Major US orchestra rebukes principal flautist over conspiracy theory posts about coronavirus

17 February 2021, 13:06 | Updated: 17 February 2021, 20:45

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra rebukes flautist’s remarks on coronavirus vaccines and US election fraud
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra rebukes flautist’s remarks on coronavirus and US election fraud. Picture: Getty

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has distanced itself from its principal flautist’s controversial statements on coronavirus vaccines and the recent US election results.

A major US orchestra has said its principal flautist’s remarks on social media, which question the safety of coronavirus vaccines and the results of the recent US presidential election, “do not reflect our core values”.

Principal flautist Emily Skala wrote in a Facebook post that coronavirus was “created in a lab at UNC – yes, in North Carolina – and sold to a lab in Wuhan, China and then planted in the marketplace 300 yards away.”

She has also retweeted posts questioning the safety of the coronavirus vaccine and the legitimacy of the US presidential election results, alongside retweets of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s posts.

The orchestra stated that it does not condone or support her comments. “The Baltimore Symphony would like to acknowledge attentions raised to the personal social media accounts of Principal Flutist Emily Skala,” the organisation said in a Facebook post.

“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,” the orchestra added.

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The Music Center at Strathmore in Maryland, home state of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
The Music Center at Strathmore in Maryland, home state of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Picture: Getty

Skala told The Baltimore Sun she did not intend to cause any anger with her posts.

“My posts are anti-narrative, anti-mainstream media and it’s causing cognitive dissonance. That’s what makes people angry,” she said.

BSO President and CEO Peter Kjome added that the orchestra would not comment on any potential disciplinary action because it would a personnel matter.

“While we do not comment on internal personnel matters, we also do not condone nor support the words or sentiments expressed in these posts,” the orchestra said in its statement.