Hagens Berman Blog

Sexual Harassment News: Plácido Domingo, Garment Factories, Ghislane Maxwell, Boys And Girls Clubs

by HB Sexual Harassment Legal Team


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The accusations go back years – so why has the opera world rallied round Plácido Domingo?

Opera houses might have turned a blind eye to sexually predatory behaviour in the past, but no-one should be above the law

Nearly 30 years ago, a famous soprano told me privately that Plácido Domingo was “a bit of a groper”. She herself had been the object of the tenor’s unwanted sexual attentions during a car journey, she told me. Unwanted but not, it seems, unwonted. In the world of opera, she added, Domingo’s habit was well-known and not unique.

The soprano was a woman who could take care of herself. She told me about Domingo almost in passing and certainly not for quotation or because she thought the story should become public. It was private information. I have never written anything about it until now. But times have changed, and rightly so. Whether the opera world has changed with it is another question. read more »

Bosses force female workers making jeans for Levis and Wrangler into sex

Women producing jeans for American brands including Levi Strauss, Wrangler and Lee have been forced to sleep with their managers to keep their jobs or gain promotion, an investigation into sexual harassment and coercion at garment factories in Lesotho has found.

Brands have responded to the “extensive” allegations by the the US-based Worker Rights Consortium by signing enforceable agreements with labour and women’s rights groups to eliminate gender-based violence for more than 10,000 workers at five factories owned by the Taiwanese company Nien Hsing, one of the southern African country’s largest employers.

A two-year investigation by WRC into Nien Hsing operations, published on Thursday, found that managers and supervisors regularly coerced female workers into sexual relationships by promising promotions or full-time contracts. The investigation also found that management failed to take disciplinary action against offenders, and that workers’ right to unionise was suppressed preventing them from collectively raising their concerns. read more »

Whatever Happened to Ghislaine Maxwell’s Plan to Save the Oceans?

The philanthropic works of Jeffrey Epstein’s ex-girlfriend never materialized. Now, she’s being sued by one of his victims.

In 2014, Ghislaine Maxwell spoke at a Council on Foreign Relations event in Washington, D.C. She was there in her capacity as the founder of the TerraMar Project, an oceanic conservation group she started in 2012, according to a C.F.R. spokeswoman.

The C.F.R. is one of the world’s most prestigious nonprofit think tanks. Among its officers and directors then were David Rockefeller, one of the modern era’s most revered philanthropists; Colin Powell; and Robert Rubin, the secretary of the Treasury under Bill Clinton.

The TerraMar Project was an organization with an opaque website and a founder who happened to be the ex-girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein, the mysterious money manager who — in addition to being one of the C.F.R.’s “Chairman’s Circle” donors for at least six years — had pleaded guilty in 2008 to state charges of soliciting prostitution from a minor.

Mr. Epstein spent the next year in county jail, becoming a symbol of the superrich getting away with crimes that seemed likely to send ordinary people to prison for far longer. read more »

Review details sex abuse claims against Boys and Girls Clubs

At least 250 people have said they were sexually abused as children by employees, volunteers and others at Boys and Girls Clubs of America affiliates, according to an investigation by Hearst Connecticut Media.

The review of criminal convictions and civil lawsuits dating to the 1970s turned up 95 abuse cases in 30 states involving people associated with the nonprofit youth development organization, which serves more than 4.5 million young people a year at its 4,600 local centers. Some of the cases involve more than one accuser.

The cases include allegations that leadership at clubs knew about abuse and did not report it to law enforcement, among other examples of local clubs failing to adhere to national protocols, and that, in some instances, background checks apparently failed to keep adults with violent convictions from working with children. read more »