Why did Carnegie Hall accept a booking from anti-LGBT bigots?

Why did Carnegie Hall accept a booking from anti-LGBT bigots?


norman lebrecht

August 25, 2019

From the US pianist Richard Glazier on the cancelled Carnegie concert:

‘I was asked to play Gershwin last week for the US -Polish organization concert. I was so excited not knowing anything. I spoke to the people in Poland and it was all worked out. Then I found out about this hate organization. I questioned them and got this response (see below).

‘Then an article came out on NBC a couple of days ago… you will see after Gibbons was invited. Paul Bisaccia was invited and then I was invited. Lord only knows how many other people they invited before they got to me.

‘Response from this Polish American Organization…

No, Gala is not sponsored by Gazeta Polska, it is organized and sponsored by several companies.

Gazeta Polska Community of America is a US-based foundation that promotes inclusiveness, engagement of diverse social groups into civic activities, and stands for free speech and open debate. Its mission and primary activities concentrate on supporting Polish-American organizations, promoting Polish heritage and culture in the United States via educational and cultural events, and fostering Polish-American relations.Examples of activities include conferences and educational events in support of Polish-American NATO alliance cooperation, cultural events such as a high-profile concert in New York for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Poland’s regained independence, or anniversaries and remembrance events, for instance a farewell mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York for a state burial of the exhumed Polish national hero, Ignacy Matuszewski.
The foundation represents a broad social movement and is based on the legacy of Gazeta Polska, a Polish publication with traditions dating back to the 19th century that stood for the Polish struggle for freedom during the partition of Poland by hostile neighboring states, Poland’s reemergence during the interwar period, and the fight of its people to free themselves from the communist regime and repression after WW2.

The Foundation is independent and separate from the Gazeta Polska print media and its editorial board. With regard to the recent controversy about stickers referring to the LGBT movement that were attached to one print issue in Poland, the GPCA foundation did not and does not support, take part, or promote that media event. The stickers may be interpreted as discriminatory and we disassociate from such statements. The foundation stands against political censorship and kind, discrimination on the basis of beliefs, nationality or sexual orientation, as well as against totalitarian systems and ideologies, and those principles are written into the Foundation charter.

‘After the article from NBC came out I wrote them and said I delince the invitation after several back and fourth phone calls and emails from Poland.

‘Such great news that Carnegie cancelled the concert. Thank you for reporting.’


The only question that remains unanswered is why Carnegie accepted this organisation’s booking in the first place.



  • 32VA says:

    [[ in support of Polish-American NATO alliance cooperation ]]

    Tells you everything you need to know.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Huh? What is wrong with supporting Polish membership of NATO? After all, the great majority of Poles support the policy.

  • common sense says:

    Typical leftist censorship. Whatever you say or do – they know better what you wanted to say or represent. The very thing they despise: lack of freedom is exactly what they promote. In fact there are groups in Poland who are sponsored by certain institutions in the so-called West to incite unrest and provoke. I can assure you – we are a tolerant nation, there was no and there is no discrimination based on sexual orientation unlike in many western countries. Said stickers attached to one print issue of one of Polish newspapers were an unfortunate and silly incident widely commented and criticised on all sides of political spectrum. Calling Gazeta Polska Community of America bigots is libel. Shame on you Norman!

    • Paul Brownsey says:

      1. “lack of freedom is exactly what they promote” No, because the group in question seems to want to deny freedom to gay people. It is not a violation of freedom, to resist attempts to deny some people freedom.

      2. “there was no and there is no discrimination based on sexual orientation unlike in many western countries.”

      So there’s same-sex marriage in Poland?

      • common sense says:

        1. Gay people are free in Poland. Nobody denies us freedom. LGBT ideology is seen as an intrusion on our culture – yes, to certain extent – simply people have the right to not get indoctrinated by the organised LGBT movement, if the choose so. The stickers were issued after some anti-catholic or anti-religious incidents that had happened during Gay Parades. I consider both actions deplorable.
        2. Marriage is a term reserved for a union between a man and a woman – according to our constitution. There is an open discussion about it but majority of the nation do not want a radical change. We still have democracy and the will of the majority must be respected. However, nobody is prosecuted if they marry in a different country.
        3. And yes, I am gay, too.

