By Jonathan Turley
“It is a great artistic loss for the Met and for opera.” Those words from the Metropolitan Opera Manager Peter Gelb makes it sound like soprano Anna Netrebko has died or lost her voice in some accident. In reality, Netrebko was cancelled for failing to denounce Vladimir Putin. As with the criminalization of support for Putin in some countries, the termination of Netrebko is an attack on free speech. It is perfectly bizarre for the Met to stand against tyranny by attacking free speech, the very right that combats tyranny in all forms. This is not just the day that the music died for Netrebko, it is the day that free speech died at the Met.
Despite my strong support for Ukraine and condemnation of Putin, it is important for advocates of civil liberties and free speech to be vigilant in calling out such abusive measures. It is during wartime and periods of social discord that the greatest abuses can occur for those with dissenting or unpopular views.
Before addressing this latest controversy, it is also important to respond to rather fowhat has become a rationalization on the left for attacks on free speech in recent years: the First Amendment only protects speech from government crackdowns. The First Amendment is not the full or exclusive embodiment of free speech. It addresses just one of the dangers to free speech posed by government regulation. Many of us view free speech as a human right. Corporate censorship of social media clearly impacts free speech, and replacing Big Brother with a cadre of Little Brothers actually allows for far greater control of free expression.
As I have noted earlier, while liberal writers and artists were blacklisted and investigated in the 1950s, liberal activists have succeeded in censoring opposing views to a degree that would have made Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-Wis.) blush. Rather than burn books, they have simply gotten stores to ban them or blacklist the authors and artists.
For these companies, there is no value to protecting the speech rights of dissenting voices with powerful politicians, academics, and even some in the media demanding more censorship.
Now back to the Met. According to media reports, Met officials “made several attempts to convince Netrebko, who has made statements critical of the war, to rebuke Putin but failed to persuade the singer.” That sounds a lot like coerced speech: say these words or you can no longer sing at the Met. That sounds a lot like something Putin is doing in Russia as we speak. Saying that “well, we are not Putin” is not enough when you are acting in the same way by punishing political viewpoints.
Netrebko has had 192 performances at the Metropolitan Opera and is one of the world’s most celebrated singers. Did she lose the ability to hit such high notes due to the low note she strikes on politics?
Other Russians have faced backlash over their past praising of Putin or failure to condemn him now. One such example is Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin. Frankly, I have never been a fan of Ovechkin not only because I am a Blackhawks fan but he has previously praised this blood-soaked tyrant. However, I would be the first to oppose any effort to bar him from the ice due to his political views (as tempting as they may be at the next game against Chicago). Unlike the Met, hockey officials generally supported the players.
Yet, Gelb bizarrely says “Anna is one of the greatest singers in Met history, but with Putin killing innocent victims in Ukraine, there was no way forward.” No way forward? How about a free speech path where you allow an artist to perform for her art alone. Gelb and others can then use their free speech to condemn Putin or criticize Netrebko without silencing her on the stage.
Netrebko has publicly stated that “I am opposed to this senseless war of aggression, and I am calling on Russia to end this war right now to save all of us. We need peace right now.” Even that statement should not be necessary as a condition for her to perform. Are all opera singers now expected to repeat mantra-like the view of the Met or the majority?
When many artists opposed the Vietnam War, there was widespread support for their free speech rights in opposing blacklisting. The same was true during the McCarthy period. Now, the very same people who celebrate such struggles as defining moments in our history are seeking to cancel artists for their political views. In this case, Netrebko is not even being targeted for saying something offensive but rather for not repeating the position of the majority on the war. Years ago, I wrote that there was a dangerous trend toward compelled speech: “The line between punishing speech and compelling speech is easily crossed when free speech itself is viewed as a threat.” We appear to have crossed that line.
In the end, the Met succeeded in silencing a talented artist because she would not use her voice to support the view of the majority. In doing so, the Met embraced orthodoxy over art.
Libeals reject all that the U.S. Constitution has to offer ecsept for allowing themselves to walk naked down Main Street selling Tickets to their concerts
Outside of the opera bubble who has heard of this woman? None the less she must face the music not sing it. At what point does it stop, it doesnt the left keep goose stepping along.
Here are ten things you can boycott to protest Russia:
1) Your Russian mail order bride: You may have said your vows, but she’ll definitely understand when you tell her it’s important to the war effort!
2) The Russian mob when hiring hitmen: You have plenty of other options, like the notorious Mexican cartel MS13 or Hillary Clinton.
