Orchestra drops manager’s wife over anti-BLM tweets

Orchestra drops manager’s wife over anti-BLM tweets


norman lebrecht

July 13, 2020

The artistic administrator of the Spokane Symphony in Washington state has resigned after a furore over her social media utterances.

Bethany Schoeff, who is married to the Symphony’s general manager, Daniel Cotter, described the Black Lives Matter movement as ‘a disease on this country’ and the killing of George Floyd as an election-year hoax.

Ms Schoeff, 41, had worked for the orchestra for 11 years and occasionally played oboe. Her husband is the second clarinet.

She told local media she had been suffering from depression.




  • Alex S. says:


    • john says:


    • Amos says:

      So it’s cenorship when you are held accountable for claiming that the videotaped murder of an unarmed man by police, in which the victim is asphyxiated for 3 minutes after he loses consciousness, is an “election-year hoax”? Would it have made a difference if the police officer strangled the victim with his hands rather than his knee? How about claiming that the holocaust was a hoax or that the 9/11 attacks were an inside-job? Is slander now protected by the 1st amendment?

      • V. Lind says:

        How does this perfectly sensible comment receive currently 32 downvotes? Who are you people?

      • citicrab says:

        It most definitely is, and whoever is wronged is free to sue. But that was not slander, it was a comment and an opinion on matters unrelated to her employment that her employer would not tolerate. She was likely employed at will, so nothing illegal about her termination, but this is censorship, pure and simple.

      • Guest says:

        In all fairness to her, I would guess she meant that rather than a police issue, it was elevated to a political issue because this is an election year.

      • Nick says:

        What is it are you smoking? Learn to read ENGLISH first!!

        • David says:

          What is it “that you are” smoking. Interesting how the first to criticize other people’s language capacity is usually the one with the poorest grasp of the said language.

  • Bone says:

    This probably won’t help her depression.

  • Doug says:

    How many times have I said on these pages that “liberal democracy is dead”?

    Freedom of Speech.

    Rule of law and due process.

    Behold the Maoist Cultural Revolution.

    • violafan says:

      Please look up what “freedom of speech” means and then write a more informed comment about the situation. Thank you!

      • Bone says:

        Ability to speak freely excepting fraud, defamation, or force.
        I’m sure you will bring up 1st amendment as a government restraint , but I can’t help but believe that you would like to be able to express yourself on any topic and hope others acknowledge your right to expression.
        Unfortunately, the left and right are guilty of eroding free speech, so now the “consequences” mantra is the cancel-culture dog whistle.

    • Bash says:

      She worked for a private organization, not the government. The government t did not censor or fire her. The organization is free to do what they like. They do not seemed to have fired her either. She resigned

      American classical music organizations are anxious to gain more diversified audiences and performers. Comments like the ones posted by this administrator do not help them achieve that goal. She made comments. People reacted, angrily as it seems. She resigned. Everybody had the right to express themselves as they wished.

  • anmarie says:

    The left has gone increasingly insane.

    And I’m a lifelong liberal.

    • flist says:

      Sorry, but you’re a label-whore.

    • Mick the Knife says:

      Totally agree!

    • mikhado says:

      It’s raining, I’m in lockdown, and am left leaning so I’ll bite. How is the left “increasingly insane”? The first amendment does not protest one from consequences from ones “free speech”. It’s not a complicated concept. I’m not American and I understand that, why don’t you, anmarie?

      • Nick says:

        Mikhado: If you’re not American, then continue your lockdown peacefully and keep your mouth shut about American politics. You can lean left even more and then you find yourself under Nazi dictatorship!! Congrats!

        • Simon Behrman says:

          The idea that the Nazis were an extension of the left is one of the most politically and historically illiterate tropes around.

          By the way, highly ironic that in defending ‘free speech’ you tell someone to ‘keep their mouth shut’. You’re evidently illiterate in more ways than one.

          • Go Simon! says:

            I want people like you to keep talking Simon!

            Folks like you make me feel more secure in voting for Trump and abandoning the Left more than ever now that you’ve found Hillary irrelevant.

            “I’m with her”…LOL!!!

    • mikhado says:

      Forgot to add; there is no way on god’s green earth that you are liberal. The trolls always give themselves away.

  • CelloFellow says:

    It has nothing to do with ‘liberal democracy being dead’…

    People keep forgetting that the ‘Freedom of Speech’ doesn’t mean ‘free from consequences’.

