On Wednesday, CBS News reported that the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has fired Emily Skala, their principal flutist for more than three decades, after she repeatedly promoted conspiracy theories on social media.
"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," said Peter Kjome, the BSO President. "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."
"Skala had a history of sharing conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and the 2020 election," noted the report. "She'd claimed COVID-19 was made in a lab in North Carolina and sold to a lab in Wuhan, China, where it was then planted in a wet market ... Skala reportedly also made incendiary comments in internal emails. She defended herself in a March letter to The Baltimore Sun, claiming management had created a hostile work environment."
Skala, who admits she went maskless in her workplace when dropping off tax forms, told the Sun that the BSO has "repeatedly violated my constitutional rights in response to audience and donor and subscriber pressure," and "committed many crimes against me."
The world of music is currently facing a reckoning with COVID-19 deniers in their midst, as the Delta variant raises new questions about the safety of large public events. The 90s punk-rock group The Offspring recently announced they are parting ways with their drummer Pete Parada after he declined to be vaccinated.