3) Communism: Really, you should have done this long ago.
4) All your Beef Stroganoff Hamburger Helper: Replace it with all-American Cheeseburger Macaroni flavor. Take that, Ruskies!
5) Russian actors: Watch a bunch of 80’s movies, but fast-forward every time a Russian is on the screen. Do not give them the honor of screentime!
6) That one Russian dance where your squat and kick your legs out and shout “hey”: We forget what this dance is called. But stop doing it. Now.
7) Use the term “hurryin'” instead of “rushin'”: These small sacrifices really add up.
8) Buy ten million Adidas tracksuits so there won’t be any leftover for Russians to buy: Actually, this might hurt the Ukrainians too, so never mind.
9) Your vacation home in Moscow: (Bernie Sanders only)
10) Your big red fake reset button: Throw it in the trash. (Hillary Clinton only)
Steve Bannon GOES OFF: “Chrystia Freeland Get Your Ass on a Plane, Get Over There, And Grab an AK47 – Get to Ukraine!”
It has nothing to do with Anna Netrebko. It’s a message to Vladimir Putin, and to the people of the Russian Federation, about Vladimir Putin.
We can damage Putin and the Russian Federation enormously without any need for WW3, which would be as catastrophic for Russia as for anyone else. We can make the cost of what Putin is doing so high that it won’t have been worth paying.
I believe we must try to do so, to be true to our own American ideals and moral principles. If Putin is allowed to get away with destroying Ukraine without paying a crippling price, that won’t be the end of anything. It will only be the beginning. History tells us that.
Biden is financing both sides of this conflict with our tax dollars to Ukraine and our dollars at the pump to Putin. How moral is that? Now that he wants 10B the old Clinton foundation is being dug up from the dead. It is Zelensky destroying Ukraine with his ignorant rhetoric, his immoral bullshit of not becoming neutral like switzerland has been forever. We reward all of Russia by CNN and pornhub being pulled.
You exhibit the same damn logic as you do with the jab, none.
Ukraine is on the verge of losing the entire southwestern territory of the country. Putin will not be deterred. The EU and the west will not engage Putin. Game, set point.
It is hard to believe anything coming out of the biden regime. They lie with impunity daily.
I agree. Let’s sanction Russian oil. It doesn’t matter that your gas prices will go even higher since you’re already complaining about that anyway. Right?
You don’t seem to be able to figure out how difficult Biden’s balancing act is. Or maybe you don’t care. I’ll tell you this: The position you’re taking when the entire world is in peril will come back to haunt you. People will remember. If they don’t, they will be reminded.
And produce our own. Lots of it.
biden will not do that. He is beholden to the enviro wackos
Idiot Biden won’t because he is a gutless, anti-American liar that fears AOC more than he feels dedicated to the American people.
And produce our own. Lots of it.”
I get whiplash from just yesterday. Zero ability to have a stance.
If one of those big, fat Russian convoys was destroyed, Putin would have to pull out. He’s already pulling reinforcements from all over Russia. What if some of our friends began amassing forces on his Pacific coast, where he has drawn resources? What would paranoid Putin do then?
It’s a shame the Ukrainians weren’t supplied with ground support aircraft. That would be beautiful.
Well, it appears to have a LITTLE to do with Netrebko.
Seriously? Greenwald actually thinks canceling the performance of a Russian opera star in protest of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia is somehow the equivalent of McCarthy Era Hollywood blacklisting?
The guy is clueless. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. He could be playing on what he thinks his audience doesn’t know.
Greenwald doesn’t think that.
He’s certainly saying that, unless he pulled two paragraphs out of a hat at random.
I guess you can’t f*cking read, then.
Greenwald didn’t say that, or write it.
greg should slow down in his rambling misdirection posts.
Biden caused this war. NATO caused this war.
Anyone who is blindly calling for intervention (knowing it’s all for show, because they don’t REALLY want or understand what comes with a World War) is just toeing the regime’s line.
Like good slaves do.
HE’S LITERALLY SAYING THE OPPOSITE, YOU TWIT.
Maybe you missed that he’s conflating the two things he mentions. An assumption that they’re somehow alike is the source of his imagined humor.
After over five years of cancelling, firing, and false-prosecuting the Right and the GOP…you can just shut your mouth. It’s already common place to “McCarthy” anyone who questions the Leftist narrative, so Greenwald is quite correct.
If “cancel culture” is all Biden and you Leftist drones can do to help the Ukraine, they have no hope at all.
I’ve reported you to the FBI as a “Russian asset.”
