The San Diego Gay Men's Chorus have released a statement expressing their outrage after being heckled during a US baseball game over the weekend.
According to The Telegraph
, the 100-man choir were "invited to perform in an effort by baseball organisers to improve the sport's outreach to San Diego's LGBT community."
However, as they were due to perform at the stadium of the San Diego Padres a recording of a female singer played out over them, forcing the choir to stand in silence as fans reportedly hurled abuse at them.
The Major League Baseball's vice president of social responsibility and inclusion, Billy Bean, has called the incident a "technical error", but the choir have been left outraged at the way they were treated, and claim that something more sinister may have been at work.
"No attempt was made to stop the recording and start over. No announcement of apology was made to the singers or their friends and families in the stands. No attempt to correct the situation occurred other than to force the 100 men to stand in the spotlight of center field for the song’s duration and then be escorted off the field to the heckles of baseball fans shouting homophobic taunts including 'You sing like a girl'," the choir say in a statement posted to their Facebook page.
They add: "This incident followed several days of troubling comments and behavior within the San Diego Padres organization... With this as background, we call on the San Diego Padres and Major League Baseball to immediately launch a full and transparent investigation into the incident to determine if someone or some people intentionally engaged in anti-gay discrimination or a hate crime by playing a female’s voice to represent a group of gay men with the purpose of denigrating and/or ridiculing gay men.
"The historic significance of such an act is not lost on the LGBT community - especially in relation to professional sports - and added to the depth of embarrassment experienced by the singers and their families."
The Padres have responded by saying they had conducted an internal probe and concluded that there was "no evidence of malicious intent", but the organisation faulted staff for not immediately intervening and correcting the situation, the LA Times reports
"We once again sincerely apologize to members of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, their families and those who came out to support their Pride Night performance," the club said.
"The Padres organization is proud of our longstanding commitment to inclusion – within both our sport and our community. We deeply regret that a mistake on our part has called this into question, but accept full responsibility."
Read the full statement from the San Diego Gay Men's below:
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