Anti-fracking activists relentlessly badgered a Colorado orchestra Thursday for accepting donations from an energy company to send students to concerts.
Activists “bullied and threatened” the Boulder Chamber Orchestra with “inappropriate” Facebook comments, the orchestra wrote in a statement to reporters Thursday. Demonstrators stormed the Boulder, Colorado orchestra’s social media page for daring to accept money from an energy group.
“The activists were using our Facebook page as a bully pulpit for their social media lobbying efforts,” the group added, referring to anti-fracking demonstrators’ efforts to espouse their belief that gas and energy development is akin to murder.
“Extraction Oil & Gas is helping bring #Beethoven9 to Colorado by making it accessible to students,” the orchestra wrote on Facebook. “Come see it May 5, 6, 7!”
Environmentalists with the Colorado group East Boulder County United were not amused with the orchestra’s decision to accept the donations.
“We are calling upon you to immediately return all money you have taken from this lethal corporation and remove all promotion of them from your publications. Make music, not pollution,” East Boulder County United wrote in a Facebook post.. We will expect to see these changes prior to the opening stanza.”
The orchestra eventually pulled the Facebook post promoting the event, citing
“The removal of our Facebook page was an attempt to get control of a situation where our mission statement and our concert promotions were being overrun with negative, contentious, and inflammatory material,” the orchestra’s board of directors told reporters.
Extraction’s donations were explicitly meant to help the orchestra provide high school students interested in the arts with tickets to a concert. The orchestra’s board also noted that it is highly reliant on private donations to fund their concerts.
“Organizations like ours have increasingly been forced to look towards private donations and corporations to help fund our mission to educate and expand the cultural fabric of our city,” the board wrote in its statement.
East Boulder County United, for its part, said the orchestra does good work but chose to get involved with an energy company, which left the musicians open to being razed on social media.
“They are a sweet non-profit, yes, AND they have chosen to accept dirty money and in the process are complicit in the green-washing of Extraction,” the group wrote on Facebook. “Get ready for this to happen ALL OVER Boulder County, by the way.”
Boulder, Colorado’s anti-fracking community has made waves recently with various political stunts advocating violence against hydraulic fracturing, of fracking, workers.
The Boulder Daily Camera, for instance, posted a letter to the editor in April suggesting that citizens have a moral obligation to destroy pipelines and eliminate oil jobs if they violate the sensibilities of Colorado residents.
Editors altered the piece after publication, but left the writer’s basic thesis in place: violence may be the only way to prevent pipeline construction.
His letter still claims, “fracking equals murder” and says blowing up gas lines would be the “intelligent” move. O’Connor implies using violence against pipeline companies is a matter of self-defense.
O’Connor has been unrepentant, telling reporter a week after his April 19 letter that he “wouldn’t have a problem with a sniper shooting one of the workers” at a drilling site.
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