Let’s see if you get arrested just because.
THAT’S what Greenwald is talking about, and it’s not theoretical. It’s fact.
Hope you’re enjoying the war you support.
That statement hides a claim. That To support Ukraine against Putin’s invasion is to support war.
Putin is making the damn war. His military forces crossed a border and began killing people and blowing things up.
If you hit back after someone comes through your door and knocks you down in your own living room, does that mean you’re starting a fight, or supporting fights?
You don’t remotely support Ukraine. We know.
It’s the new hotness for the braindead Left. The latest fad, and completely devoid of any heart.
It’s also a panicked deflection from the simple fact that THE LEFT AND BIDEN ARE REPSONSIBLE FOR LETTING THIS HAPPEN.
It took decades to get to this point. Trump knew how to handle Putin, and you could only take un-nuanced shots at a political rival instead of understanding Trump was the President of the United States and every citizen held the responsibility to support him and office of the President.
Now you fools have started WWIII, and think the rest of us are going to support you and an unelected Biden?
No way. Own your failures, and fight your own war, Captain Europe.
Perhaps I should go get my tinfoil hat.
No, really, I do support Ukraine. It’s a sovereign and democratic European nation, heroically fighting off a tyrant in one of history’s biggest mismatches. It’s David vs. Goliath. Whose side are most Americans going to take in that situation?
It is, literally, the exact same thing. It wasn’t in protest of the invasion. It was in protest of the singer not saying the correct official words.
If the FBI honestly did this, wouldn’t Hollywood be surprised by what they would actually find?
It’s hilarious to see Democrats denouncing Putin’s law to punish anyone that repeats “disinformation” (and of course, those with a Putin-like mindset get to decide what is disinformation) when they have been doing the same thing since Trump was elected, sans penalties as harsh. I think what really infuriates them is their inability to throw them all in jail, not just those they can tangentially connect with Jan6.
I can’t imagine anyone supporting Putin but for those who simply believe might makes right and approve of territorial conquest, but that’s their business.
Fines or fifteen years in prison for speaking out against Putin’s war is not the same as taking away Trump’s megaphone, which didn’t belong to Trump to begin with.
As I clearly said, the penalties are not as harsh here. I wish you would read. However, censoring people who do not say what you want them to say is the same here as in Russia and it is done by people with the same mindset.
In all the years that Comrade Greggie has come here to pimp his Communist ideals, he/she/it has fancied him/her/itself a lawyer, a Constitutional scholar, a virologist, a petroleum engineer and now, lo and behold, he is a military tactician.
This has got to be the absolute dumbest thing he/she/it ever posted on this site:
Our resident useful idiot seems to be under the impression that Putin cares one whit for human life, including the lives of his own people. Or that one side alone can prevent WWIII. And the cost to Vlad Putin? Nothing. And let’s not forget that Comrade Greggie claims to have fought in Viet Nam but now he/she/it seems to want to minimize the cost of a world wide war.
How many times have I remarked that our resident useful idiot has no ideals or moral principles? Now he/she/it’s claiming those standards as if they were his/hers/its from the git-go?
So, follow Comrade Greggie’s “ideals and morals” and there will be nothing but death and destruction world wide. And certainly no FA for him/her/it to spout the dumbest shit I have ever read.
You should read more. Putin is not happy about sanctions. Apparently the world is supposed to do nothing about his invasion—not even make him feel uncomfortable about murdering Ukrainians, and killing Russian soldiers in the process.
Putin calls sanctions a declaration of war as Zelenskyy pleads for more aid
Countless times? You apparently fail to recognize evil when you see it. What Putin is doing is evil. There’s no other word for it.
Sanctions are not causing death and destruction. Putin is causing death and destruction. Sanctions are a carefully calculated, restrained response to a lunatic wearing a nuclear suicide belt. They’re intended to stop death and destruction. What do you not understand about what you’re seeing on your television?
Where did I even suggest that Putin was happy about the sanctions? And yes, the world should do something, but I can garan-damn-tee you don’t have any good suggestions.
And I said they were where?
Ah, therein lies your problem. You are too moronic to research the Ukrainian situation for yourself and rely on your tv where the channels are all left wing, i.e. CNN, MSNBC, CBS (notice how they all have a C for Communism in their names?)
And of course, I’m still waiting on you to answer my questions about Biden using Russia to negotiate with Iran. But you are a coward and probably think that is brilliant on the part of the Klain Klown Kommittee.