    It’s not against the law to say what she said, but that doesn’t mean that the organisation has to continue employing her either. There are plenty of ‘legal’ behaviours that can lead to termination – why are people still so surprised that being racist in public is one of them?

    • George says:

      Dictionary definition of Freedom of speech: the power or right to express one’s opinions without censorship, restraint, or legal penalty. – Oxford Languages

      • David says:

        The snowflakes here being triggered so easily here have no nuanced understanding of liberal democracy, let alone freedom of speech. There are many cases in which speech is restricted, including threats, hate, obstruction of justice, copyright, obscenity, to name a few. Do you know why? Because the concept of liberal democracy is reciprocal collective freedom: We as an individual have freedom INSOFAR as it does not infringe upon other people’s freedom. Freedom of speech under liberal democracy does not mean unbridled unregulated speech.

        Furthermore, even in the case of rightful freedom of speech, that does not mean there will be no consequences in the public life. People are fired all the time for various reasons. Imagine people here defending a guy being fired for cursing out his boss…”How outrageous! This is censorship!! Fascism! Freedom of speech!” Roll eyes. Get over yourself and start living in reality. This woman was possibly fired for creating a hostile work environment publically making comments that possibly endanger the safety of other members of the orchestra, not to mention of society as a whole. As an organization they are free to fire; this is an instance of exercise of proper legal freedom under democracy, not fascist censorship. How people can get this confused is beyond me.

      • AstoriaEd says:

        It cuts both ways. A private organization has free speech rights as well. This organization found her speech a detriment to the their reputation and exercised their free speech rights. Free speech isn’t ‘free’, there are consequences. If you’re going to broadcast your speech in a public forum be prepared for the consquences.

    • clarity says:

      BLM is specifically racist against white people.

      • Nick says:

        BLM – is a new Nazi Party. This time though, it has metastasized all over the world! Welcome to a new world order. BLM has little to do with race, but everything to do with power and Marxist Dictatorship.

        • David says:

          Is your life so terrible right now that you feel threatened by disadvantaged discriminated people rightfully trying to catch up? If your life has turned to shit, that’s not their fault, and probably not yours either. You are likely the victim of other social issues that need to be separately addressed. Inequality, for example, does not affect just black people.

          Let me assure you that even if the minorities continue to be oppressed, your life will not get better. The only way it does is by pressuring the government to address all issues and attain freedom and equality for all. BLM isn’t just a singular movement trying to take over the world (Nazi, really???). It is just one movement out of all others to achieve justice and prosperity for all, and you are part of that. Try to be part of the solution, not the perpetuation of misery for all

          • Caleb says:

            You don’t live in a black neighborhood and are not black David.

            The Obamas were too afraid as well. Hence their conscience move to a wealthy, white, private, gated, guard-shacked palace with a WALL surrounding it.

            Your kind talks big and acts small.

            Enjoy 4 more years of Trump baby!!!!

        • AstoriaEd says:

          Seriously? BLM is forcing caucasians into ghettos, stripping them of all their posessions, and shipping them off to a slave labor/concentration camps. Do you have any idea how idiotic, ridiculous, ignorant and offensive your post is? You are not a victim.

          • Caleb says:

            You’re taking about what’s happening in Nigeria right now AstoriaEd.

            You’re not black either and your post WREAKS of your own White Privilege!!

        • Bruce says:

          Look up Godwin’s Law.

        • Simon Behrman says:

          Calm down Nick, lay in a dark room for a while, and then read a book about Nazism – Ian Kershaw is a good start. You evidently have the historical understanding of a Fox News viewer. Please don’t go to the grave while remaining so ignorant.

    • drummerman says:

      Quite right!

    • Bill says:

      Indeed, speaking up for something when doing so CAN have consequences is more compelling than shooting your mouth off when nothing can come of it.

    • leader says:

      The BLM klan being arrested for their hatred of whites is a good thing too CelloFellow.

    • Mr. Biden says:

      Bethany is accurate.

      The Left HATE accuracy as is revealed in their failed utopian cities and states.

  • Alphonse says:

    This insanity is getting increasingly frightening to witness. I really don’t want to live in a world like this anymore. Everything we’ve striven for and achieved is slowly being destroyed before our eyes. In my darker moments, I sometimes hope to contract the virus and pass away. And I‘ve only just turned thirty.

    • Nick says:

      I join you, Alphonse, in your statement. This world is not worth living in anymore.