        • Bernd says:

          I don’t believe you, not for a second.

        • Paul Brownsey says:

          “LGBT ideology is seen as an intrusion on our culture ”

          That is to say, we don’t like the pewfs and they can damned well put up with it.

          You do not justify anything simply by saying it is part of your culture, because cultures can uphold vile things.

          “Marriage is a term reserved for a union between a man and a woman – according to our constitution. ”

          Then your constitution upholds what is false.

          “3. And yes, I am gay, too.”

          Oh dear. One of those who have bought the oppressors’ story.

          4. “We still have democracy and the will of the majority must be respected.”

          There is too much bowing down to wills of majorities, because majorities can will things that are cruel and oppressive.

          • Saxon Broken says:

            Paul writes: “Marriage is a term reserved for a union between a man and a woman – according to our constitution. ”
            Then your constitution upholds what is false.

            Look, there are different views about marriage. If you view it as two people having sex then it would be very strange to deny marriage to homosexual couples. But many societies have viewed marriage as not about just sexual relations between the partners, but really about taking responsibilities for the couple’s children (historically, many societies annul marriages which are childless).

  • Schwalde Hochküst says:

    “The only question that remains unanswered is why Carnegie accepted this organisation’s booking in the first place.”

    Freedom. Of. Speech.

    • Max Grimm says:

      I’d say try this instead…
      Pecunia. Non. Olet.

    • James says:

      You realize that the First Amendment applies only to GOVERNMENT censorship, yes? Private companies have no requirement to allow for complete freedom of speech. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences from private companies or organizations.

  • Bill says:

    If the check clears, and you don’t give them a reason to look closely and discover something too disturbing, why wouldn’t they accept the booking? That’s how they make money.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      Please define “too disturbing”? There are innumerable ways to make money without resorting to becoming an accomplice.

      As long as Carnegie accepts public funds and private donations from individuals and institutional donors–most of whom expect an ethical as well as numerical accounting–it is culpable.

      • Bill says:

        Simple: “too disturbing” means they decide to cancel your booking because there’s an outcry about you or the people you appear to associate with.

        Carnegie Hall is a performance venue for hire. Renting the hall to outside groups is what they do.

        Putting on a classical music concert at Carnegie Hall to push your views on LGBTQ issues on some unwitting audience members seems like an inefficient way to get the message across to people who might care to agree. Maybe not as inefficient as pro-gun control groups advertising in the National Rifle Association’s newsletter, but close.

  • drummerman says:

    If the American foundation has nothing to do with the print media, then why shouldn’t Carnegie Hall accept the booking? Carnegie Hall can be rented by anyone for a fee.

    • Mark says:

      So they say. But let us not be naive. As I have demonstrated before – these groups are operating under the official endorsement from the political party that is trying to lead Poland towards authoritarianism through breaking laws, using trolling and libel against independent judges and political opponents, and also promoting hatred against certain social groups. I have been right-wing most of my life. My father was member of the Solidarity and took part in anti-communist strikes, but the present assault on basic human rights and values from this part of political spectrum is just shocking. And whether we want it or not – culture is being drawn into this.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Mark: You would be “a liberal” in the traditional (and European) sense rather than how Americans describe being liberal. That is different from “Authoritarian right”.

  • Mark says:

    Please do not believe what is written in that letter. The context of the whole thing is worth explaining to those who are not entirely aware of what is happening in Poland right now.

    Gazeta Polska Community is not just a random organisation. It is a network of organisations functioning in Poland and abroad (amongst Polish immigrants) whose main purpose is to gather support and get voters for the right wing Law & Justice party which is ruling in Poland at the moment. The party’s leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski described that organisation as “the assault troops which are to help us to march towards the victory”. The newspaper itself and the organisations have the official endorsement from the government.

    The party has been in power since 2015 and during that time has been consistently breaking the national and European law, ignoring the constitution and leading the country towards authoritarianism. Culture is actually one of their battlefields where they favour organisations which promote nationalism, right-wing ideologies or are run by people who are connected to the party (it would be interesting to know the full list of the sponsors of that Carnegie Hall event and if public Polish institutions are also involved). They clearly take a page from Mr Putin’s handbook.

