US principal trombone is fired over riot racism

US principal trombone is fired over riot racism


norman lebrecht

June 01, 2020

The Austin Symphony Orchestra has dismissed Brenda Sansig Salas, its principal trombone, over remarks she made on social media in connection with the US urban riots. We understand she has also been dismissed by Austin Opera.

This was one of her blasts online:


Austin Symphony Orchestra tweeted soon after: We have been made aware that a musician of the Austin Symphony Orchestra has made an offensive post on their social media account regarding the protests across our country. This language is not reflective of who we are as an organization. The ASO is committed to being an inclusive organization as well as provide a safe space for all. We will follow up on the situation and take appropriate action.

Its executive director Anthony Corroa added: ‘We would like to thank the community and let you know that your voice was heard. As previously stated, we were made aware of offensive posts that were shared on social media by one of our musicians late last night. Once alerted, we were appalled by the comments as they are clearly not reflective of who we are as an organization. We began to work quickly and closely with the American Federation of Musicians, our Orchestra Committee, staff and other key members.

‘At this time we can state that the musician is no longer employed by the ASO for there is no place for hate within our organization. Thank you for your patience while we navigated through the necessary channels.’

UPDATE Brenda Sansig Salas joined the Austin Symphony in 2005 as second trombone, earning promotion to principal two years later. This was her picture on the orchestra’s website. It was taken down in the past few hours.


  • American says:

    This is us, finally seeing our dark side.

  • Bill says:

    Before the usual suspects decide to chime in: The first amendment protects your right to free speech and protects you from prosecution by the government for that speech: hence this woman will not be prosecuted by any authority, left or right.

    It does not protect you from any subsequent actions or reactions of your speech from your employer, restaurants, bakeries, future employers, friends, family or society.

    In other words: being a racist has its consequences, but at least you won’t go to prison.

    • Patrick says:

      And I imagine any career in orchestral performance or academia is gone, too. Unless, there’s an opening in the KKK Philharmonic or at David Duke University.

    • William says:

      Sigh. People are so sure of what they do not know. You are uninformed on unemployment law. What is considered “racist” is actually a subjective term. What the lawyers will show is the double standards of what the liberal activists post and the fact that the management turns a blind eye to some of the most hateful speech imaginable directed at fellow colleagues who disagree with them and calling for and wishing for the death of the President. No, the ASO does not have a clause in their collective bargaining agreement allowing them to terminate a player for what they do or say in their private lives. They will probably be sued and lose BIG.

      • Shira says:

        I have known Brenda for many years along with performing with her over the yrs on a regular basis. I have never known her to be racist. Her ex husband is jewish and her current husband is hispanic, so I am not convinced she is racist. Yes her political views don’t line up with the herd mentality we see in the arts world, but I personally find it ridiculous the assertion that she is racist against anyone.

        • Peter says:

          “Hey, I know it LOOKS like she just let fly with a racist rant targeting black people, but it can’t possibly be racist because (1) she’s married to a Hispanic person and (2) I’m friends with her.”

        • Justin says:

          I mean, sure. “In your black minds” is totally something a non-racist would say.

        • Marcus Jones says:

          Words speak volumes, my dear..

        • USA Music Prof says:

          Irrespective of you not having witnessed her racism in the past, you (along with the entire world) has now seen. However, not everyone is dumb enough to post their racist thoughts on social media. Good riddance, there are hundreds of trombonists who will perform as well, if not better, than her.

        • Natty says:

          So, Shira, how many years has it been since you flunked Reading Comprehension 101?

        • SF says:

          Please re-read the facebook post featured above, if you are in any way unsure that she is racist. Specifically, she is quite clearly anti-Black – this means she is racist. Do not excuse her actions; just because someone has never shown their true colors to you personally, does not mean they do not exist.

        • Tracy Miller says:

          But you have to admit what she tweeted sounds pretty racist: “…in your black minds”, etc. And ranting about Obama being 1/2 black, as if that were some bad thing.

        • KnowsHerToo says:

          I’ve known her for years and years too. There are some fond memories and a lot of shaking my head. Shira, have you seen the entirety of her comments: “the blacks,” “in your black minds,” fixating on the words “1/2 black president” in three different sentences; that anybody who voted for the “1/2 black president” did it on “racist principles,” and the worst of all, “The BLACKS are looting and destroying their environment. They deserve what they get.” Their environment?! She’s equating suffering human with animals. And the fact that she is selectively racist (married a Jewish person and then a Latino) doesn’t make her any less racist toward black people. The screenshots are easy enough to find. Here’s one place:

      • Marcus says:

        Really? Most orchestra employment agreements I’ve seen have a Protection of Reputation clause.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Bravo. You are calling out the hypocrisy of the Left. One law for them and another for everybody else.

        The dimwits of the Left won’t be able to see that their actual enabling of the culture of victimhood has sent violent criminals onto the streets and completely discredited the USA in the eyes of the world. If you keep telling people they’re victims they sure will be guaranteed to behave like that. If, on the other hand, you’re more intelligent and read the books of Thomas Sowell you’ll see that equality is impossible because people all perform differently and have different life outcomes.

        Social engineering = violence and mayhem.

        Smart, huh!!

        • JB says:

          I don’t think you are very enlightened about what makes USA look bad in the eyes of the world. Pussy grabbing is not a good look.

        • V.Lind says:

          God, are people still reading Sowell?

        • Bill says:


          I’ll give this woman one bit of credit above you: at least she wasn’t a coward and had the conviction to speak her mind on a public forum, however abhorrent, instead of posting anonymously as a troll using twisted rationale, to justify the same views without simply stating it, consequences be dammed.

        • Not amused says:

          I am certainly not looking to Sue Sonata Form – a repetitive form without development as stated in earlier posts – to define „more intelligent“.

          The concept of “enabling of the culture of victimhood” is intriguing – the white police officer who asphyxiated a black man for paying with a forged 20 dollar bill certainly helped things along.