    • David says:

      What we have achieved over centuries of experimenting with liberal democracy is how to balance individual freedom with collective freedom. What you are defending is selfish individual freedom to say anything you want regardless of the consequences on other individual’s freedom, and that is against what we have strived for. Liberal democracy entails reciprocal coercion to ensure collective freedom and safety, hence regulations and laws. What you need is not to contract the virus and pass away (hard at your age anyway) but to redo your education in basic political philosophy so you begin to have a clue of what you are thinking and saying because frankly, your ignorance is embarrassing.

      • Alphonse says:

        Ah yes, David- the usual leftist admonition to “(re-)educate yourself!” I’ll report to the local re-education center at once comrade. So sorry for “embarrassing” you with my ignorance. The only thing more embarrassing is your smug, self-satisfied condescension. You’re a disgrace.

        • David says:

          Did it feel better to call me a disgrace? Now feel free to respond to my argument if you disagree with me. I’ve written above about what liberal democracy entails, and the role of collective freedom in sustaining the democratic system. Which part of this do you not agree?

          Many would argue that what is destroying humanity’s achievements is not organizations as these firing hateful conspiracy theorists, but rather what we witness on this board: illiberal populism that casts doubt on facts, science, and intellectualism, contorting the idea of freedom and liberalism so that it fits their agenda. You can’t expect to be entirely free, and then accuse others of stepping on your freedom when in fact, such accusation itself is stepping on their freedom. That is hypocrisy, and such an argument is only made by those who care only of their benefit.

          The difficult task of reconciling the individual with the collective has been explored for 2000 years. What is freedom and who guarantees it? Is the state simply a tool to facilitate inherently free human life or is it a necessary condition for attainment of freedom? If we want to participate in a constructive debate about such complex topics, then we need to understand the history and context, hence my mentioning the importance of education.

          • Keifer says:

            You only have sarcasm to offer in place of manhood Dave.

            You’re a garden variety, Dem man-child with no wife or children (child support doesn’t count); that’s all. You just don’t count since you’re a white guy.

          • David says:

            I offer neither sarcasm or “manhood”, but I rather arguments based on analysis, which you are welcome to comment on.

            You also got my social and familial situation entirely wrong, including my ethnicity. Not to mention that has got nothing to do with my comments and the validity of my argument. It’s called ad hominem attack, and this is a logical fallacy, look it up.

  • CA says:

    Is it possible that she might have meant to say that racism is a (long-standing) disease of this country, but her twitter fingers went too fast? Well, it’s too late now regardless.

    • Nick says:

      CA: Systemic racism does exist in America and it is created and installed by the Democrat Party:
      • welfare, food stamps, gov. sponsored housing,
      • lowered education standards for blacks,
      • quotas at the workplace,
      • quotas at schools and universities,
      • quotas in humanitarian disciplines,
      the list can be continued ad infinitum.

      This is not about race, this is ONLY about power. Reversed racism also exists and it is in full bloom.

  • Fired for speaking the truth.

  • V. Lind says:

    The “election-year hoax” thing is simply a lie. We all saw the videotape.

    While I believe, as must any sentient person, that black lives matter, I am no fan of BLM. The term “disease on our country” is very ugly, but probably permissible, The rest was not. No organisation has to employ someone who lies about public information in public — something I wish Americans would bear in mind as they enter their ballot boxes.

    I know depression is a serious affliction, though I do not equate it with fundamental dishonesty, or even racist beliefs.

    When will people learn to stay off Twitter? Some, apparently, not as long as their hero, the Twit-in-Chief, continues to use it as his principal method of addressing the nation and the world.

    • Stanley Cohen says:

      Stay on your side of the pond then!

      Oh, Twitter is a very Liberal platform run by a white CEO and white management plus white, Asian and Indian engineers (not the Indigenous ones of course) since their mostly H1-B visa folks packed in expensive little apartments in the SF Tenderloin District. So you need to get informed yourself and start with moving into a black neighborhood in your quest for liberal supremacy.

    • Mustafa Adib says:

      “No organisation has to employ someone who lies about public information in public”…

      Have you heard of Hillary Clinton dear girl?

  • Karl says:

    Another person loses a job for not being PC. What people say on their own time is their business and should not result in them losing their jobs. Your employer should not be able to control your thoughts and speech.

    On a side note freedom advocate and BLM critic Tucker Carlsen may address the subject tonight. One of his writers just lost his job over some non-PC posts. Tune in – 8 pm is Tucker Time!

