The 3/2/2020 edition of NPR Music published an article by Anastasia Tsioulcas that takes a thorough look into the allegations of quid pro quo in the form of American Guild of Musical Artists’ (AGMA) silence in exchange for a $500,000 settlement payment from Plácido Domingo.
At the end of February 2020, news leaked that AGMA’s investigation into allegations that Domingo abused his positions of authority and engaged in multiple counts of sexual misconduct with subordinates and colleagues concluded a large number of allegations were credible.
Reportedly, AGMA did not intend to release those findings and the leak caught them entirely unprepared.
Tsioulcas’ article confirms the information came from Samuel Schultz, a baritone singer and now a former AGMA vice president.
If Schultz’s name sounds familiar, that’s because he was the victim of an alleged sexual assault committed by countertenor David Daniels.
In the wake of that incident, Schultz was compelled to run for office inside AGMA.
Schultz ran for AGMA office last year specifically on a platform of keeping the union and its signatories accountable regarding sexual harassment and misconduct. “No more cover-ups, no more looking the other way, no more silence,” he wrote in his campaign message.
According to the NPR article, Schultz became dismayed when AGMA leadership began advocating for a settlement with Domingo that would preclude them from releasing the results of their investigation.
This did not sit well with Schultz. As a result, he opted for the whistleblower route.
While AGMA’s executive director, Leonard Egert, took issue with Schultz’s characterization of the settlement, he doesn’t deny the nondisclosure clause. Instead, he pivoted toward accusing Schultz of “breaching his duties to AGMA” by providing a copy of the report to the press.
It’s difficult to imagine AGMA will walk away from this unscathed and in an apparent nod that support’s Schultz’s claim about the deal being more about protecting Domingo than the alleged victims, the opera star walked back an earlier apology that offered contrition, but fell short of admitting any wrongdoing. Domingo’s revised statement was decidedly defiant in tone.
“I have never behaved aggressively toward anyone, and I have never done anything to obstruct or hurt anyone’s career in any way.”
Moving forward, AGMA will need to decide if they will move forward with their prescribed disciplinary hearing and potentially impose a fine on Domingo.