        • Greg Bottini says:

          Dear Sue,
          I know you’re an intelligent woman; I’ve read your comments whenever you’ve offered them.
          I wish and hope you can let go of your bitterness. It’s hurting you, personally, more than you may realize.
          Things happening in the USA right now have gone way beyond “left” and “right” or “black” and “white”.
          Forget politics for a while – it’s now a matter of: can we come together as HUMAN BEINGS, people who have wives, husbands, kids, families – will we be all able to come together and HELP each other, despite our political views, and survive the 21st century?
          Remember the Golden Rule. Just because other people may have forgotten it doesn’t mean you have to.

        • MDR says:

          Oh no, Sue is back.

      • Pat says:

        I really hope you are right about her prevailing in a court fight against the ASO and ballet. Brenda didn’t post as an employee, she posted as a private citizen on her own time.
        Regardless of how I feel about her comments, I agree with Voltaire, “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”
        If Americans are unable to express a different viewpoint than what the majority holds, we enter into a totalitarian state.

    • US Citizen says:

      The First Amendment prohibits the US government from abridging or prohibiting speech (with exceptions). A private organization has no obligation to continue to employ a person whose public behavior is at odds with, or reflects poorly on, the organization’s mission and voice.

  • Greg says:

    Social justice cancel culture strikes again. Her comments are loathsome but they are still protected speech. These comments were made on her time, on her personal account, and she never invokes the name of the orchestra. Unless the Austin Symphony contracts include an “I can’t voice my opinion” clause this is another example of woke overreach.

    • annnon says:

      You are obviously unemployed.

      If you work for a company, I dare you post your “protected speech” comments on your “personal account” while never “invoking the name” of your employer.

      Let’s see how fast you get fired.

      Good luck in court, or even finding a lawyer.

    • Bone says:

      Welcome to Nu-Perfect America!

    • Mr. Knowitall says:

      Not so protected as you think. As Bill wrote in the post above, the 1st Amendment refers to protection from government control of speech. The Austin Symphony is an independent non-profit.

      Message from ASO Executive Director, Anthony Corroa “We would like to thank the community and let you know that your voice was heard. As previously stated, we were made aware of offensive posts that were shared on social media by one of our musicians late last night. Once alerted, we were appalled by the comments as they are clearly not reflective of who we are as an organization. We began to work quickly and closely with the American Federation of Musicians, our Orchestra Committee, staff and other key members.At this time we can state that the musician is no
      longer employed by the ASO for there is no place for hate within our organization. Thank you for your patience while we navigated through the necessary channels.”

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        I would vote with my feet for any organization preventing an employee discussing social issues. I won’t have a bar of the Berlin Philharmonic because of its doctrinaire political correctness. They can pay for that themselves.

        • G says:

          So Sue – you just said you support artists who don’t speak out on issues – I would hope then that you avoid the works of following composers and artists who made significant public political statements in their lives: JS Bach, Haydn, Handel, Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Mahler, Shostakovich, Rostropovich, Bernstein…. actually if you’re going to go along with that sort of boycott I’m not sure who you’d be left with. Maybe … Delius? … Ah well, don’t worry, keep listening to them all. But then wait a tic, isn’t it you who is always banging on about hypocrisy?

          • Petros Linardos says:

            Add Arturo Toscanini, Pablo Casals and Erich Kleiber to your list.

          • G says:

            Ooh but she can listen to Carlos Kleiber – he never gave any interviews or made any political statements publicly! .. she just won’t be able to listen to any of the composers he conducted.

    • V.Lind says:

      Rubbish. There is nothing “woke” about being absolutely disgusted by her comments, and I have read what was probably a very watered-down version of them (I can’t make anything out of the illustration n the blog post here). No organisation is required to employ anyone so repulsive — her dismissal was with cause.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        And you’ve got the jackboots and truncheon to prove it. Off to the gulag for anybody not agreeing with the Left. And you’re silly enough to wonder why you got Trump!! Astonishing.

    • American says:

      Greg, this is not an example of woke overreach or social justice cancel culture. The U.S. has lost its identity. We thought we stood for equality, freedom and justice. However, we have a racist president. George Floyd’s tragic murder is clear evidence of systemic racism within law enforcement. Brenda Sansig Salas is just one example of many who feel comfortable, even confident, broadcasting racist views.

      Our country is in the midst of a violent reckoning with our values. Racism exists. We have to confront that whenever and wherever we have the power to do so. We must initiate a dialogue with people who hold those views. We must also be able to recognize racism within ourselves.

      This woman may not have killed anyone, but her words give voice to the hatred in the heart of the officer who murdered George Floyd. I found myself astounded and horrified by the other officers who stood by and watched like it was the most normal thing in the world.That is not who we want to be. Austin Symphony was right to fire her. Their gesture already moves us in the direction of change.

      • Greg says:

        American, I agree with much of what you say, though I have yet to see any proof that the president is racist, as you claim. I happen to believe that the former president was far more divisive and there was widespread rioting during his term in office, too.

        I, for one (perhaps the only one), fail to see how any good is served if the terms “racist” and “racism” are automatically used anytime there is any sort of conflict between people of different races. I can hold a different view than someone of another race without disparaging that person’s race. I, for one (perhaps the only one), also fail to see why using the word “thug” is de facto racism. There are LOTS of thugs looting our cities and they seem to represent a number of different races.

        I am not naive enough to say racism does not exist. It does and likely (sadly) always will. I am not naive enough to think I will ever be able to fully understand how black Americans feel in our society. I have discussed these issues with black friends and associates as recently as this morning. And while that may give me some degree of knowledge, I can never fully have the empathy brought about only through living their experience.

        The circumstances that have led us to where we are today are tragic by any metric. The act of the Minneapolis cop was absolutely reprehensible. That said, I can’t bring myself to the knee jerk conclusion that it was racism just because Mr. Floyd was black. Just as his death was tragic, so is the degree of violent response, which will not serve any good whatsoever toward healing or understanding. Peaceful protest with some sort of dialogue will go a lot further than violence, arson, theft, and assault. Once the response becomes felonious and cities are burning all bets are off and the cause has been set back irreparably.

