In his final fall from grace, American countertenor David Daniels has been fired by the University of Michigan without severance pay. He joined his alma mater in 2015 as Professor of Music in Voice.
Daniels was suspended in 2018 after a former student made allegations of sexual assault.
The chairman of the board, Ron Weiser, said,
At the heart of every decision of the board is the safety and well-being of our students and the integrity of the instruction to which our students are entitled. When the board sees this jeopardised by a tenured member of the faculty, we believe it is necessary to take the extreme action of dismissal.
Daniels had already seen opera contracts cancelled following the accusation. Then in January 2019, he was arrested with his husband, Scott Walters, in connection with an event in 2010 in which baritone Samuel Schultz said that he had been drugged and assaulted by the couple.
In a statement on his website, Schultz writes,
I was raped.
Pause and contemplate those three words. I certainly have as I have been living with that reality since 2010, while I was pursuing my master's degree, when a celebrated opera singer and his boyfriend raped me.
In an email last Thursday to The New York Times, Schultz said,
I am thankful that the University of Michigan ultimately chose to protect its students from future harm. Although the truth is inconvenient for those who deny victims their voice, the result of the investigation speaks for itself.
After their arrest, the couple's lawyer, Matt Hennessy, said,
David and Scott are innocent of any wrongdoing. Sam Schultz is not a victim. He never would have gotten this much attention from his singing, and he knows and resents that fact. He waited eight years to complain about adult, consensual sex to ride the #MeToo movement to unearned celebrity. We will fight this.
The criminal case has not yet gone to trial.
Earlier this month Schultz resigned from his position as vice president of the American Guild of Musical Artists. The Guild had commissioned an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Plácido Domingo. He accused the opera singers' union of wanting to forge a “sweetheart deal” with Domingo and trying to cover up the findings in return for a $500,000 settlement.
This is a quid pro quo – silence in exchange for money. I found AGMA's willingness to bury the details of the investigative report deeply betraying of the women who were sexually harassed by Domingo. Rather than allowing the details of the investigation to be made public, the Union entered into a deal with Domingo which protected his reputation and has allowed him to continue to assert publicly that he did not aggressively sexually harass women or harm their careers.
In his resignation letter, addressed to the AGMA's President and National Executive Director, he wrote,
You both duped the Board into believing that Domingo was truly sorry. This was false. As Domingo made clear when he retracted his apology, he is unrepentant and continues to believe that he did nothing wrong. His retraction of his apology has been very painful to those who were harmed by his behavior.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.