The Austin Symphony and Austin Opera have dismissed principal trombonist Brenda Sansig Salas after a string of comments she posted on social media defending President Donald Trump and blasting black protesters who "deserve what they get."
Salas’ Facebook account appears to have been withdrawn, but screengrabs provided to the American-Statesman from May 30 include the following comments, among others:
"Trump didn’t kill someone, but in your black minds, everything is his fault."
"The BLACKS are looting and destroying their environment. They deserve what they get."
"Trump isn’t rioting. The blacks are. He’d be damned if he didn’t shut down the country."
The response from the symphony and opera, which share instrumentalists, was swift.
"We would like to thank the community and let you know that your voice was heard," Austin Symphony Executive Director Anthony Corroa posted May 31 on Facebook. "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."
Austin Opera General Director Annie Burridge responded as well on May 31.
"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," Burridge posted on Facebook. "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."
In follow-up to its statement, Austin Opera said it had severed all ties with Salas. Her bio has been removed from the Austin Symphony’s website. Attempts to reach Salas for comment have been unsuccessful.