Embattled opera legend Placido Domingo is defending himself against "nightmare" allegations of sexual harassment, insisting he's always behaved "within the limits of gentlemanliness".
The Spanish singer was dropped from a number of concerts in the U.S. following a pair of exposes published by The Associated Press in August and September (19), when more than 20 women came forward with historic accusations of misconduct by the veteran artist.
The charges made against Domingo include unexpected attempts to kiss the alleged victims and reports of unwanted touching, which his representative blasted at the time as "simply incorrect".
Now Domingo has spoken out in his first interview since the scandal erupted, branding the controversy a "nightmare".
In a candid chat with Spanish publication El Confidencial, the star suggests changing attitudes in the wake of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements against inappropriate behaviour are to blame for the sudden emergence of the allegations.
Insisting Spaniards are naturally "warm, affectionate and loving", he explained, "I have been gallant, but always within the limits of gentlemanliness, respect and sensitivity.
"Gallant gestures are viewed differently nowadays."
Domingo goes on to declare he has "never behaved in the aggressive, stalking and vulgar manner that (the accusers) described" and shares that at the time, he believed his "interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual".
The 78 year old bemoans the way he's been treated since the scandal hit headlines, especially since he has not faced criminal charges.
"The credibility given to the accusations is automatic... And I've felt prematurely judged, sentenced and convicted," he complained, declaring the exposes and their aftermath have resulted in "the most difficult months" of his life.
Despite the cloud of controversy, Domingo is determined to continue with his planned performances until 2021 as he draws the strength he needs to stand up to the claims for his family and his loyal supporters.
"They have been difficult times but things have died down a bit," he said. "I'm keeping on working, studying, rehearsing and performing. That has provided me with the calm I need to face this nightmare.
"I still feel strong and healthy."
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