Double standards: Madrid takes Placido Domingo’s name off a school

Double standards: Madrid takes Placido Domingo’s name off a school


norman lebrecht

July 10, 2020

Scherzo reports that the district council of the Madrid district of Arganzuela voted last night to rename one of its schools, taking down the plaque for Placido Domingo after receiving a petition with 1,300 signatures.

The singer has been accused elsewhere of sexual harrassment, but not apparently in Spain.

The official gesture is flimsy and inconsistent. Spain is full of memorials to the genocidal Ferdinand and Isabella and to many murderous colonialists. Their statues still stand all over Madrid.


  • John Rook says:

    We must ensure we remember only utterly perfect people. That way, our view of history will be safe.

    • Maria says:

      Yes, as if there was such a thing as a thoroughly perfect human being in this wide world. We are all flawed human beings and he without sin try casting the first stone – unless of course you are hidden on line, and then the stones by way of pious and judgemental words never stop!

      • Emil says:

        I like to think that there are plenty of people who are not sexual assaulters.

        • Veronica says:

          Domingo is not a sexual assaulted of you mean that.

          LA Opera investigation report confirmed that he is non guilty. They found flirting and sexual advances only. That is not a crime.

          No one of his accuser hasn’t came to police or court.

          No one of his accuser hasn’t provided any proof of his guilty. There are only talks and rumors at their statement.

          There is no any court process on Domingo case in any country.

          • V. Lind says:

            Not exactly accurate. In any case, the full report has never been released. While what was released was doubtless correct, the determination of what was made public was done to serve the interests of LA Opera. It was enough for them to terminate relations with Mr. Domingo, but if it had more unsavoury details than we have been allowed to see, they would have reflected poorly on the company’s oversight of the safe working conditions of its employees

            It was a highlights package, not the full opera.

          • Veronica says:

            Does anyone have any proof of Domingo guilt? Please, post a link here. Otherwise your statements is a bullshit.

            Is there any court process on Domingo case anythere? No. That means metoo persons are just liars and don’t want to be in jail due to their false non-proof statements.

            Domingo donated 500K dollars to help musicians which lost their jobs and salary due to coronavirus. It is a very kind of him. No one else did the same.

            As always I see here so many people which havn’t done anything great in their life, but they think they are quite smart to accuse a great singer. If you are so smart, why you post dirty comments in Internet?
            Do something great before posting bullshit about Domingo.

          • V. Lind says:

            How many times do you people have to be told the difference between sexual harassment and sexual assault? NOBODY accused the singer of the latter. SO there was no question of criminal proceedings. His various activities were deemed seriously enough by virtually every orchestra and opera company in the US to terminate relations with him. LA Opera did so after engaging an independent inquiry by a law firm, part of whose findings they published, which was sufficiently damning to have them conclude that he was no longer welcome. It found no evidence of his using power to fire or hire, but did find complaints against him credible.

          • Veronica says:

            It is very interesting why there are no such cases in Europe. European women are not enought beautifull?

            In any case LA Opera and AGMA are not police or court and their investigations are not legal. And even in their investigations report they found nothing except flirting and sexual advances, and that is not a crime in any country.

          • V. Lind says:

            And. nobody. has. ever. said. it. was.

            But sexual harassment is a workplace issue — and that is where it was resolved. US music essentially told Domingo that his workplace behaviour made him unwelcome.

          • veromica says:

            Sexual harassment is a crime. Is there a court decision that Domingo is guilty in sexual harassment? No. That means he is innocent until proven guilty.

            LA Opera report

            Gibson Dunn interviewed numerous individuals involved in the casting process at LA Opera. Based on those and other interviews, Gibson Dunn found no evidence that Mr. Domingo ever engaged in a quid pro quo or retaliated against any woman by not casting or otherwise hiring her at LA Opera, especially since casting and other hiring decisions are complex, performance-specific and determined by multiple people.

            Metoo liars have not provided ANY PROOF of their words. Their sexual fantasies about Domingo is not a proof. They just use Domingo name to promote themselves.

          • Gilda says:

            It is normal for US to kill afroamericans. And of course it is normal for US to accuse innocent person without any proof. Like they did it with Domingo.
            No proof needed. No police or court investigation needed.

          • Nick2 says:

            I have written here in several PD threads that I do have direct evidence of sexual harassment by the singer. After three attempts to lure my young assistant into what she believed to be his private hotel suite, she persuaded him that she was recently married and her husband was arriving the following day. It was the truth but she could tell he did not believe it.