    One of their main battles has been focusing on trying to take control of the Polish judicial system. Just to show you the extent of what they do – their deputy justice minister has just resigned (no, no criminal charges are planned to be made and he was not dismissed) when the independent media discovered that the ministry was organising and financing hate and smear campaing against the independent judges who opposed those changes to the judiciary that were to help the party control the courts. These changes were heavily criticised by European courts and international law organisations as unlawful. Private details of the judges, their kids and families were being released to internet haters and bloggers who were also given financial gratification for organising those campaings. One of the judges who were under attack was even the president of the Polish Supreme Court who is one of the last officials at the top who managed to stay independent.

    The Gazeta Polska action with the anti-LGBT stickers (they were actually promoting “LGBT free zones” in Poland which to many Poles are the chilling reminder of WWII era “Nur fuer Deutsche – Only for the Germans” zones in occupied Poland) was not an accident. L&J has won some recent elections with anti-immigrant slogans. For the European election and general election this year their official target for attacks is the LGBT community (NB to the great shock of many liberal Poles who have hoped that the dark memories of 20th-century atrocities and European dictatorships are long gone). Already some dangerous and violent attacks against gay people (or those who just look gay).

    It is great news for Polish artists that those foreign musicians had the courage to decline the invitation. The Polish ones would risk losing job opportunities and government grants for their projects back in Poland for such actions.

    I would strongly encourage people in the US to monitor what happens to this event and organise protests outside the Carnegie Hall if it is given the go-ahead. We need that foreign support now as we did back in 1980s during Lech Walesa’s and Solidarity’s times.

    • common sense says:

      Codswallop. Written by a supporter of the previous thieving government that squandered a pretty sum of 35 bln USD in just 8 years of their “enlightened” rule, while supressing the freedom of speech (the case of weekly magazine “Wprost”: https://www.wirtualnemedia.pl/artykul/dziennikarze-oburzeni-akcja-abw-we-wprost-skandal-barbarzynstwo)

      • Mark says:

        Here are more details about that hate campaign I mentioned: https://euobserver.com/justice/145685: . The ruling party controls in Poland all the tools it needs to prosecute members of the previous government: the government, majority in the parliament, general prosecutor’s office, police, secret service, state media, the constitutional court. And yet there have been no sentences during the last 4 years. Stop trolling please. Let’s not get distracted from the main topic which was about artists who have the courage to protest against an organisation endorsed by the Polish government and connected to a newspaper that promotes hate against members of sexual minorities.

        • Chad says:

          These sexual minorities promote hate towards the catholic majority. The tyranny of minority is as unacceptable as tyranny of majority. In democracy the rights of minority have to respected; but still democracy is a majority’s rule and as long as these minorites are not getting prisoned or killed the majority can do whatever they want. I am an attentive observer of Poland since 2015 and I see the opposition constantly promoting hate towards the legally chosen government. You have to accept that the majority in Poland is right wing, and that majority has chosen right wing party. I would agree with you Mark if there were harsh persecutions of lgbt community by the polish state, but homosexuality in Poland isn’t prohibited by the law like in Saudi Arabia where gays are decapitated for being gay, and still Saudi Arabia is an US ally. Do something about gay rights in Saudi Arabia first Mark!. If you are naming the democratically chosen government authoritarian it makes you authoritaian for not accepting the basic democratic concept which is rule of majority. I hope that agenda of people who are betraying their country by trying to make an international backlash with some made up arguments like you Mark won’t succeed.

          • Paul Brownsey says:

            “These sexual minorities promote hate towards the catholic majority. ”

            In playground terms, which are perfectly appropriate here, your lot started it. There are no ancient gay texts that say that religious people are to be killed. The hate comes from your church. Resistance to its hatred of gay people is not itself hatred.

    • Suzanne says:

      Thank you for providing context. What a nightmare.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mark, what’s wrong with Putin and with a right-wing party?-

      • Mark says:

        Crimea, Eastern Ukraine, Litvinenko, Politkovskaya, Nemtsov… Shall I go on? (https://www.businessinsider.com/list-of-people-putin-is-suspected-of-assassinating-2016-3?r=US&IR=T). And interestingly music plays for Russia a huge role in diverting the world’s attention away from these, so not irrelevant to this forum.