We don’t have suggestions. We have concrete actions.
What I have seen on the far right is a complete absence of constructive suggestions—only Monday morning quarterbacking, whining, blame placing, and resistance to any concrete actions, all of which is useless at best, and worse than useless at worst.
Sure we become energy independent now, Pump so damn much we can sell it to Europe. Tell Zelensky to try real negotiations, become a neutral country. Stop Nato expansion. Stop having military exercises with bombers in eastern Nato Europe during a cease fire, court marshal whom ever came up with that brain fart.
Zelensky must kiss and make up with his Russian citizens and disband his Nazis.
You’re now seeing the reason why Ukraine wanted to join NATO to begin with. NATO is pursuing no war of aggression. That’s all Putin. We’re it not for Putin, Ukraine would have remained happily neutral.
Putin has had the same territorial ambitions all along. His social media campaign to promote division and undermine democracy in the West has all been about creating a geopolitical environment where he could get away with this bullshit. The guy’s own people don’t even know what’s real. He has effectively eliminated all Russian media outlets that don’t deliver The Word According to Putin.
The War in Ukraine is the result of bad policies and actions over the course of decades. NATO expanded, very much pursuing its own aims.
And you routinely promote division and undermine democracy, at least in spirit, here at FA.
You and old Vlad would be great friends.
Is he getting closer to your home in Europe? You getting scared?
Lets make the absurd assumption for a minute that Zelensky with his 1.3 billion in a SA bank and fancy mansion in florida isnt simply an installed puppet. That his country isnt chock full of strategic assets just waiting to be plundered. That there are not several level 4 biolabs that were not playing with highly dangerous viruses. That he was asking for humanitarian or economic aid (we have seen the commercials how the elderly live in his country) Would NATO provide this to them?
He cut pensions to about 65 bucks a month while doubling their gas bill for heating their tiny bullet riddled shanties.
Nope its just to absurd.
It must be so, if it’s going around the internet and you see it in many different places.
Though you have to wonder why Zelensky hasn’t fled from Putin’s advancing troops, if he’s nothing but an “installed puppet” with no actual feelings of Ukrainian patriotism.
Some people don’t know the real thing when they see it, and imagine it’s real when it’s all just part of a show.
OMG, are you getting dumber? Who is the “we” you talk about? Do you have a rat in your pocket? What ‘concrete actions?” Name them. Have I missed the change? Is Russia now retreating to Moscow?
Lots of words there, Comrade Greggie but you ain’t saying sh!t. Just vague comments that mean nothing. What an absolute joke you are.
BTW, I’m still waiting on you to answer my questions about Biden using Russia to negotiate with Iran.
But then, you have no cajones so you will never answer. Cowards like you never do.
“We” being the Biden Administration, its millions of supporters, and those other Americans who support efforts to assist Ukraine and be an obstacle to Vladimir Putin. A fair number of the latter are traditional conservatives and republicans.
Yep, and the words actually meant something. They were an observation that you have no useful suggestions. That you have no alternate approaches.
Which also means—since you wouldn’t do what Biden is doing—that you would give Putin a pass.
Oddly, you can’t figure out why you’re increasingly perceived as “the pro-Putin wing of the Republican Party”.
Biden can’t be “we” if he’s not the president.
Your silly move to paint those who are holding Biden and Leftists accountable for this needless war is pathetic.
Biden is not serious about stopping Putin. He won’t. He’s been paid not to, but to posture for the dwindling loyalists like you who still just don’t get it.
And your suggestion is what?
Because if you reject what Biden’s doing, and have no alternative in mind, then you’re left with Let Putin do whatever he wants, without consequences.
What he’s doing is pretty godawful horrible. It’s immorality on a vast scale, taking the form of intentional death and destruction. There’s no justification. There’s not even a convincing rationalization. And it’s not like he’ll stop with Ukraine.
We don’t reject what idiot Biden is doing; it’s simply not enough. Without cutting off Putin’s energy revenues and seriously ramping up our own production, Putin goes merrily along. So, until the idiot Biden stupidity is reversed, it’s a moot point.
That’s exactly what Biden is doing. That’s what Putin counted on when Biden was installed.
As far as you logical fallacy about “what is my suggestion”, the point is that Biden never should have been within 100 ft of the WH again, and our democratic process unto which the People legally elect our President was the best defense against dictators like Putin.
You’re Party’s mean-spiritedness, jealously, and slipping grasp on ethics allowed for an idiot puppet to be installed in DC.
That was the “greenlight” Putin, and Xi.
