The Austin Symphony and Austin Opera have fired principal trombonist Brenda Sansig Salas after she made a series of racist comments on Facebook, the Austin Statesman-American reports. Salas' Facebook account is currently unavailable, but in screencaps of the posts, her comments include:
Trump didn’t kill someone, but in your black minds, everything is his fault.
Trump isn’t rioting. The blacks are. He’d be damned if he didn’t shut down the country.
She also took aim at former President Obama, writing:
Have you checked out the 1/2 black president swine flu H1N1, and EBOLA? What has your 1/2 black president done for you?? The ONLY REASON he was elected was because he is1/2 black. People voted on racist principles, not on the real issues . The BLACKS are looting and destroying their environment. They deserve what they get. Playing the RACE CARD IS RACIST.
Salas' biography has been removed from the Austin Symphony Orchestra's website, and Executive Director Anthony Corroa writes:
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.
The Austin Opera also cut ties with Salas. General Director and CEO Annie Burridge writes:
I am appalled by the racist social media postings made by a member of our orchestra last night, which are in direct contradiction to our company values and mission. Austin Opera strongly condemns these social media posts and had no knowledge of or involvement in them. Hate speech, in any form or forum, will not be tolerated. We have reached out to our Orchestra Committee and the American Federation of Musicians and will take all appropriate next steps.
The arts have the unique power to bring people together. We have been working around the clock to find creative ways to continue this work in the midst of the numerous crises – some new and some centuries-old – that challenge our fragile community right now. We are unwavering in our commitment to be part of the much-needed solutions required for our community to move forward.