        • MacroV says:

          The former president was divisive largely because he was smart and black, and came across as the least-aggrieved black man in America. Which drives a lot of racist people nuts.

          The current president is divisive because he regularly appeals to and encourages the worst instincts in people, especially his devoted followers.

        • V.Lind says:

          What tends to drive people to the conclusion that this cop was racist was the fact that there is a continuing pattern of aggressive to violent behaviour by American police forces against unarmed black men.

          “Black Lives Matter” was not created out of thin air. It was formed as a response to what looks like a systemic approach to “law and order” that suggested that they did not.

          The labelling word I am disgusted with today is not “racist” or “thug.” It is “terrorist. Your sainted president — who has given sign after sign that he IS a racist — has confused a protest group (Antifa) that may well have gone off the rails in its current expression of sympathetic anger with the likes of the 9/11 murderers.

          I think a lot of the current protests, while I understand the anger that has prompted them, are very misguided and are doing more harm than good. But I am not stupid enough, nor ideologically driven enough, to see terrorism in them. In the end, nothing they are doing is worse than kneeling on the neck of a man crying that he cannot breathe for eight minutes without a moment of sympathy.

          What has happened to America that it can accept this man as its leader? Where he leads, surely decent people cannot follow. And he is not leading to anywhere that is likely to improve policing on his country’s streets — not, anyway, if you are black.

          • Greg says:

            “What tends to drive people to the conclusion that this cop was racist was the fact that there is a continuing pattern of aggressive to violent behaviour by American police forces against unarmed black men.”

            This is exactly the unfounded generalization fomented by leftist media. That isn’t to say it never happens, but a bit of research quickly yields that there are far more incidences of aggressive and violent behavior directed at white suspects, including shooting and death. Since it doesn’t fit the leftist narrative it does not get reported. I believe it was a study by Princeton University (hardly a right wing enclave) that released the study.

            “Your sainted president — who has given sign after sign that he IS a racist…” Again, an unfounded assertion that has still not been substantiated by any of the accusers in this thread. I’m open to verifiable proof. Trump’s economy, prior to the pandemic, resulted in the highest percentage of employment ever recorded for US minority populations. Perhaps he is considered racist because he doesn’t pander to the black community, or because he doesn’t break into affected speech, accents, or phrases typically associated with the black community when speaking to them (as Obama routinely did). There’s no doubt his speaking style is unpolished and he can be unabashedly rude. That does not, however, make him a racist.

            Don’t be fooled. The left has done (and continues to do) its level best to put Trump in untenable positions. This has been going since he won the nomination and has escalated steadily as the election approaches. So far nothing has stuck and I’m sure the worst is still to come. It’s only June.

          • American says:

            Greg, Trump has a long history of being a racist. It’s not difficult to substantiate that assertion.

            In 1973, the U.S. Department of Justice (under Nixon) sued Trump Management Corporation after federal officials found evidence he refused to rent to black tenants and lied to black applicants about whether apartments were available.

            He spent $85,000 to place a full page ad in four newspapers calling for New York to adopt the death penalty after the Central Park 5 were wrongfully convicted of raping a white woman. DNA evidence and a confession from the true perpetrator led to their exoneration and release in 2002. Yet Trump still doesn’t accept their innocence or think he owes them an apology for publicly calling for their executions, saying, “You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt.” (After their arrests, the five teenagers were violently interrogated and deprived of food and sleep, and they ultimately offered a coerced confession.)

            He came to political prominence denying that our first African American president was born in the United States. He announced his presidential campaign by calling Mexicans rapists and murderers.

            During the violent clashes in Charlottesville in 2017, he said there were fine people on both sides, thereby equating the actions of white nationalists with those of the counter-protesters.

            While meeting with senators about immigration policies in 2018, he said, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” He was referring to people from Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries. He then suggested that the U.S. should instead bring more people from countries such as Norway. He doesn’t deny any of this.

            His attack on four congresswomen of color, falsely implying they weren’t natural-born American citizens, was widely condemned as racist. I can’t even go into the inhumanity of putting kids in cages.

            Trump condemns Antifa as a terrorist group but encourages armed, confederate flag-waving MAGA protesters. I could go on, but any of these examples should be enough. There’s a clear pattern. If you still think Trump is not a racist, can you at least admit that he does and says things that embolden racists?

            Trump is not just unpolished and rude: he’s a textbook narcissist and a sociopath. I don’t believe he’s capable of change. But we, as a society, must.

          • Sue Sonata Form says:

            Yes, it’s absolutely egregious what the American extreme Left has done and continues to do. The first was to fail to recognize the election of Donald Trump. He’s not my President and I don’t care about him but I do care about DEMOCRACY – something the Left could learn, if it’s even capable.

          • Benevolent says:

            Finally! It’s heartening to see there are still some independent thinkers in the arts community. The left’s control of virtually every media narrative has sadly suppressed data such as the fact that unarmed whites are more often killed by police than is any other race. Our click-driven media cares nothing about the thousands of positive interactions between police and civilians every day, but they sure tune in when something bad happens.

            What about the fact that 94% of African-American gun deaths are at the hands of a fellow African-American? Do those lives matter?

            What about the police (several were African-American themselves) who have been assassinated by gangs in our cities over the past week/year/decade? Do those lives matter?

            What about the vast majority of police actions that result in harm/death to a civilian are the result of self-defense, meaning that the officer strikes out of fear for his/her own life?

            George Floyd’s death appears to have been a preventable tragedy and I trust our legal system to come to the right conclusion about the officers involved. Unfortunately, I think the divide between the left and right in this country is so enormous now that there is nothing that can be done to close it. The left is unable to listen to reason or use data to help them form opinions/policy, and sadly there are some on the right with this problem too. God help us all.

