Valerian Ruminski, an American opera singer, has been fired from the cast of an Opera Lyra production of Puccini’s Tosca after posting a photo with insulting comments of a drag queen on Facebook.
Last Friday, Ruminski posted a photo of a man on a bus in Ottawa, Canada wearing fake nails and added the comment, “Look at the stupid nails this moron had on while taking a bus in Ottawa. I guess he needs diamond studded nails to make up for his face.” The man in the picture has been identified as Samnang Tep, who is also known by his drag queen persona Miss Jade London.
In addition to the comment he made in the initial status, he continued by further attacking Jade in the comments:
“I almost broke down in tears to be honest, I didn’t think someone would be that hurtful on social media — especially from a celebrity,” Tep told CBC News, “I felt so hurt, I felt violated, having my picture taken without my knowledge and then being bashed about it… being basically called ugly, having my nails compensate for that, being called a stupid moron, nobody deserves to hear that especially if it’s not being told to their face.”
John Peter Jeffries, the general director at Opera Lyra Ottawa, released a statement on the company’s Facebook page to inform the public that they would be replacing Ruminski for an upcoming show he was scheduled to perform in beginning September 6:
[quote]Opera Lyra is a community-based organization that is proud of its relationships with the huge diversity of people living in the National Capital Region. Persons employed by Opera Lyra, including short-term cast members, are expected to contribute to good community relations. Respectful behaviour towards others is an essential part of this.
“Mr. Valerian Ruminski has recently expressed some personal views on Facebook. These became a public issue as soon as he chose to post them. His follow-up comments are also on the public record. Opera Lyra dissociates itself entirely from Mr. Ruminski’s publicly stated views. We are relieving him of his duties.
“A replacement singer will be announced shortly. The Tosca production will take place, as scheduled, opening on September 6. The musical performers and the directoral staff are enthusiastic. Ticket sales are solid. We invite the Ottawa-Gatineau public to continue their great support for professional opera in our community.”[/quote]
Jeffries also told CBC News that he would have to be convinced that Ruminski had learned his lesson before he hired him again.
Oh for gods sake! Someone get that drag queen a sedative. The idea that that man was fired makes me really angry. Pick your battles people.
Jay, this article is misleading. His firing was not based on an off-handed comment about the drag queen. Read the rest of the Facebook comments that the singer made http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/opera-lyra-fires-singer-valerian-ruminski-over-facebook-post-1.2747562 (this article was linked to above). He is a hateful person towards all types of people that he doesn’t like.
STATEMENT FOR THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY
By Dustin Hiles
August 28th, 2014
Dear Friends, I’m writing to you as both an artist and proud member of the LGBTQ community. This past week has seen some very intense emotional responses, on both sides, in regards to the hurtful and thoughtless comments made by my colleague Mr. Valerian Ruminski. Having been the original poster of the screenshot which led to the outpouring of support to Mrs. Jade London, both myself and my manager Darya Chrenowski were deeply hurt and offended as we saw an attack on someone very close to our hearts. But after talking with my colleague Mr. Ruminski, I believe his stupid and thoughtless comments were just that and in fact not gay bashing or homophobic. Just stupid mean spirited social commentary. Mr. Ruminski I believe has learned his lesson, being fired from our national opera company as well as feeling the force of which we are willing to defend gay rights and our own community members. He Is extremely sorry and repentant for his remarks and willing to do anything to show our community that he is proud to support and stand for LGBTQ rights. Through myself he has also reached out to Jade, as to make a personal face to face apology for his hurtful remarks. I truly believe he has learned his lesson and I personally am willing to forgive and move on.
STATEMENT TO THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY
By Valerian Ruminski
August 28th, 2014
This is to let every member of the LGBT community, in Canada and everywhere, know that I am now, have been and always shall be in support of a diverse agenda of gender equality including gay marriage and equal rights in all areas of life.
My thoughtless statements were in no way an indication of intolerance towards the LGBT community. If I had taken the time to meet Mr. Jade London I am sure we would have enjoyed an enriching dialogue. I apologize to him for saying anything disparaging about his appearance and his diamond studded nails.
I went on an unthinking rant at the end of a long day which is not indicative of the relationships I have built with people in my life or of my achievements. I can do much better than that.
I promise to be more LGBT aware wherever I go. I also promise to judge no one except by their actions and to be careful of labeling or stereotyping. If anyone in the LGBT community has been offended by my mindless rant I offer an apology and ask for forgiveness. As I stated in my testimonial I have been staunchly pro-gay all my life. But I have not kept my eyes open enough to appreciate diversity in ALL of its forms.
I hope the LGBT community can take the time to read my testimonial and look at my life to see that I have no history of gay bashing or hate talk and that I am, to a large extent, a product of the gay community. I hope they can find it in themselves to forgive me.
A former "friend".
This not the first time Martin has shot from the hip. It’s his trademark. He quite often calls people idiots and morons on his Facebook page and will “unfriend” you for not buying into his political views. His apology seems sincere but he won’t change, But a good singer, that he is.
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