Aug. 23, 2019
Best of the Week — First Winner
Chance encounter, tenacious reporting reveal harassment allegations against Placido Domingo
Jocelyn Gecker’s bombshell investigation of sexual harassment allegations against opera superstar Placido Domingo started with a song.
San Francisco-based Gecker was at a party about 18 months ago when she noticed the beautiful voice of the woman next to her singing “Happy Birthday,” and complimented her. The woman was a former opera singer who confided that the industry had a dark underbelly, offering her assessment that “Placido Domingo is the Bill Cosby of the opera world.”
The discussion sparked months of work by Gecker to publicly reveal what many said had been an open secret in the opera world. In all, Gecker would find nine women who accused Domingo of sexual harassment and a half-dozen more who said the star made them uncomfortable. Getting people to go on the record proved challenging, but a breakthrough came when one of Domingo’s accusers agreed to tell her story on camera. The resulting 5,200-word story – and Domingo’s response – commanded instant attention and heavy engagement in global media.
For finding a major international story in an unlikely setting, and her care in dealing with sources while reporting tenaciously on a sensitive topic, Gecker earns AP’s Best of the Week honors.