          • Sue Sonata Form says:

            If ‘black lives matter’ how come black Americans don’t behave as though they do?

          • American says:

            Sue, you don’t understand this issue at all. You don’t understand that you have benefitted greatly from being white. You don’t understand that choosing to come to the U.S. as an immigrant is different than being forcibly brought as a slave. You don’t understand that people of color have been disenfranchised and mistreated for generations. You don’t understand that when someone has been repeatedly harassed and abused, there will be serious deleterious effects on their psyche and behavior.

            Did you not hear George Floyd’s brother pleading for peace? Are you aware that alt-right groups are using peaceful protests to further their aims? The destruction and looting is terrible. But the vast majority of people protesting are not part of that.

            Ask your sister, the psychologist: Is it fair to neglect and beat a child and then get angry that they act out? Is it reasonable to expect people who have been treated horribly for hundreds of years to protest in such a way that everyone remain comfortable?

            Black people do not have a victim mentality. Believe it or not, there are actual victims in this world. I’m shocked that you don’t see innocent people being killed by police as victims.

            You say “the Left” is stunningly stupid. Lots of people on “the Right” are horrified that Republicans are now defined as the party of racists and death.

            You’re keen on recommending books that have shaped your worldview. Would you consider reading something by Ta Nehisi-Coates? Try opening yourself up to compassion.

        • SNS says:

          If you are the “(perhaps the only one)”, that should speak VOLUMES to you about yourself.

          • Sue Sonata Form says:

            Joan of Arc

            Yes, those lonely people – it speaks volumes about them.

          • Music Lover says:

            Sue Sonata form, I don’t know you but I can easily guess you are a White Woman with a racist mind, because you have consistently been posting degrading comments on the musicians of color on this blog many times. It is sad that there are still many like-minded people (like you and the trombone girl) in this classical music world.
            It continuosly makes our society sick with racism. I sincerely hope that you become aware that your racist thoughts are dangerous and your mind gets transformed.

        • Couperin says:

          “That said, I can’t bring myself to the knee jerk conclusion that it was racism just because Mr. Floyd was black.”

          Knee jerk huh? We see what you did there. Actually, I think you’re the jerk.

          • Greg says:

            Unfortunate choice of words, but totally unintended and unnoticed until you mentioned it. My apologies.

        • School says:

          Thank you, Greg, for lucidity and philosophical approach to the situation. You are not the only one but you are the one who has said it very well.

        • Mr. Knowitall says:

          Greg, could you remind me of the widespread rioting during Obama’s terms? I don’t remember these riots.

          • Greg says:

            Oakland (a repeated hot spot of violence and destruction during the Obama years), Anaheim, Brooklyn, Ferguson and other US cities (both when the original death occurred and when the non-conviction verdict was announced), Baltimore, and St. Louis to name a few.

          • Mr. Knowitall says:

            I see. By “widespread” I assumed you meant countrywide. So, right, by your definition every president has had widespread rioting during his term. Nothing to see here folks.

        • Croyal says:

          It’s called “racist” when a person makes generalizing statements (both positive and negative) about other Minority cultural groups.

          Not sure what your “racist test” would be to show proof of the president’s racism. His history as a NY real estate landloard where he was sued twice by the Justice Department for discrimination against black applicants for housing; as a figure in NYC he took out ads to have black suspects given the death penalty and refused to apologize even when they were acquitted; he started his presidential campaign with racially insulting remarks about Mexicans ; and many of his statements and policies as president have negative aspersions on, or Negatively affected minorities, etc. etc. etc.

          Still not sure the racism test or proof you need other than his words and well documented actions.

          If it all seems okay to you, then maybe you see the world as he does.

      • Alan says:

        How is the President racist? Facts please.
        How many black people were killed by the Police under Obama?

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        The world is appalled by the murder of George Floyd and other such incidences, be they black or white.

        BUT your country does not have systemic racism; you’ll never know this because all you do is follow the ideologies of the zombie media. If you were to read one of the books by Dr. Thomas Sowell – himself from an impoverished AA background – you would see that there are hundreds of other races living in the USA, succeeding in business and their lives and who never vandalize the streets under some spurious cause. The Jews – that hideously discriminated against minority – have succeeded spectacularly in the USA. Nuts to your stupid claims of racism.

      • Phil says:

        “Racist president” my ass!! We have a president finally sticking to the US Constitution. Look no further than precious dear leader comrade obamao for racism.

    • Bill says:

      In fact, most work contracts contain clauses that allow the employer to fire for actions committed outside of the job that bring shame or disrepute on the employer.

      If she didn’t like those terms, she can always work for the KKK philharmonic.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Or the Gulag Philharmonic, where everybody who ever expressed an opinion contrary to the bien pensant have been sent to languish. Their best composition to date was written in A Salt Miner.

    • MacroV says:

      It probably doesn’t, but it may have something about causing reputational harm to the organization by her continued employment.

    • Ainslie says:

      You (and a lot of other people) need some remedial civics.

      This is the First Amendment to the Constitution:

      “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

      We do NOT have the right of free speech. The First Amendment only protects us from the government prohibiting or retaliating against speech. A private employer has no such restriction.

    • Jennifer says:

      Greg, you are incorrect. Well, it is protected speech from being tried, convicted and thrown in the slammer… but not protected from her employment being terminated!

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      You clearly understand the full nature of the authoritarian Left; modelled, of course, on their relatives from the USSR – which was all meant to be a ‘social improvement’ in 1917. The ignorance is STAGGERING.

    • kdc says:

      Read the comment above yours by @US Citizen to understand why they can, in fact, fire her. You think she should go unpunished? Give some examples of how she can atone for her clearly offensive and racist comments.

  • Jimmy says:

    Unfortunately there are even worse comments than the ones linked here. As a poster already said, this is not a free speech issue. The first amendment protects you from the government, but not from consequences from private institutions. Good for the Austin Symphony

  • mary says:

    Helloooo, anyone home?????

    Prolonged confinement must have rotted her brain.

