The LGBT "Out at the Park" event at Petco Park turns into mass homophobia
The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus (SDGMC) didn’t get a chance to sing the National Anthem at The annual “Out at the Park” event at Petco Park on Saturday, instead their microphones were turned off, and the Padres played a recording of a female in their place, then they were subject to homophobic slurs as they left the podium.
SDGMC said in a statement that all of the volunteers were at the ready to sing the anthem, but crowds had to listen to the woman’s recording instead.
Further it is reported that the Padres didn’t attempt to stop the pre-recorded track and allowed it to play in full.
According to a statement from the SDGMC the entire chorus was led off stage and endured a multitude of homophobic slurs throughout their exit. “You sing like a girl,” was reportedly heard coming from the stands.
The Padres released an apology via Twitter about the incident:
“This evening during the pre-game ceremony a mistake was made in the Petco Park control room that prevented the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus from performing the National Anthem as scheduled. We apologize to anyone in the ball park who this may have offended, and have reached out to the chorus to express our deep regret for the error.” - San Diego Padres
Days prior to the game the SDGMC says that the Padres organization tried to prevent the choir from performing by having the cast pay for their tickets in order to sing, something they say was never discussed and would have cost the small organization thousands of dollars.
The team eventually agreed to let the chorus perform, but made no mention of the pre-recorded female track according to the statement.
In the aftermath of the event, the SDGMC is calling for a full, transparent investigation into the San Diego Padres and Major League Baseball, to discover if the call to play the canned anthem was intentional or merely a mistake.
San Diego Padres President and Chief Executive Office Mike Dee has reached out to the chorus and offered an apology. He will meet with organization leaders to discuss the incident further.
The Padres did reach out to the SDGMC with a statement, but failed to address the 100 members of the chorus and their families who were embarrassed and verbally attacked.
"Out at the Park" is an annual San Diego LGBT social event that brings the community together for an evening of baseball. This is the first time that the SDGMC has experienced backlash from fans and the Padres.
San Diego Gay and Lesbian News has reached out to SDGMC Executive Director Bob Lehman as well as the Padres for statements, however we have recieved no response at this time. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.
A video of the event has been made available by Facebook user Dan England HERE.
UPDATE: Executive Director of San Diego Gay Men's Chorus made this personal statement to SDGLN, "We were founded 31 years ago to fight for social justice--to be heard loud and proud as openly gay men. Last night, our voices were silenced, but out of this we will be heard even louder than ever before."
UPDATE: There seems to be some question over the validity of Executive Director of San Diego Gay Men's Chorus, Bob Lehman's accusations concerning the use of homophobic slurs at the ballpark. In order to clarify exactly what the choirmembers heard as they walked off stage, SDGLN contacted Lehman and he said the following:
"The area we were walking by was around the Western Metal Building as that's where we lined up. I'm not sure which fans were seated in that area. But I can assure you, based on many emails and personal conversations, that our guys heard the comments and it was devastating. Maybe the people who didn't hear the comments were too far away...also I know some of our guys were a bit in shock at the time. I know I was. As for being attacked on a homophobic level, yes, definitely hearing people say we, a group of gay men, sang like girls is a homophobic statement."
Lehman also tells us that even though there is a pre-recorded track submitted by the choir by request of the Padres, the SDGMC sings aloud as the file is playing over the speakers.
This story has been updated to include the Padres' Twitter apology.
The below video is from a previous "Out at the Park" event in 2015: