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Tags: baltimore | symphony | emila skala

Baltimore Symphony Fires Principal Flutist Over Conspiracy Social Media Posts

flute on sheet music
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Thursday, 05 August 2021 01:13 PM

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has axed its principal flutist — a firing that came six months after it condemned her social media posts about COVID-19 vaccines, face masks, and the 2020 election.

In a brief statement, the orchestra offered no specific reasons for its termination of Emily Skala, who was with the symphony orchestra for 33 years, the Baltimore Sun reported.

"Principal Flutist Emily Skala has been dismissed from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in accordance with the progressive discipline policy agreed to in our collective bargaining agreement with the Musicians’ Association of Metropolitan Baltimore Local 40-543, AFM," wrote Peter Kjome, the symphony’s president and CEO.

"Ms. Skala has had discipline imposed upon her over these past few months; unfortunately, she has repeated the conduct for which she had been previously disciplined, and dismissal was the necessary and appropriate reaction to this behavior," Kjome said.

Skala, who had been suspended from her work duties, told the Baltimore Sun she was notified by phone Tuesday.

"I’ve only ever wanted to state my truth," she told the news outlet. "I’m not going to publicize what I’m going to do, but I’m not going to sit passively by. The BSO can expect to hear from me."

Skala believes the incident that triggered her dismissal occurred July 23, when she went to Meyerhoff Symphony Hall to hand in a new W-4 tax form, the Baltimore Sun reported.

She wasn't wearing a mask and had not had a COVID-19 test as is required by BSO health protocols, but told the news outlet she didn’t intend to go inside.

When she discovered her key card had been deactivated, she tried to open the door to hand her form to a security guard, the news outlet reported.

Skala said BSO officials interpreted this as violating the terms of her suspension, which barred her from the building.

"It’s clear I have been a target at the BSO for quite some time," Skala told the Baltimore Sun.

"From February until now, the BSO has repeatedly violated my constitutional rights in response to audience and donor and subscriber pressure," she said.

"They’ve committed many crimes against me, none of which they have acknowledged even to themselves. It would not be right to let that go unaccounted for. I would hate for this to happen to anyone else."

According to the Baltimore Sun, the orchestra in February took the unusual step of publicly rebuking Skala for what it perceived to be conspiracy-laden social media posts.

Symphony officials issued a statement saying they didn’t "condone or support" the views expressed by Skala in her posts and added that her statements did not "reflect our core values or code of conduct grounded in humanity and respect."

Skala previously had angered some colleagues and other members of the community with her comments about political topics.

The news outlet said earlier this year, opera singer Melissa Wimbish released emails that Skala had written to BSO performers in July 2020 following a Zoom meeting to discuss protests in Baltimore and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Among other things, Skala wrote she didn’t think the BSO should support Black Lives Matter because she believed it was part of a conspiracy led by powerful Democrats and supported by billionaire George Soros, the news outlet reported.

In March, Skala responded, submitting a letter to the Baltimore Sun, chastising BSO management for creating what she described as "a hostile workplace" environment.

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The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has axed its principal flutist - a firing that came six months after it condemned her social media posts about COVID-19 vaccines, face masks, and the 2020 election...
baltimore, symphony, emila skala
569
2021-13-05
Thursday, 05 August 2021 01:13 PM
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