    She justly paid for her stupidity, not only for her comments, not only for posting them, but for providing irrefutable proof, so that even if she got a favorable arbitrator like the one that got those 2 NY Philharmonic bozos off, she’d still be fired.

    What a loser.

  • Esther Cavett says:

    ==Her offensive language was flagged to her employers, the Austin Symphony Orchestra,

    Nasty woman. If she really feels she has to post those awful, shameful thoughts – the most stupid thing is that she uses her own name. “Brenda Sansig Salas” isn’t the most common of names and it’s a moment’s effort to track her down.

    • Araragi says:

      I find it ironic that you used a term made famous by President Trump (“nasty woman”) to describe Sansig Salas. Also, this post sounds personally threatening to Sansig Salas. I’m not sure how it made it past the moderators but it should be removed.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      “Awful, shameful”. The schtick of the Left; nothing if not self-righteous and dictatorial.

      • V.Lind says:

        You describe her comments, then. What do you actually think of her turns of phrase and her published views?

  • Tiredofitall says:

    Her comments actually make me feel dirty. Protected speech, of course; social protection, none.

  • Dimsky says:

    Most if not all U.S. Collective Bargaining Agreements have a provision that a Musician can be dismissed for “Just Cause.” I suspect that that is the legal authority under which the employer acted. The provision generally carries with it a procedure under which the employee can appeal; if the employee does appeal, the burden of proof must be met by the employer that the standards of just cause have been met. It can get complicated.

    • Bill Gross says:

      Just so. Organizations can make poorly thought out decision in the heat of the moment. Time will tell.

      • V.Lind says:

        What’s poorly thought out about removing an employee who holds — and publishes — views reprehensible to the acceptable norms of a decent society?

        • Araragi says:

          Slavery and Jim Crow were once the “acceptable norms.” I would rather live in a society where people are free to express views outside acceptable norms without fear of reprisal from their employer.

        • Dimsky says:

          V. Lind, I agree with you that Ms. Salas’s remarks are reprehensible. What I was speaking to was the employer’s legal RIGHT to terminate based on those remarks. Though it is speculation on my part, the fact that conversations took place between the employer, Orchestra Committee and union tells me that she is likely protected from arbitrary or capricious firing under the “just cause” provision in a CBA and that in the judgement of the employer her conduct rose to the necessary level to warrant discharge.

          If she doesn’t appeal, end of story I would think as far as her employment in Austin is concerned. If she does, like I said, it can get complicated and could potentially involve an arbitration of some sort or even the courts if it strings out as far as it can. She may argue, for example, that her remarks in no way reflected on the employer (there was no mention of the Austin Symphony in the above screen shot). On the other hand perhaps her biography on the social media site openly made mention of her employer. All of this would have to be weighed in whatever forum her appeal takes place. Democracy is filled with all kinds of twists and turns.

        • Sue Sonata Form says:

          “The acceptable norms of decent society”. Oh, this IS priceless. Who’s decided? You? Are we seeing these ‘acceptable norms’ playing out on the streets right now?

          Your comment has more than the faint whiff of Chinese communism. You’d like it there; really you would.

          • V.Lind says:

            As someone who lived in, and loved deeply, Hong Kong, I can assure you I would not. We are two days away from an anniversary I mark every year, in memory of those awful days, when I spent hours of every day and evening out on the street with thousands upon thousands of Hong Kongers in protest over what was happening up in Beijing.

            So button your rote set of rightwing lunacies. You know not whereof you speak.

      • Bruce says:

        Bill Gross,

        If you’ll take a look at the earlier post by “Mr. Knowitall” which includes a statement from the Austin Symphony, which reads in part

        “Once alerted, we were appalled by the comments as they are clearly not reflective of who we are as an organization. We began to work quickly and closely with the American Federation of Musicians, our Orchestra Committee, staff and other key members.”

        …then you might (might) revise your opinion that this was a poorly thought out decision. (Quickly, yes; poorly, not necessarily.) Part of the AFM’s job is to protect musicians against unjust termination; ditto the Orchestra Committee. Lawyers are ubiquitous on symphony boards, and you can be approximately 100% sure that the Austin Symphony management sought legal advice before taking this step. As much as some of their detractors on this site might be interested in seeing them get sued, I think it’s pretty safe to say that the Austin Symphony is even more interested in not getting sued.

        (Not to say that the decision can’t be challenged, maybe successfully, in court; but they almost certainly didn’t jump into it without thinking.)

  • Doug says:

    Free speech is dead. Liberal democracy is dead. Report to Gulag express train for re-education camp, comrade.

    • Max Raimi says:

      Nobody is stopping her from saying whatever she wants. But if you damage your employer, as these comments clearly do, then your employer is irresponsible not to take action to limit the damage. Doug, maybe you should talk to survivors of the Gulag, so you could enlighten them as to what real suffering actually looks like.

      • Nick says:

        Her comments do NOT damage the employer. It is only HER comments, and while, most people might disagree with them, she has a right to sound them.

        • Stuart says:

          Of course they do…your view is pretty naive. Imagine if you ran a small business and she was one of your employees, stupidly tweeting. The impact on your business would be direct.

        • Minnesota says:

          She is not going to jail for this, Nick. That is the extent of her “right.” She does not have the right to a lifetime job, and the symphony management is the one to decide if her extracurricular life was damaging to the symphony. They did, and she is out.

          There are now many Americans in various fields who lost their jobs because of their stupidity on social media. Happens all of the time. The reason is that their “comments” on social media are not “only her comments” but rather a public event, like an advertisement. Many people seem not to understand this, even after many years of electronic social media. I am not shedding any tears for her.

          • Bravo says:

            When colleges deny students admission based on poor social media choices (or worse, illicit activities depicted there) no one bats an eye.

            When a woman loses her NASA internship over Twitter profanity to an ex-employee, no one bats an eye.

            When a woman loses her job for blatant racist comments on Facebook, everyone loses their minds.

