Challenging Sexual Harassment at All Levels of the Opera Industry

In response to yesterday’s news that Placido Domingo resigned his post at the L.A. Opera after numerous complaints of sexual harassment, Leng Leng Chancey, the executive director of 9to5, National Association of Working Women, issued the following statement:

“Yesterday’s resignation by Placido Domingo is a step in the right direction, as opera companies across the country have taken steps to cut ties with the powerful man accused of sexual harassment by a number of women. Domingo should have to face his accusers and account for his actions.

“The opera industry also must take immediate action to ensure that opera companies are workplaces free of harassment and discrimination. Like so many industries, U.S. opera companies are dominated by powerful male leaders, even though women’s talent is integral to success. These companies are a classic example of what happens when there is sex discrimination and gender inequality in the workplace.

“While all eyes are trained at the women artists who allege abuse at the hands of Domingo, we must not ignore the plight of other women workers in the opera industry. Cleaners, food service workers, ushers and other service workers almost certainly face sexual harassment, too. In the service sector, sexual harassment runs rampant. The men who harass women service workers usually are not high-profile — so their complaints are of little or no interest to the media. What’s more, women service workers are paid low wages and often cannot afford to complain about harassment by bosses and/or customers. The opera industry must ensure that the service workers in their companies and venues have harassment-free workplaces, too.

“As long as women are not at the table where decisions are made, we are sure to be on the menu and will continue to face sexual harassment and workplace discrimination at the whim of men in power. We challenge the U.S. opera industry to stop all sexual harassment in its companies and venues and to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion programs are implemented at every level.”

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