            The other occasion was after a concert when he invited a young lady assistant to his suite. Despite being advised by three people – myself, a former Director of the Royal Opera House and a distinguished arts manager now running a major British orchestra – that she should not go, she went after telling us that he knew she was engaged and she could look after herself. She could not, and had considerable difficulty getting out of that suite.

            The suggestion that anyone can buy their way out of sexual harassment claims by donating 500K to a charity is totally irrelevant. From my understanding, PD was no Harvey Weinstein. But enough people in the business of classical music know that he could be embarrassingly persistent in his advances when he took a liking to a pretty young lady. That is sexual harrassment.

            Your comment “do something great” is utterly cheap and insulting!

          • Sue Sonata Form says:

            Yes there is; it’s called the Kangaroo Court. That’s enough these days to satisfy the authoritarianism of the Left. Don’t worry; nanny will take care you.

            The Left: the little red riding hood of politics. The Wolf will eat you, sooner rather than later.

          • Richard says:

            Domingo should have learned from Trump… Hire a lawyer to write a Non-Disclosure Agreement when you harass someone. That’s real Genius!

          • Emil says:

            Yeah, and he offered to pay 500 000$ to the Union to cover up nothing at all.

        • V. Lind says:

          I cannot fathom 40 downvotes for your unexceptionable statement.

          I would like to think that, working solely from what he has said himself, girls do not have to go to a school whose name is an implicit message that men who come on to them, again and again when it is not wanted, IN THEIR PLACE OF WORK, is something they will just have to accept.

          • M2N2K says:

            No, the “implicit message” of this particular name on a school or wherever it appears is only that the person by that name made an outstanding contribution to human culture, no more no less. Which he did.

        • David says:

          Well apparently not so many in this comment section…

    • David says:

      Who ever said eliminate all traces of Domingo in history? Who said only remember perfect people? Do you really not have the intellectual capacity to conceptually differentiate distinct statements to the point you falsely equivocate and make completely inaccurate conclusions that somehow satisfy your ego?

      We are talking here about accountability. Hitler was supposedly vegetarian, kind to animals and people around him, yet I bet you won’t be defending neo-nazis who want to erect a statue of him. That doesn’t mean we forget Hitler existed. Statues and use of names are positive reinforcement of their legacies, which can have direct impact on societal ideals and social cohesion and set the tone for the future, not to mention benefits to the descendants. It is therefore natural to set the bar high as they are meant to be put on a pedestal.

      One could try to make the argument questioning the efficacy of removing names and statues to change people’s perceptions of them. The goal is to direct our culture towards safer, more equal, and prosperous society for all, and there are many ways to achieve that. Is removing statues really beneficial, and if so, how best to proceed? This would be a constructive discussion to have, but just outright denying any possible validity to this idea by falsely equating it to authoritarianism is just plain ignorant.

  • annnon says:

    1) “Spain is full of memorials to the genocidal Ferdinand and Isabella and to many murderous colonialists.”

    Oh ho, shall we play this game of which country’s monarchs are more genocidal and colonialist? I’m not sure Britian comes out particularly well on that count.

    2) “The singer has been accused elsewhere of sexual harrassment, but not apparently in Spain.”

    I never know morality had geographic limitations. In that case, James Levine harassing minors in the US is perfectly OK in Italy because Italians have a lower age of consent and higher tolerance of sexual behavior (not to mention he was never accused in Italy, according to the logic above).

    • AlanC says:

      Indeed. No country has caused more deaths in their colonies than the UK. Shame on Lebrecht for his comment.

      • The View from America says:

        Agree nearly 100% — but close runners-up have to be France and Belgium. Their record of misery is clearly evident in the string of failed countries and societies left behind upon their departure. Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, Syria, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Algeria … the list goes on.

        At least the UK made an attempt to establish civil governance in their colonies — as opposed to the “French way” of playing favorites with different groups of local peoples, then leaving the big ol’ mess behind the when the going got tough …

        • Hans-Dieter Glaubke says:

          Twisted, self-serving logic.

        • Seán Hurley says:

          Really? The British never ‘divided & conquered’ nor left a “big ol’ mess behind when the going got tough”??
          India & Pakistan? Israel & surrounding countries? Cyprus & Northern Cyprus? Ireland & Northern Ireland? No colonial power has a blameless past. Let’s just leave it at that while also acknowledging the cultural strengths of these countries, especially in the area of music.
          I love the music of Wagner while also despising the anti-Semitic, unfaithful narcissist & generally obnoxious person who composed it. We seem to be unable to make these distinctions nowadays. Should we tear down statues of him? Should we abandon the Bayreuth Festival? I have mixed feelings on it myself. What we might learn from Wagner & his Nazi supporters is to be wary of people who are 100% certain of everything.

