The strange case of Placido Domingo Jr. and the Church of Scientology
It isn't often that the world of opera intersects with the celebrity blogosphere. But over the weekend, the family of tenor Plácido Domingo found itself the subject of intense online chatter and speculation more fitting of a Hollywood scandal. The culprit: a former association between the singer's second son and the Church of Scientology.
On Saturday, the Village Voice published a blog interview with Plácido Domingo Jr. in which he accused the church of taking retaliatory measures against him for his decision to leave the organization after 20 years. The interview -- in which Domingo Jr. called Scientology's actions "scary and pathetic" -- has been picked up by gossip blogs, including Radar, as well as Britain's Daily Mail.
In the interview, Domingo Jr. said he was finished with the church and angry at the way it had tried to make him "disconnect" from his ex-wife, Samantha Domingo. He added that the church had encouraged its members to un-friend him on Facebook, and that leaders had escalated attacks on him by posting online details of his personal life that he only revealed during confidential auditing sessions.
"He's never been involved in this," Domingo Jr. said about his father to the Voice. "He's always respected our opinion... He respects people and reserves his judgment in this aspect. He's a wise man."
Scientology, considered by many to be a cult, has cultivated numerous celebrity members, most famously Tom Cruise and John Travolta. In recent years, it has also seen some high-profile defections, including Oscar-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis, who told his saga to the New Yorker.
The Village Voice interview with Domingo Jr. was written by Tony Ortega, the editor in chief of the alternative weekly publication.
The Village Voice did not include a comment from the Scientologists, but the church has consistently denied that it practices disconnection.
Domingo Jr. is a singer and musician who has performed a number of times with his father. He has written and produced music in a variety of genres throughout his career.
-- David Ng
Photo: A sign for the Church of Scientology complex in Hollywood. Credit: Los Angeles Times