            Surprise, people don’t like racism or racist comments. This woman needs to learn to read the room — now was the time people would be MORE accepting of her comments on Facebook, out and open in the public?

            Bravo to management for going through the Committee and Union and STILL dealing with this swiftly. It’s good to be above board.

        • Music Lover says:

          It obviously damages her employer, even more so if it is a performing organization. I wouldn’t want to pay to watch an orchestra concert, knowing this racist woman is a part of the group making music, it doesn’t matter how beautiful they play, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy listening and watching her play.

        • Bill says:

          I’m sure her continued presence on the stage would do wonders for the orchestra’s minority outreach.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Yes, it’s not only sad but terribly frightening. The jackbooted Left – empowered by years of victim fetishization is coming after your freedoms. They’re so stupid they have figured out that they’ll just get more Trump!!! That the average American has a very different notion of what’s a social priority for them.

      Social engineering; Orwell wrote about it.

      • michado says:

        If you are not doing a parody of an ultra right wing loony, I suggest you seek help, immediately.

  • Damien Wilson says:

    I’m horrified with the lack of judgement of this horn player. Wow. What ugly racism coming from her. Yes, thank heavens the ASO fired her. This is 2020…and those comments are pre-civil war hate.

    • Ned says:

      Trombonist, not a horn player. In the orchestral world those are two very distinct instruments.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      You don’t seem to express much in the way of concern for the other huge cohorts of ethnic minorities in the USA who succeed without your ‘horror’ and who never take to the streets. They’re busy making money and succeeding.

  • Doug says:

    “‘If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society [read: leftist activists] finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.'”

    -Judge Brian McDonald, Washington State Supreme Court.

    • MacroV says:

      Yes. GOVERNMENT may not do that. The Austin Symphony is a private institution and can do as it pleases.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        You wouldn’t accord that same right to the Vienna Philharmonic when you decided it MUST have women and ethnic minorities in their ranks. So transparent!!

        • V.Lind says:

          Not clear whom you were addressing there, but while people expressed views as to the makeup of the Vienna Phil, the “must” was a personal moral standpoint, not a legal one. Nobody had any right to insist who they hired (I for one, despite being what you would doubtless deem a liberal, have consistently argued against the idea of engaging musicians on ANY quota system).

          Like Austin, they could do what they pleased, and did. At some point, they appear to have woken up to the reality that some women and ethnic minorities were as qualified to play in their sacred ranks as white men. But nobody “made” them.

          Nobody “made” the ASO dismiss this woman, either. They took a decision, after consultation with others — including a union that represents her interests — and were found within their rights to make it clear her views were not endorsed by the ASO. They do not abnegate their rights because they are at odds with yours.

        • MacroV says:

          “Can do as it pleases” is perhaps too broad. Put it this way: As a private organization, the Austin Symphony is not obliged to accord her the same First Amendment right of free expression that the government is. But it must still comply with relevant employment law, especially as it may pertain to gender or racial discrimination. As must the VPO (or the Staatsoper).

    • Paul says:

      Yeah, the government didn’t do anything in this case, buddy.

    • V.Lind says:

      Do you now find her comments disagreeable? I think a lot of people who are neither leftists nor activists most certainly do.

      I am, however, getting sick of knee-jerk “conservatism” from people who can admire and elect a FOOL like their current president. They give what was once a defensible position a very bad name.

  • Skippy says:

    Her comments are so ugly they defy belief. I wonder if she’s suffering from some sort of disorder. Does anyone here know her?

    • anon says:

      I was friends with her in college, but I haven’t seen or talked to her in over 10 years. Very sad to see she would do something this stupid.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Please, share with us all how you came to be so perfect, so compassionate, so qualified to make a psychological assessment. So bien pensant.

      When people like you want to ‘help’ people you consider are ‘disadvantaged’ I recommend that they run the hell as fast as they can away.

  • At least it’s not another trombone player groping complaint!

    The tweets are so trite and rancid I’m going to say some combination of alcohol and late-night FOX News-watching was involved was involved.

  • Observer says:

    If you say something mean on the train, everyone in earshot on the train will dislike you.

    If you say something mean on the internet, everyone on the internet will dislike you.

    I’m surprised that it’s only in this day and age that people are upset with how that situation scales up. Seems perfectly logical to me.

  • VinnyD'Indy says:

    What about comments like F*** Trump and F*** the police? Are those hate speech? If so, should musicians who post words like that be fired, too? Might end up with a very, very small orchestra.

    • Might… but probably not since not many orchestra players are tweeting like that.

      But you knew that already. It is a false premise disguised as a “question”.

    • Justin says:

      Last I checked, disliking a single person, especially one so clearly vile as Trump, is not the same as assuming that “black minds” are somehow bad as a whole.

      As for the police, well, as I saw someone else say, if you have 1000 good cops and 10 bad cops, but the good cops keep protecting the bad cops, then what you really have is 1010 bad cops.

    • Bonedaddy says:

      If you think that being a racist and shaming Trump are the same, then you have a very very small mind.

    • Esther says:

      The difference here is that orchestras like Austin symphony rely on private donations not on government. Trump doesn’t pay musicians salaries. Donors do. One phone call from a life long donor threatening to stop donation unless the racist musician is fired, guess what will happen?

  • Ben says:

    On the racism scale of 1-10, her comments to me was a 3. This is too harsh. Ruining someones life for a few relatively minor comments.

    • School says:

      Completely agree

    • david hilton says:

      Good point. It seems that in Austin being “inclusive” only applies to the people we like.

      I’m sure I would not like this woman. But I would refrain from grabbing my pitchfork and joining the throng that is celebrating the ruining of her life.

  • Dennis says:

    ” We have been made aware that A MUSICIAN of the Austin Symphony Orchestra has made an offensive post on THEIR social media account…”

    This milquetoast’s difficulty with subject-pronoun agreement, as he kowtows before the SJW mob – is the more offensive post.