        • I don’t watch the news says:

          Yes, what about Crimea? He prevented a genocide? Without a single person killed?
          Yes, what about Eastern Ukraine? He did absolutely nothing, except claim support to the separatist minority?
          Yes, people were assassinated. How do you know it was him? Suspected does not equal proven.
          You are brainwashed by the media you consume to think Putin is a bad man. That’s what they do to divert you attention away from your own country’s problems. The truth is Putin only has his own country’s best interest in mind, and all his moves can be understood through that viewpoint. Any bad things he may or may not have done, are far outweighed by all the good he brought to his country.

    • Chad says:

      Where did you learn to lie like this Marc? If Gazeta Polska clubs have nothing in common with the sticker action, what is the problem. We leave in a free country; also the innocent title of the play “From Chopin to Gershwin” implies that it was meant to be non-political. Tell me if Gazeta Polska clubs are nazi homophobes as you described them why they had invited two gay pianists to play at the concert?. You think Americans are stupid don’t you? I would strongly encourage you to stop lying to us. I’m monitoring the situation in Poland and under that evil rulling party your country is leading in GDP growth in Europe.

      • Mark says:

        Well, are you sure they knew these pianists were gay? And anyway – show me some evidence for what you write. Of course, there is a chance that not all members of Gazeta Polska clubs in the US are aware of the extent of homophobia and support of far right ideology that comes from the present Polish ruling party supported by the Catholic church and newspapers like Gazeta Polska. But such ignorance is not an excuse. If you want to learn what is really going on (attacks on gay people, light sentencing or refusal to bring to court cases of far right violence and celebration of nationalist and neo-Nazi ideals) then you might want to do some reading: https://balkaninsight.com/2019/07/31/polish-far-right-emboldened/
        And you were really spot on with the neo-Nazi links of this organisation. Here is the evidence of Gazeta Polska Clubs organising events together with Polish far-right movement ONR (National-Radical Camp) also endorsed by the ruling party politicians: http://www.narodowalodz.pl/pabianice-narodowcy-na-festynie-z-okazji-swieta-wojska-polskiego/ (I hope you can read Polish or translate it for yourself)
        And here is the evidence of what their ONR buddies are all about: https://avaazdo.s3.amazonaws.com/53652ceb750b328c16b1c6ea8410b5ac.jpg. Wishing you good and enlightening reading!

        • Chad says:

          I don’t need your enligtened reading. Contrary to your beliefs of foolish Americans I know where Poland is located and what is going on there. My polish friend has told me (I also did my own research on it) that these fascist groups are pro-russian oriented; and the chief of Gazeta Polska mr Sakiewicz many times had called them russian agents or russian trolls. Your story of nazi Poland is plain as a pikestaff Mark. The world isn’t black and white, and while I strongly condemn the descriminating sticker I also condemn lgbt hate towards catholics in Poland. Wishing you to learn what is democracy and then whine about your country in public

  • AngloGerman says:

    Because nobody cares. People should be allowed to display and argue for their beliefs in public, regardless of their motive or agenda.

    • Paul Brownsey says:

      No matter that their beliefs involve trashing other human beings?

      • Chad says:

        It’s just a sticker, horrible sticker but still a sticker. Gazeta Polska haven’t killed or threatened any gay people as I know. You can’t discriminate other human beings for their beliefs. Why people should be obliged to like the lgbt? As long as someone’s beliefs are not turning into violence or oppression I’m perfectly fine with it. It’s a basic freedom of speech. Not everyone is gay Paul tolerate that. I think the true story is more complicated than many people think – it was a horrible reaction for horrible lgbt action in Poland, including selling virgin Mary’s statues as vagina

        • Paul Brownsey says:

          “Not everyone is gay Paul tolerate that. ”

          What a ridiculous thing to say.

          Why do you do the ridiculous thing of attributing to me the view that everyone is gay?

          “As long as someone’s beliefs are not turning into violence or oppression I’m perfectly fine with it.”

          You can hardly be said to *believe* that gay is bad without trying to turn it into “violence and oppression”.

