim that the judge or jury were not fair — like we’ve seen recently with the case of Geoffrey Boycott, who was found guilty three times: the original trial in January 1998, a retrial in autumn 1998 and an appeal in 2000, and he is still defended by people who falsely claim that the presumption of innocence does not exist in France.

    The only certainty I have in this case, the only thing I don’t have any doubt about, is that anyone who automatically disregards an allegation of sexual abuse because it was not done in what they believe was a timely manner, because the full details of the accuser are not publicly known, because they believe that the rules in the world of opera should be different, because the accused is an artist or a celebrity that they like, because they think that somehow the accuser will benefit career-wise or financially from the accusation… is just putting more pressure on victims of sexual abuse to keep quiet and is making it easier for predators to continue abusing victims.

    • maria says:

      “anyone who automatically disregards an allegation of sexual abuse because it was not done in what they believe was a timely manner, because the full details of the accuser are not publicly known, because they believe that the rules in the world of opera should be different, because the accused is an artist or a celebrity that they like, because they think that somehow the accuser will benefit career-wise or financially from the accusation… is just putting more pressure on victims of sexual abuse to keep quiet and is making it easier for predators to continue abusing victims”


  • DeepSouthSenior says:

    I’ve always read that proper placement of the tongue is critical for singing. This gives a whole new meaning to “warm-up exercise.”

  • Sarah says:

    Oh for god’s sake get over yourself – if he wasn’t famous it would not be worth mentioning. Every single girl/woman I know has had to repel unwelcome advances in her life and as long as the repelling is accepted I really cant see what all the fuss is about.

  • John Porter says:

    I know, he seems so great. But, when this many complaints start appearing, well, logic tells you there is something to it. And of course, men will start to attack the women. No, it is not appropriate to kiss someone who does not want to be kissed, or whatever. It was never okay. Not twenty years ago and not today. Perhaps some of you who think what he is accused of was really nothing should watch The Apartment, a 1960 film.

  • Urs says:

    OK, he misbehaved, he must have been an annoyance for some of his female colleagues, I have known such guys and they are pain to deal with. But seriously, you can’t be holding grudge for decades because somebody was overly keen to get in your panties? How is that possible? And most importantly – what now? We know he was a “sex pest”, do we no longer like him as an artist? Should all opera houses fire him? Does an artist have to be morally impeccable to be let sing on stage? What if his fans still appreciate his art even if the man couldn’t appropriately behave with the women? As for myself, I would attend his performance if I had a chance even if I disapprove of his behavior.

  • Claudio says:

    The misogyny, the apologism of sexual abuse, the victim blaming and the lack of empathy of some of the people on this comment board are frankly disgusting.

  • George says:

    He put his hand on her knee and hugged her.
    He did not kiss her on the mouth, nor tongued her.

    „Kussmund gemacht“ means he „blew her a kiss“

    Can we please not change facts?

  • Rob says:

    Tongue in cheek?