  • And here we are, all of us in our profession, at every level, working hard to be open and inclusive. Working to be welcoming to any and all. And how easily it can be undone through ignorance of a single associated individual. The symphony, opera, their boards, the American Federation of Musicians, and the fellow musicians of the Orchestra Committees must be applauded for acting so swiftly in this termination process. This, too is troubling: Ms. Salas is a veteran of the Gulf War (according to her Twitter profile.) What values, exactly, was she willing to sacrifice her life for?

    • Fred Funk says:

      Yeah, yet ANOTHER loon in US Army Bands. I’d wager that she complained about everything when she was an active duty musician. She was at Ft. Knox and Panama, and obviously has mental problems. She’s absolutely crazy to keep spouting off like that. Red flag behavior.

      • Bone says:

        Know a lot of loons, do ya? Are they confined to military bands (“ANOTHER”) or would you agree that lunacy seems to be fairly well distributed among musicians?
        Mr. Funk, would you be comfortable with your employer knowing your feelings about military members? Just curious…

      • Tyrone says:

        Or maybe she’s just based and in touch with reality.

    • Kolb Slaw says:

      Being “open and inclusive” has nothing to do with music and everything to do with a political agenda. Shame on all for attacking an individual with an individual opinion. Turn the tables and how would you like it?

      • Peter says:

        It’s remarkable that people persist in the notion that “but she was expressing an opinion” is somehow a killer argument.

        If a person solemnly declares that “I think all [people of a particular race] are inferior beings and we should eliminate them from the face of the earth”, that’s an “opinion”, but it’s also one that warrants social disapproval and which a business should be able to take into account in deciding whether to hire or fire that person.

        (See also: people who defend racist jokes by saying “it was just a joke”. Yeah, it was a joke, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t racist.)

  • PHF says:

    Nice to read the comments here and see how Trumpians from Trumpland are still confusing “freedom of speech” and “hate discourse”. Keep thinking that saying anything is your right then you’ll have much more orange leaders in the near future. “God bless Murica”.

    • Araragi says:

      PHF – while this is clearly not a First Amendment issue, I think the point is that it’s against the spirit of the First Amendment to terminate an employee based on political speech during personal time. The climate in much of the art world is one where even a hint of support for the Right could blacklist you. So much so that those on the Right feel compelled to mute their views for fear of backlash (sort of a reverse-McCarthyism). Granted, a private company has the right to terminate an employee for political speech. The question is, do we want to live in a society where they do?

      • PHF says:

        Her firing is much more about work ethics. If a institution is exposed for one employee public opinion it has the obligation to let state where their oficial opinion stands. Everyone putting your opinion in an open theatre like social media must acknowledge the possibility of assuming a risk. If a bank employee starts posting anarchist/anti-capitalist and gets some projection, certainly the bank would fire him too. It is a matter of institutional ethics.

        • Araragi says:

          I’m curious if your opinion is the same when it comes to Colin Kaepernick being fired for taking a knee during NFL games (which is actually worse since it was on company time). If so, then at the very least I can’t fault you for inconsistency.

    • Bone says:

      “Hate speech.” Voltaire would be unhappy with how far we have come.

  • Henry williams says:

    I have worked with people who think the same way fortunately it is a minority.
    But they do not print it .it is only verbal.this is just as bad.

  • Larry says:

    The problem of police brutality is not just about racism. There was a tragedy in Baltimore a few years with 6 cops being charged in the death of a black man.If memory serves, 2 or 3 of the 6 were, themselves, black.

    IMHO, the problem also stems from proper training or the lack thereof. Every cop today grew up with violence on TV, video games and movies. This is a reality and I think the use of excessive police force can be attributed to this, at least in part. A young black woman was shot in her in apartment in Louisville several days ago. She and her boyfriend were unarmed yet the police fired 20 rounds at them. We read of a cop firing at a suspect who is running AWAY from him. This smacks of “Dirty Harry” and Starsky and Hutch.”

    I am not minimizing racism at all. There are, no doubt racist cops just as there are homophobic cops, anti-semitic cops, misogynistic cops, etc., etc. But much better police training is desperately needed in this country. There are about 18,000 different police departments in America. I doubt that any other country on the planet functions this way.

  • Kolb Slaw says:

    They had no right to fire her. Freedom of speech, it’s called. I hope she sues their asses off.

  • jack says:

    All of these comments and not one word of assessment of her skills as a musician in the orchestra. When musicians (composers, directors, performers, singers, instrumentalists, etc.) can be judged on their proficiency on the basis of their politics rather than their musical skill I think that we (and the musical arts) are all in trouble.

    • V.Lind says:

      Nobody, including the ASO, has commented in any way upon her musical talent. She was dismissed for expressing very unpleasant views on a public forum, holding and publishing opinions abhorrent to the majority of decent people and to the members of the ASO. It is justifiable dismissal. Her continued presence would imply their acceptance of her views, which would bring the orchestra into disrepute.

  • Josef says:

    One of the reasons why classical music audiences are on the decline is that it is hard to be inspired by a bunch of spineless jellyfish.

  • Plush says:

    I do not find her comment to rise to any level of going towards dismissal. A gross over-reaction. I call it the “tyranny of assumption.” That means that one must always assume that an artistic person has left wing views. Often that’s not the case. She used mild language.

    • Peter says:

      She wasn’t fired because she failed to hold “left wing views”. Sansig Salas has been voicing ultra-conservative, pro-Trump political opinions online for years, as even a brief Google search of her name would tell you. She was never fired for doing so. Racist slurs about “the blacks”, on the other hand, are quite another thing.

      I find also find it interesting that, in your defence of her, you are implicitly assuming that only the left is opposed to racism against blacks. I hope that is not the case, but it is remarkable and telling that you are even framing this as a left/right issue.

  • Allen says:

    Although I do not agree with what she said, I believe in her right to say it.