          Thus the Roman Catholic Church, believing that gay people are intrinsically disordered towards objective evil, does not put brackets around its belief and not try to get it acted upon.

  • Bone says:


  • Marc says:

    Pft. Not everyone in the world need do obeisance to the LGBxyz etc establishment in the US, and not everyone who disagrees e.g. with the legal fiction of so-called same-sex ‘marriage’ is a bigot, no matter how many times that is shouted in the media. By all means let’s make sure that no one anywhere ever disagrees with the reigning political shibboleths. Pft.

    • Bill says:

      Everything bookended by “pft” in your comment can be well-summed up by “pft” — good choice of words.

      • Marc says:

        I thought so, yes. 🙂 But am not going to discuss the broader ideologica, political, and cultural issues on this page.

        • 32VA says:

          [[ But am not going to discuss the broader ideologica, political, and cultural issues on this page ]]

          Because you are stilll waiting for your cut/paste Talking Points from High Command. This used to be a blog about Classical Music until you and your comrades-in-arms appeared.

    • Paul Brownsey says:

      If you think it is a “legal fiction”, then you ARE a bigot.

  • Practice, practice, practice says:

    Carnegie Hall Corporation is a private, not public, entity. As part of the “Consumer Discretionary” sector, they can accept or reject bookings from whoever they like.

    It’s likely that whoever at CHC accepted the booking was unaware of Gazeta Polska’s true background and intentions. Once it was discovered, CHC cancelled the booking, which is within their rights.

  • Amina says:

    If you are going to use government oppression as your excuse to cancel musicians from performing, then Lang Lang should theoretically be banned from performing there as well, since China doesn’t allow gay rights at all.

    • Practice, practice, practice says:

      Gazeta Polska is not a person, but rather an organization. Lang Lang is a person. Apples and oranges comparison.

      Carnegie Hall Corporation is a private organization. You can whinge about it all you like, the CHC is allowed to book whatever renter it deems fit.

      To put it into terms even the most trenchant right-winger can understand: If you’re on the sidewalk, you can spout whatever bigoted nonsense you choose. But if you’re in my house, I have every right to kick you out.

    • Sharon says:

      Although there is plenty of political repression in China (for ex. I was unable to access certain political websites there) at the moment there are gay rights, at least in the major cities.

      The issue is not just that law and justice is anti gay but they are moving towards authoritarianism and are using gays as a scapegoat to unite people towards the party and drum up populist support for this authoritarianism.

      Just as it is easy to get people to resent immigrants i.e. “They are getting all the jobs and that is why I am unemployed or employed at a low wage” it is easy to resent gays. That is, men “Women get pregnant, they want money spent on them and they demand commitment. I pay dear for sex and the gays get it for free.”

  • Dennis says:

    So unless all artists and organizations join the Leftist LGBLT ++Qblahblah cult, they are denounced as bigots? Got it, bigot.

  • Sharon says:

    (continued) It is easy for a political party to exploit this type of resentment and then try to manipulate people for their own ends.
    Incidentally, this is nothing new. The father of a friend of mine worked at ABC radio in New York City soon after WWII. Carnegie Hall had recently cancelled some German artists because people protested Germans coming to perform in the country. The father wrote a letter to several newspapers as an individual saying that this was wrong; the arts should not be affected by politics, and he was fired.
    The guy who was the executive director of the Met Opera from the 1950s to the early seventies, an Austrian who fled to England just before WWII (his name escapes me at the moment) also wrote in his memoirs that in the 1950s he was unable to hire singers who had a German connection, even if it was just a spouse.

    I personally believe that anyone who is interested in political change should begin with the end in mind. There is a huge difference between being a witness and making a difference. Will cancelling this concert help the situation in Poland? Hell no. It will just create more propaganda for Law and Justice and Gazeta in the United States which will say that the world, controlled in part by the powerful gay lobby, is against them but nevertheless they will hunker down to defend their traditional cultural values.

    In other words, rather than do anything to help gay rights in Poland or effectively fight an authoritarian government cancelling this concert will backfire and possibly make things worse.

  • Karl says:

    At some point could US orchestras be denied bookings in certain countries because we allow abortion? Or as other countries see it – baby murder?