    • David says:

      The employer is not “controlling” her speech and thoughts. They rightfully decided she does not meet the standards of their organization. She is continually free to express her ignorance on twitter as much as she pleases, just not while working in this orchestra. According to your logic, if someone commits a murder “on their own time” they should not lose their job because it’s got nothing to do with their work. That’s not how hiring works.

    • V. Lind says:

      Just in time to hear Tucker flee for the hills — as is his wont when things get awkward.

      His characterising of race as “qualities they cannot control” is a new one on me, and tries to flip the blame for offensive remarks to the recipient of them. His fans are apparently still tuning in in droves (or drones, in the original sense) but his advertisers are taking a hike in bigger ones.

  • Larry says:

    Not to nitpick, Norman, but in the U.S. the orchestra general manager is not the “boss,” but rather the number two administrative person. The boss would either be called executive director, managing director, chief executive officer, president.

  • violafan says:

    They made the right decision. This has nothing to do with freedom of speech.

  • Wesley says:

    It’s really quite simple: don’t comment or offer an opinion on anything related to race, gender, ethnicity, history, or society; don’t join or partake in any form of social media (even “liking” the wrong tweet may end your career summarily); don’t assume your employer will have any sympathy with the “I was only voicing my own opinion” defence; don’t admit, anywhere, that you be a Republican/Conservative/Tory or otherwise right of centre, nor (as Jodi Comer has found) give the impression that you might be dating anyone who may (or may not) be a supporter of such people; don’t dare question the motives of in-vogue political organisations, even if the stated motives of such organisations include destroying your way of life.

    Never mind Covid-19. The above is the “new normal”.

    • Guest says:

      It might help to also take the BLM oath about your privilege so you can be accepted by the mob. I just saw an orchestra’s ad for 4 African-American fellowships. Now, that is privilege based on color.

      • V. Lind says:

        It certainly would not be allowed the other way.

        Which orchestra, I’d like to know?

        • Guest says:

          Virginia Symphony

        • Former MET Donor says:

          Indeed it would.

          The shattered MET began their appeasement-fest recently with the orchestra.

          If only someone was watching out for the interests of the staff, players, chorus and singers…

          BTW If any of you are ‘sick of hearing people rake this up again’; consider what it’s like for those supposedly well-educated employed or contracted by ‘the greatest stage’ etc right now.

          Everyone was ABANDONED with little notice; kinda like they do in ‘big corporations’ or Wall Street right???

          Then Gelb selfishly rallies donors without concern for the people that MAKE THE MET WORK and gloats over the take he got for…what?? The building, taxes…what…what???

          That’s why the MET is just a WHORE HOUSE compared to what it once was.

          Instead of the same, boring Liberal bitching; you people need to reach out to individuals in need and help them in whatever capacity you can!


          They’re still ALONE losing everything and Liberals used to actually CARE about their fellow man!!!!!!

  • Fifer4life says:

    The old guard fife and drum corps is still hiring – she would fit in beautifully.

  • Cubs Fan says:

    Ok, not the best thing to do under current conditions, but when it comes to BLM she is not wrong. People, left and right, need to go to their website and read what they propose. It’s Marx, Alinsky, Soros, and the Frankfurt School. BLM was co-opted by leftists who only want to destroy. WAKE UP PEOPLE!

    • Karl says:

      You are going to lose your job for writing that. You must be a white nationalist.

    • Simon Behrman says:

      Interesting that you chose Marx, Alinsky, Soros, the Frankfurt School (i.e. Adorno and Horkheimer) as examples of people who want to ‘destroy’ the world.

      It’s not a dog whistle when we can all hear you Herr Cubs Fan.

  • Hans-Dieter Glaubke says:

    An absolute clear, rational insight, if there ever were one. Bravo!

  • mikhado says:

    What concerns me most on this site is the preponderance of ill-informed, borderline insane right wing idiocy that is posted on a daily basis and that those comments receive thumbs up (although I would not put it past authors to give themselves upvotes). “Behold the Maoist Cultural Revolution” seriously…seriously?

    • Nick says:

      Yes, Mikhado, very seriously, very, very seriously!!
      Stop smoking whatever it is you are smoking!

    • David says:

      I am as surprised as you are…Where do they come from? Why in the liberal classical music world of all places? Is it because the listeners tend to be elderly conservatives? In which case we really have a problem of disconnect between musicians and the audience, and need to reach out to others audiences as well if we care about our work contributing to equality and freedom.