Decertify the obviously fraudulent 2020 election, remove Biden immediately, and hold a real election within one week…so the Zuckerbergs and Soros’s of the world can’t scheme and cheat and figure out a way to game the election and then say it’s just “democracy.”
We need a leader now, who can make real decisions.
Putin knows that the globalists took over our government, so he’s desperate. You don’t seem to understand that the very presence of Biden in the Oval Office is an attack on the world stage.
And you were hired by the Biden Administration when? Do you think that you have any influence on this administration who hikes his saggy ass to Delaware instead of staying at the White House like he should during what you clearly think is a crisis for the U.S.?
Nope, Comrade. Those words don’t mean sh!t. They are just like all the other words you blather. Meaningless.
And you have?
So here’s the deal; when Ron Klain calls me, I’ve give him my opinion on what he should do since he is, in fact, the titular hear of the county anyway.
No, I would not be sitting in Delaware letting Ukrainians die. But I figure Biden is sweating bullets wondering exactly what it is that Zelensky has on him and his crack-head son. As to giving Putin a pass; Biden did that while Putin amassed his troops on the border of Ukraine months ago. Poor Comrade Greggie; always late to the party. This president is so mentally unstable he gives sensitive intel on Russia to the Chinese who, in turn, gives it to Putin.
Oh, I figured it out long ago, Comrade. It’s because your demented idiot has sunk in the polls to laughable depths and you have nothing else so you call names
I’m still waiting on you to answer my questions about Biden using Russia to negotiate with Iran.
Zelensky has nothing on Biden, except inside the bat cave that’s between Rudy Guiliani’s ears.
I’d believe that if the entire Democrat and globalist cabal didn’t go apeshit when Trump simply asked Zelensky to “look into it”, as a good President should when a former VP admits to a crime on camera.
Democrats used to consider this an impeachable offense. Now, apparently, not so much.
Perhaps one of the stupidest statements you have made. The ONE, more CRITICAL thing the US could do is ramp up energy production and finish the Keystone pipeline. Our own production could stabilize energy supplies and prices, which would hurt Putin’s bottom line. If we replaced Putin’s oil and LPG with our own in Europe, Putin would be finished. Now, answer me: WHO opposes this and stopped it in the first place?
Energy is now a strategic weapon. It has to be leveraged. For instance, aircraft are a great benefit, but they became weaponized. Is it wise not to develop anti-aircraft capabilities or should you rely on others to protect you? If something becomes weaponized and can be used against you, you had DAMNED WELL BETTER make sure it CAN’T be used against you. Putin has weaponized energy. He couldn’t have done that if idiot Biden hadn’t made us vulnerable by dropping our defenses, i.e, ending energy independence, killing the Keystone and strangling production.
When someone f**ks up the situation from the very git-go, it’s hard to “suggest” a way out of the mess. We have to go back to the beginning and fix the f**k up (which is idiot Biden).
Dep, I think you meant to respond to Comrade Greggie, not me, as I did not write that, he did.
Sorry, but you’re wrong. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle or mend Humpty Dumpty once he was broken.
The time to act was when Russian troops were amassing on the Ukrainian border. Not now. But I am of the belief that Biden wanted a crisis in the Ukraine because it is distracting everyone from his negotiations with Iran, again about nukes and crude, and Russia’s help on those negotiations. It’s the standard Democrat shell game. No, no, no, ignore that but look over here.
Biden is not running anything. Get that in your head. Ron Klain is. All of it. Along with all the Obama 3.0 team like Susan Rice, Samanta Power and yes, even the despicable Victoria Nuland.
That was the time when the right was claiming Russia’s invasion intentions were all in Biden’s imagination. Believe it or not, some people actually remember what was being said less than a month ago.
I guess you didn’t get the “Fraud Works” memo, but “the right” isn’t in charge. The corrupt idiot Biden regime is. Indeed, sanctions should have been imposed and the sale of Russian oil cut off as much as possible (along with our own expansion of production) until Putin stood down and moved his forces back to their home bases. Or, don’t you “remember” idiot Biden is in the White House? (we’re all trying to forget it)
Greggie the nazi. What do you not understand about what you’re seeing on your television?
Have you ever heard of deep fake?
Yeah. Over 5 years ago. Weren’t you paying attention?
He/she/it was against liberating the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein. He/she/it is not only a Red and a shithouse lawyer, but also racist and Islamaphobic.
China is going take over America by simply institution it’s policies via paid educators, entertainers, and politicians.