  • Buzzy says:

    I am somewhat surprised that many of you seem to believe that a person can’t ever express their (controversial) opinions on their own time, on their own accounts, without fear of being fired by their employer. This is appalling. Why can’t the orchestra say “we disagree with her opinion on this issue but we didn’t hire her for her opinions about anything. We hired her to play the trombone to the highest standard and she continues to meet that standard.”

    • Ken says:

      I’m sure all the Nazis in the Vienna Philharmonic would have agreed with you 80 years ago.

    • Music Lover says:

      Racism is dangerous and it sickens our society greatly. Performing organizations exist to enrich people’s lives in the community. Musicians of a Symphony are public figures, and they influence their community. If it was an elementary teacher or a college professor, he/she would have been fired also. The musicians represent the orchestra.

  • fflambeau says:

    Good for Austin. Let her find her “freedom” elsewhere.

    Judging by comments on this website, there is a lot of racism, reactionary thought among the posters.

  • fflambeau says:

    The print of her remarks is so small I could not read it. Had to go to other websites to do so.

    She makes a direct attack on the “half black” US. president, Obama.

    Austin did the right thing.

    By the way, her speech is not “protected” speech and a government entity is not involved, so her firing is perfectly legal. She will now have to live with the consequences of her actions.

    • Robin Smith says:

      Use the zoom facility on your device. You don’t need to go to other websites.

    • Ken says:

      Well, technically he is half black, so..

      • V.Lind says:

        So, indeed. Are other Presidents identified in her facebook posts as white?

        So, she is making race an issue. And not nicely. Presumably she believes he has a half-black mind. Of course, it beats the hell out of the current one, who has a half-assed one.

      • Adrienne says:

        Correct. I’m 100% black (or near as dammit, as far as I know) and my kids are half black. These are hard facts.

        People obsessed with race are not entitled to their own version of reality. I also find the constant fawning extremely irritating.

  • Ben G. says:

    Years of training to get into an orchestra, and your career goes down the drain with a single click. That’s the power of the Internet and social media.

    Freedom of speech is like playing with fire nowadays, especially on Twitter.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Among the 135 comments so far, there are 9 or 10 contributors who appear to use their real names. some multiple times.

  • Just a Working Musician says:

    What are the odds “Sue Sonata Form” is a not particularly clever pseudonym for a certain trombonist?

  • Sharon says:

    I remember when I was a graduate student at the State University of New York in the eighties there was a controversy of the university library and university bookstore carrying Playboy magazine.

    The students who opposed this said that any publication that objectifies anybody or any human group, such as women, is working against the whole principal of free speech, which is that every individual should be respected enough for his/her opinions to be important.

    Racism is the objectification of a group which contradicts everything the humanities stand for, the promotion of the individual spirit.

    On the practical level her remarks might cause a lot of tension and anger among employees of the orchestra.

    Furthermore, I cannot believe that the Austin symphony receives no government funding. It, like all arts organizations, receive government funding because it is supposed to provide a service to the community, the ENTIRE community, of education, psychological comfort, and perhaps even some spiritual uplift. Salas’ comments show that she opposes this mission, which is the mission of any orchestra, or any arts organization for that matter.

    I personally believe that this limit on speech freedom should even apply to not disrespectfully disparaging deeply held beliefs which groups feel may define them, especially if government funding is involved.

    For example, a number of years ago the Brooklyn Museum had an exhibit which included the painting by Robert Maplethorpe called “Piss Christ” which savagely disparaged Jesus’ resurrection. Although I understand how it may have expressed the pain and anger people felt over the AIDS crisis, I agree with those who believed that this painting had no place in a government funded museum.

    As a Jew I would hate to see a Torah desecrated as part of a government funded art exhibit regardless of the message that the artist is trying to convey. I would consider disparaging such an important Jewish symbol to be anti Semitic because I would feel that by desecrating such an important symbol in my life it is also desecrating me and my people, whether or not that was the artist’s intention.

    In a related topic, since the protests my email has been innundated with messages from various arts organizations showing how upset they are with racism and what they are doing both artistically and in their employment and educational programs to be inclusive.

    Although I am certain that these organizations are sincere I wonder what is prompting this. Are they afraid that if they do not speak out against racism that they will lose donations or will be cut out in the next round of government grant funding?

    If so, I believe that this fear is a good thing and checking the organization’s record on artistic and employment inclusivity when making funding decisions is justified.

    The purpose of the arts is that someone’s self expression can be communicated to other people who can learn and grow from it. True art promotes the specialness and value of every human being–it promotes inclusivity and in doing so serves the community.

  • Ken says:

    Immersion (Piss Christ) is a 1987 photograph by the American artist and photographer Andres Serrano.

  • Philomena Fagotto says:

    What do you expect? She’s one of those trombonists.

  • W. l. Weller says:

    I think I see a lawsuit on the horizon. That will be expensive and unfortunate for the Austin Symphony.

  • Nynorsk Bokmal says:

    Ms. Salis observed reality and faithfully reported it. Powerful people who hate truth have shown her the gravity of her error by destroying her livelihood, and conformist bootlickers, here and elsewhere, may be seen demonstrating their perfect subservience to the Narrative as they cackle with a degree of malice sufficient to startle the witches in Macbeth.

    Virtually all of the commenters here—whether man, woman, or transgendered whatever—are quite comfy about displaying as much Establishment-dictated hate for white people as the Jewish Christophobe who runs this site has done for the entirety of his worthless career. Water indeed finds its level—or should that be sewage?

    A reasonable man might be forgiven for wondering whether Lenin and Stalin and Jabotinsky and others of that foul ilk are weeping in hell as they see that, had they been born a century later, they would have had this site’s sycophantic commenters groveling in their eagerness to serve them. Back then, the mob here would have been among those lining up at Party headquarters to rat on their neighbors, all the while roughly elbowing one another for the privilege of going first.

    The venomous hatred displayed on this thread, a hatred that serves no discernible purpose beyond moral preening, is sufficient to leave a close reader of 1984 wondering whether Orwell was a naive optimist.