English Touring Opera sacks half its members citing ‘increased diversity’

Even the World’s Socialist Web site WSWS.ORG finds the effort to create diversity by not renewing contracts for at least half the musicians of the English Touring Opera a bridge too far. Many who have been with the orchestra for over 20 years. Don’t think this mass hysteria for inclusion and diversity in the arts is only across the pond. Starting in 2024 the film industry here will cave and mandate those with “cognitive disability and deaf” be included if the film wants to be considered as an Oscar nominee. NBC-Comcast has already bitten the bullet.  But first:

The English Touring Opera (ETO) has cited “diversity” to justify not renewing the contracts of 13 musicians, nearly half its orchestra. Though employed on rolling freelance contracts, many of the players had been with ETO for 20 years or more.

The players have made a long contribution to the excellence of the ETO orchestra. As their playing was already known, they were not expected to audition at a recent call for new players. But this now suggests a longstanding intention to remove them, and to replace them based on racial or gender-based criteria.

This divisive move dismisses the qualities of the musicians involved and attacks the very basis of artistic accomplishment. Such “quota-filling” positive discrimination does nothing to address the historically determined divisions that stem from the very foundations of an unequal, class society, but serves only to fuel the racial divisions it claims to oppose.

It is a gift to racists and the right-wing.

Interesting that they find the effort to destroy the orchestra a gift to racists. Could it be that it’s just the wrong thing to do?

Royal Opera House“Royal Opera House” by Wootang01 is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Classic FM:

English Touring Opera (ETO) has dropped half of its orchestral players in a push for diversity.

At least 14 musicians have been told they will not be booked for the 2022 ETO tour, many of them long-running members of the orchestra.

The ETO has attributed the changes to prioritising “increased diversity in the orchestra,” something that’s in line with “firm guidance of the Arts Council.”

“There has been an understandable outcry from Musicians Union members in response to this news today,” the Musicians Union (MU) wrote in a statement.“

“It comes at an especially devastating time for the freelance community, and musicians in general, with so many struggling with little work and income during the COVID-19 crisis.”

“We did not instruct the English Touring Opera to send this letter,” the Arts Council has said. “We are now in conversation with ETO to ensure no funding criteria have been breached.”

The ETO announced hiring 12 new artists in the freelance orchestra for the spring 2022 tour on Friday.

Here on our side of the pond, things are not that much better in the film industry. A refresher from an earlier post:

Oscars new requirements for ‘Best Picture’ – includes cognitive disability, deaf

The diversity and inclusion initiative has been a heavy focus for the Oscars the past few years, shown by the expansive membership initiative. Today, as part of the Academy Aperture 2025 initiative, AMPAS announced new representation and inclusion standards in order to be eligible in the best picture category.

For the 94th and 95th Oscars ceremonies, scheduled for 2022 and 2023, a film will submit a confidential Academy Inclusion Standards form to be considered for best picture. Beginning in 2024, for the 96th Oscars, a film submitting for best picture will need to meet the inclusion thresholds by meeting two of the four standards.

At least two of the following creative leadership positions and department heads — Casting Director, Cinematographer, Composer, Costume Designer, Director, Editor, Hairstylist, Makeup Artist, Producer, Production Designer, Set Decorator, Sound, VFX Supervisor, Writer — are from the following underrepresented groups:

• Women
• Racial or ethnic group
• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

At least one of those positions must belong to the following underrepresented racial or ethnic group:

• Asian
• Hispanic/Latinx
• Black/African American
• Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native
• Middle Eastern/North African
• Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
• Other underrepresented race or ethnicity

B2. Other key roles

At least six other crew/team and technical positions (excluding Production Assistants) are from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group. These positions include but are not limited to First AD, Gaffer, Script Supervisor, etc.

B3. Overall crew composition

At least 30% of the film’s crew is from the following underrepresented groups:

• Women
• Racial or ethnic group
• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

More at Variety

And this is how America’s wonderful film industry turned into mediocrity in the name of inclusion.

Let’s step back in time, oh say around 2011. I’ll throw out some highlights.

Slowly, we are learning more about the merger of Comcast and NBC. Not that NBC could carry George Soros’s water any more than they do, but it is stunning that there is no shame.

The pending merger between NBC Universal and Comcast appears to have received Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski’s support because of the companies’ recent promises to the NAACP, Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, the National Urban League and several Hispanic and Asian civil rights organizations. The two media giants promised more “diversity” in new and existing programming, and in all levels of the company and they promised more minority characters in existing television programs and more new programs targeted at the specific racial minorities.

To get the civil rights groups on board with their merger, NBC Universal and Comcast worked out several Memorandums of Understanding, or written agreements, with the different groups, dividing them by race. The separate agreements included an Asian American Memorandum of Understanding, an African American Memorandum of Understanding and a Hispanic American Memorandum of Understanding.

Under the terms of the FCC order approving Comcast’s takeover of NBCU, at least half of NBC’s 10 O&Os have to find a nonprofit news center with which to work within the next year. The order cites the KNSD-VoiceOfSanDiego.org alliance as the model for what it would like to see in other NBC markets.

Proponents of the growing nonprofit news movement are hoping that NBC’s FCC-mandated efforts will bear fruit and encourage other commercial TV stations to seek out nonprofit partners.

There’s just one problem with this: Voice of San Diego is a member of INN (Investigative News Network) which is funded by the Open Society Institute, the URL of which is “www.soros.org.” Yes, these “non-profit” journalism centers are funded by George Soros.

The media giants also agreed to allow black leaders to have influence over NBC’s news programming. In addition to programming “diversity,” the Comcast and NBC Universal Memorandums of Understanding with different race-specific civil rights groups promise “diversity” in company employment, in supplier and vendor procurement and in “philanthropy and community investment.

From earlier posts:

Bag Man Biden’s first campaign stop at Comcast – collecting on merger of NBC?

NBC-Comcast cave to FCC Diversity

And that is the best the swamp has to offer today.

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