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Opera writer may take legal action over council’s ‘defamatory’ statements

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  1. As someone who self-identifies as queer, I am rather offended that the school considers the term queer to be offensive. I know some LGBT people still find the term offensive, but I thought it was fairly widely accepted that the term has now been reclaimed, in such usages as “queer theology” and “queer theory”.

  2. yes the opera needs to take legal action against the other for defamation, in one the highest forms, these wicked abusive people put out highly flammarotory lies, about people to harm them emotional that many times leads to physical harm and even murder because of their hate words and messages, yes, the opera needs to take legal action, and this person hight reprimanded, because if not these types of abusers continue to instigate hate crimes and action onto victums, leading to high crimes,

    1. I have a better idea, why don’t gay sex activists just write plays that are more suited to a mature audience (14+) WHY , WHY WHY! This fascination with pre-pubescent boys?
      This is totally perverted.

      1. @Pepa

        a) The theme of the opera is not homosexual or have any sexual activity in it whatsoever
        b) The council who made allegations that were (unsubstantiated) about sexual conduct etc have withdrawn those comments as they recognised they were inaccurate
        c) The time the one exchange (surrounding the use of the word “queer”) was used in the opera there were no children on stage.
        d) It was an opera aimed at an all age audience

        Your comments bear no reflection of the facts (but thats not uncommon for you!)

  3. Lucio Buffone 7 Jul 2011, 4:26pm

    Why is your picture of an American school?

  4. I hope they do sue the hateful people who say hateful things about a story of a boy who only wanted to dance. Get all the money they can and take the opera all around the world and support gay rights and the freedom of gays to be gay in a world where gays have live since God started creating man, gay man and straight.

    1. Staircase2 8 Jul 2011, 1:57am

      You know this isnt Billy Elliot right?

  5. Scott Rose 7 Jul 2011, 5:22pm

    It seems apparent that the school administration acted with anti-gay hysteria, did not expect international criticism for its anti-gay hysteria, and is now attempting to save face. They pronounce themselves “delighted” with the changes to a few lines, but, those changes are trivial and do virtually nothing to change their substantive meaning.

  6. This article rather misrepresents the teacher’s qualm with the play. The way the paragraph is phrased suggests she was an anti-gay/socially-conservative/’what about the children?!’ sort, where her issue was that the portrayal of homophobic bullying could encourage it out of context. Which i think is a legitimate perspective.

    1. Did i miss this ?
      Did you read this ?
      “An earlier statement by the council’s head of improvement and learning, Mike Furbank, said that “of particular concern and offence was a character who groomed and abused children in his early days in Ibiza”.

      The council quietly retracted the comments ….!!!

      I feel Emma Hobbs has point with reguard to age appropriate like it or not Perhaps she could make up for this by inviting the anit bullying campaign to her school who would diliver work that is age appropriate ???
      As for Mr Furbank he has a lot to answer Was he or did he talk on behalf of the council or was this his own stand point ???

    2. The Headmistress’s assertions to her local paper appear to dissemble what, according to Lee Hall, appears to have occurred. I understand that she wanted all references to the character being ‘gay’ removed and the emphasis placed on his being attacked by the youths in the play because he was elderly. She also asserts that she was not consulted on the text and her attempts to discuss them were thrawted. Lee Hall states that this is not true and that the composer mets her on several occassions. A libel action would allow the facts to emerge. The obvious question regarding the paedophile assertion is why did Furbank make this very serious allegation? Was this allegation made by the Headmistress or was this his own misinterpretation of the libretto? You can read Lee Hall’s side of events via the link: http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/savetheopera?ap=1

  7. burningworm 7 Jul 2011, 6:28pm

    The writer, the school, East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Opera North have behaved terribly.

    What has been said, back and forth reminds me of parents arguing in front of their children. Its a disgrace. Now the maneuvers are legal. Once again, disgraceful.

  8. I am disgusted by this council and this school. Sounds like a horrid place to live and a disgusting place to be educated.

    Nothing wrong being queer.

  9. “homophobia does not exist in our organisations” – rather than simply deny homophobia exists (which seems pretty ignorant and highly unlikely) it would better if they stated their commitment to really tackling it whenever it occurs.

  10. I actually like the new lyrics better. I dislike the word ‘queer’. It may be a generational thing as well as a political difference, and I understand Yewtree’s perspective, but ‘queer’ for me was a word born in hate and can’t be ‘reclaimed’.

    1. Staircase2 8 Jul 2011, 1:59am

      I dislike the new lyrics – the original ones scan far better and have a far stronger meaning.
      As I’m now getting tired of saying: ‘Queer’ has been used now for 30 years at least, people…
      You’re all acting as if its a new fangled experiment in gay language which only took place a couple of minutes ago….Whereas its been in use since the mid-late 80s at least…

      1. True, Staircase, but that doesn’t mean that we all have to like it or use it to describe ourselves, as I’m sure you’d agree.
        I don’t know about the scanning of the lyrics, but I too prefer the word ‘gay’ to ‘queer’ personally. But I don’t see why this explained the action of the school in withdrawing originally. It doesn’t seem to make sense. I’ve never heard a child use the word ‘queer’ but ‘gay’ is used to mean ‘rubbish’ far too often, so if the school objected to bullying language you’d think the former would be preferable to them.
        This is a strange story and whoever is to blame, it seems so unnecessary and, well, childish.

  11. “defamatory” comments?
    Grow up for gods sake, not everything revolves around homosexuals.

    1. I completely agree Matt. We’re about 5% of the population but the way people go on and on about us makes me think we’re 95%. Why can’t people leave us alone and let us just have equality like the rest of the population?!

  12. Michelangelo 8 Jul 2011, 10:33am

    How on earth can someone defame a fictional character!?

    I think this writer needs to rejoin the real world.

    It is entirely obvious to most rational people that the school only had a problem with the word “queer” – which (“queer theory” or not) is still a highly provocative and offensive term. I am sure that any decent school would act in the same way if the “N” word was used in relation to a black man / woman.

    I have no idea whether or not the character in the Opera groomed boys for sex, as I hadn’t even heard of the play until two or three days ago. But, it is important to note that it’s not real – it’s fiction, isn’t it?

    Until recently, lots of commentators would refer to Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice as a “homoerotic” or “gay”. Many of these commentators were gay themselves. But the boy in that book is a 12 or 13-year-old, whilst the adult is a man nearing death and semi-retired.

    1. As I read it, the character was not the one being defamed. The writer’s objection was that the Council had allegedly misrepresented his opera by saying it was about a paedophile (and so trying to justify the school’s withdrawal). If that is incorrect, then spreading this false information is clearly wrong – especially inflammatory mis-information like this which could stir up anger.

  13. It really gets my goat when people use the “protecting children” argument – they don’t realise that children who think they might be gay, or who are perceived as gay, really do need protection and yet they get none. I remember as a gay teenager thinking I was the only gay person in the world and that what I felt was wrong and made me a bad person. I wouldn’t have felt like that if I had received the protection which people claim children need.

    1. Absolutely right, Helen S. That awful sense of isolation that some gay teens feel is horrible – and so very sad. No-one should have to feel like that.

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