      Yes, their equivalence of this just legal exercise of freedom to fire an employee to “maoist cultural revolution” amongst other comparisons to fascism is beyond ridiculous that it’s not funny anymore. Since when is freedom about doing whatever you like without care for others? Social contract, and liberal democracy came about PRECISELY to avoid such barbaric exercise of “freedom” in order to achieve collective freedom and common good. It’s astonishing how most commenters here do not understand this most basic tenet…and have the audacity to talk as if they know everything…They should definitely look into Dunning-Kruger effect and hopefully they realize their ignorance.

      • Arthur says:

        The “liberal” classical music world? Are you kidding me?
        Don’t be fooled by a few properly coiffed ladies in the development department with Instagram accounts and Obama stickers. Have you seen the audience? Who do you think plays in the orchestras? It’s not a liberal world.

    • Guest says:

      I think you don’t have a clue what is going one here.

  • Larry W says:

    Sounds like an ill oboist that blows no good.

  • Nick says:

    How right Bethany is!!

    • David says:

      Have you even read her tweets? She thinks Bill Gates and the government are colluding to microchip not just Americans but the whole world apparently through this corona hoax…George Floyd was sacrificed and murdered so that “socialists” can get their way and influence this year’s election. Her argument that masks don’t work is based on her observation that viruses are “so tiny”…wow, so insightful! Many things are “tiny” including the holes in the fabric of masks. That’s why we have scientists qualify “tiny” and have them experiment and draw up evidence based conclusions.

      Nick, even you aren’t as crazy as her, and it’s best that you distance yourself from these arguments because it just makes you even less credible and no one will take you seriously anymore.

      • Carolyn Dowd says:

        David, Hillary Clinton only won in your mind. There was no Russian collusion. If so, the Obama administration would have immediately picked up on it and gotten the FBI and Secret Service involved while HALTING the electoral process at some point prior to the state’s electors casting their collegial votes and the inauguration. Obama did NOTHING (as usual).

        Hillary has been in politics via Bill for about 40 years and NEVER lifted a finger to ‘do away with’ the electoral college system. You can’t even cite 5 of her accomplishments during her career Dave.

        So, do educate YOURSELF on these topics and also know how Trump has brilliantly used Leftist platforms like Twitter and the Media to his advantage as November 2020 draws near and he is re-elected over Biden who is truly the ANTITHESIS of what Democrats have been screeching about since 2016. He’s white, male and RICH though he belongs in an elder care facility due to his lack of mental hygiene.

        • David says:

          Carolyn, what on earth are you talking about….where in my post did I mention Hillary Clinton or the Russiagate? You sound very paranoid and unwell…

          • Ellen Mayfair says:

            Carolyn is correct David.

            Your poorly attempted castigations of others indicates your a weak male. It’s no surprise and I don’t believe you can handle a woman (outside or inside the bedroom) either.

        • Booker says:


  • Simon Behrman says:

    One thing many of these comments illuminate is that the right-wing are the real snowflakes. Somebody loses their job because they make stupid offensive remarks in public, and the Trumpist trolls start screaming ‘Nazis’, ‘Mao’, ‘Soros’ and go off the deep end of conspiracy theories.

    Black people ask to have their lives respected, to stop routine police harassment and killing, and the right again lose their marbles.

    One wonders if Trump goes down to a crushing defeat in November, how many of you will just spontaneously combust?

    • Bruce says:

      It’s true — for a bunch of people who make fun of others’ oversensitivity, they do seem to be rather fragile and easily triggered.

  • Booker says:

    And the cesspool that is social media continues its degradation of humanity…
    Yes, it is possible to disrupt the things that can sabotage us, but not without presence on our side. You must take a stand against ego. Stagnation is born in the gap where gratitude has been excluded.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    All you people disgust me.
    Bottom line: a black man was murdered. It’s on video. You can watch it if you have the guts.
    Believe your eyes.
    The next move is yours.

    • Hans S. says:

      Greg’s posts incite divisiveness and are offensive with his “all YOU PEOPLE” hate.

      People like George Floyd are the ‘type’ Liberals pay to avoid via the high rents they pay, nice offices with standards and security they work in, etc.

      What?? Greg’s going to stop locking up his car, office, front door as well to prove his point. Never, of course.

  • Joseph says:

    I’m not certain of the site’s criteria regarding moderation, but I find it disturbing that many of these posts were allowed to stand as they seem to foment more division and bigotry rather than allow for discussion. Perhaps more discretion should be used.

  • Gizmo says:

    Mind-boggling hypocrisy by some commenters!!