Soprano sacked from top Oz opera company after homophobic Facebook post
A soprano working with Australia’s most prestigious opera company has been sacked following a Facebook post in which she referred to homosexuals as “fecal matter”.
Opera Australia (OA) released soprano Tamar Iveri from her contract following a furore over "unconscionable" homophobic comments posted on the singer's Facebook page, reported The Age.
Iveri was due to appear in a Sydney production of Otello.
"Opera Australia has agreed with Tamar Iveri, to immediately release her from her contract with the company," said OA in a statement.
A post on the Georgian opera singer's Facebook page 18 months ago compared gay and lesbian people to fecal matter, in response to a gay pride parade that had been organised in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.
The post took the form of a letter to Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili imploring him to "stop vigorous attempts to bring West's ‘fecal masses’ in the mentality of the people by means of propaganda".
The singer, who had been in rehearsals for Otello in Sydney for several weeks, blamed her husband for the comments after they were reported in the Australian media on Friday, saying he altered the text of a post she wrote warning authorities that a gay parade in May last year could be targeted by anti-gay protesters.
“Besides myself my husband was using my Facebook account at that time and he is a very religious man with a tough attitude towards gay people. He copied my text, changed it considerably and posted it under my name. You might imagine that I was not happy with that at all and I immediately deleted it when I saw the text about half an hour later. This text does not express my own opinion," she posted on Facebook.
"For my entire career I have been working with gay people and some of them are very dear friends. All of them can confirm that I never lost a word that might associate me with homophobic ideas. I respect every single human being and I am against all kind of descrimination and violence."
On June 22, following a post attributed to her husband in which he claimed authorship of the original post, she added: "I have said before and say here again that the words attributed to me were not my own, and that I therefore cannot take personal responsibility for them. I can only repeat again and again that this is my position. I also want to make clear once more that my concerns last year about the Parade for Gay Rights in Tbilisi were not based on any opposition to the rights of gay people everywhere; rather they were founded by my fears that he the parade would arouse a violent reaction from parts of the arch conservative Georgian religious community."
OA said both Iveri and her husband had made public statements.
"She has unreservedly apologised for those comments and views,” OA stated.
"Opera Australia believes the views as stated to be unconscionable."
The Facebook post attracted a massive backlash, with OA receiving more than 1,000 posts on the issue on its Facebook site.