          • Tristan says:

            Hideous like all of a sudden one wants to rewrite history and totally agree with your comments – I also love Wagner’s music beyond everything but his writings disgusts one – still his work is amazing and let’s protect and preserve Bayreuth the way it is! Same with Napoleon’s Paris and many other monuments – when do we stop this hypocrisy? What to do with communist China nowadays and there politics?

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Oh yes; we all need to feel shame and you’re going to make absolutely sure we all do it!! In the meantime, why not read “The Crucible”. It will make you feel better.

      • Paul Joschak says:

        Oh, I dunno…. those beastly Romans could dish it out! When your empire was as big as the British Empire, your statement loses some of its acerbity.

  • Fernando says:

    Supporting the removal of statues in Europe on spurious, anachronistic grounds which apply 21st century standards to Medieval Europe (and forget that the victims of colonization where oppressors of other peoples themselves, too) is the perfect reason to stop patronizing your page. Shame on you!

  • says:

    “Domingo is a sexual harasser, but he’s my sexual harasser ! “

  • Tiredofitall says:

    ¡Basta ya!

  • George says:

    We get to a point where your character becomes more important than any achievement.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Cancel culture on steroids. Watch out; you’re next.

  • Karl says:

    We must cancel ALL history and start over. This is Year 0.

  • M2N2K says:

    The competition of which country was more sinful is ridiculous and has nothing to do with the subject of the post: Norman Lebrecht did not state here that Spain was worse than Britain – he simply reminded the readers about a couple of facts from Spanish history to show the hypocrisy that he sees in their action against Placido Domingo. He also did not say that any statues must be removed but merely named some that are there. All of those “criticisms” are straw man arguments and are completely unfair.

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    Let us not be too harsh on our Western civilisation. I have not seen other civilisations expressing regret for their own historical barbarities. In Turkey, for instance, they celebrate every year the bloody conquest of Constantinople without any thought to the atrocities committed, let alone the justice of the deed. They have now turned Haghia Sophia back into a mosque. It is only in the West there is any feeling of guilt or remorse about the past.

  • Ingrid says:

    This all is ridiculous! Then for example you have to forbid religions (crusades, inquisition) and close churches.
    I hope that all this follies will come to an end. Nobody has no mistakes. Not even holies!

  • Novagerio says:

    “The official gesture is flimsy and inconsistent. Spain is full of memorials to the genocidal Ferdinand and Isabella and to many murderous colonialists. Their statues still stand all over Madrid.”
    Ferdinand & Isabella and the other colonial genocidal characters are part of Spanish history, and monuments are supposed to teach us about our history. We don’t make things better by tearing down History and rewrite it in the name of political correctness.
    Plácido on the other hand is a very living person who got caught with his hands in the cookie jar.

  • Giuliana says:

    I miss a world where there was due process.

  • Catalina says:

    What a disgusting article! It seems that the other European countries did not conquer or enslave.
    And also, for that reason, do you have to support Placido Domingo that has recognized your fault?
    Until never, Mr. Lebrecht

    • Veronica says:

      If you mean Domingo, he denies all allegaions. I think you have read just false articles in corrupted media, if you think he has regognized a fault.

      See Domingo official statement at his Facebook page:

      Plácido Domingo – México 2.27.2020
      I feel I must issue a further statement to correct the false impression generated by my apology in some of the articles reporting on the AGMA investigation.
      My apology was sincere and heartfelt, to any colleague who I have made to feel uncomfortable, or hurt in any manner, by anything I have said or done. As I have said it repeatedly, it was never my intention to hurt or offend anyone.
      But I know what I have not done and I’ll deny it again. I have never behaved aggressively toward anyone, and I have never done anything to obstruct or hurt anyone’s career in any way. On the contrary, I have devoted much of my half century in the world of opera supporting the industry and promoting the career of countless singers.
      I am grateful to all the friends and colleagues that, up until now, have believed in me and supported me through these difficult moments. In order to spare them harm or any additional inconvenience, I have decided to withdraw from my upcoming performances of La Traviata at the Teatro Real in Madrid.
      Furthermore, I will withdraw from the engagements in which theaters and companies find it difficult to carry out those commitments. On the other hand, I will fulfill all my other commitments wherever circumstances permit it.