The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has fired a flutist who’d been with the group for more than three decades after being accused of espousing conspiracies about the COVID-19 pandemic and the November election on social media.
Emily Skala, a flutist with the prestigious outfit for 33 years, had already been rebuked publicly for her posts and the orchestra had distanced itself from her in February.
But the principal flutist was let go by the orchestra on Tuesday per its “progressive discipline policy,” according to The Baltimore Sun.
“Ms. Skala has had discipline imposed upon her over these past few months,” the orchestra’s president and CEO, Peter Kjome, noted in a statement. “Unfortunately, she has repeated the conduct for which she had been previously disciplined, and dismissal was the necessary and appropriate reaction to this behavior.”
In an interview with the local paper, Skala defended herself and strongly suggested that the BSO had not heard the last from her.
“I’ve only ever wanted to state my truth,” Skala, 59, told the Baltimore Sun. “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.”
The New York Post confirmed Wednesday that Skala had been fired, but a spokeswoman for the orchestra would not provide any further details, “citing internal personal matters.”
In February, the orchestra tweeted that it did not espouse or condone the “words or sentiments” Skala noted on her own social media accounts.
“Ms. Skala does not speak for the BSO, nor do her statements reflect the core values or code of conduct grounded in humanity and respect,” the BSO added.
Ms. Skala does not speak for the BSO, nor do her statements reflect our core values or code of conduct grounded in humanity and respect.⁰https://t.co/AB9dhVfYhe
— Baltimore Symphony (@BaltSymphony) February 13, 2021
The Post noted that Skala has since deleted her Twitter account. But a post on her Facebook page quotes Yuri Bezmenov, a former Soviet journalist who defected from the KGB, the equivalent of the CIA.
“A person who is demoralized can tell nothing from the truth,” she wrote, citing Bezmenov.
Skala went on to speculate that her firing was linked to her decision to shun a mask during a visit last month to Meyerhoff Symphony Hall where she turned in a new W-4 form. While she said she didn’t plan to go inside the building, she nevertheless discovered that her access keycard was deactivated when she tried the door.
She told the Sun that she thinks orchestra officials concluded that was a violation of her suspension, which resulted in blocking her from entering.
“It’s clear I have been a target at the BSO for quite some time,” Skala told the Sun. “From February until now, the BSO has repeatedly violated my constitutional rights in response to audience and donor and subscriber pressure … I would hate for this to happen to anyone else.”
Previously, Skala wrote on her Facebook page she believes COVID-19 was “created in a lab” at the University of North Carolina before the virus was then sold to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, according to the Sun.
The paper said additional posts by Skala had also been flagged as misinformation by the social media behemoth.
Skala also cited theories regarding 2020 election fraud but has denied that she is a “conspiracy theorist” even though she believes that President Joe Biden did not legitimately win last fall.
“To use that word indiscriminately is disrespectful to our critical thinkers and shut down everyone from doing the same,” she told The Post in February. “I’m definitely being unfairly labeled for my views.”
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