This Orchestra Is Under Fire For A Body-Shaming Email Requiring ‘Slim’ Vocalists

Music is generally assumed to be more about sound than sight, but one Toronto Orchestra went viral for allegedly eschewing this rule in a discriminatory, pointed email.

The Sheraton Cadwell Orchestra sent out an e-mail to volunteers this past week, the Toronto Sun reports, ┬áthat body-shamed several of its participants, calling out two in particular, asking them to “refrain from using tight-fitting dresses” in the future.

“Kindly note that for all future shows … only singers who are physically fit and slim (or, at the very least, those who know how to dress strategically/suitably in order to not bring attention to their temporary physical/dietary indulgences) would be showcased with our boutique orchestras.”

The e-mail, signed “Management,” claimed that other musicians could have a more lenient appearance given that they were “essentially background wallpaper,” and that while “almost all of our vocalists are fit and slim,” two are not.

Aca-scuse me?

Volunteer vocalist Sydney Dunitz posted a screenshot of the email along with her response to it to Facebook Tuesday, where it was shared over 600 times as of Saturday, August 26.

“I am absolutely disgusted with this email that was sent to me and the other vocalists who sing with this particular orchestra,” she wrote in her Facebook caption. “Feel free to share, and riot girl with me.”

In her email response, Dunitz reportedly called out the illogical false equivalence between body size and musical ability, shaming the organization for policing its participants: “This is not about dress code; you have gone a step further and commented on someone’s physicality,” she wrote. “This email is bullying, it is dealing with well-recognized issues that many women have with their bodies.”

In the aftermath of the incident, the orchestra has shut down and management has resigned, HuffPost reports. The orchestra released a statement, writing:

“With our resignation, our financial funding for the Sheraton Cadwell community service project and music training program will also be terminated forthwith with much regret and, as such, the entire organization will cease to exist in due course. We sincerely apologize for any embarrassment/harassment that you may experience from media representatives or other individuals/parties as a result of misconstrued/malicious allegations and extremely negative/destructive/evil intent.”

It’s difficult to fathom how Dunitz’s valid critique of the orchestra’s body-shaming email demonstrates “evil” intent. As ~trendy~ as body positivity has become, anecdotes like these illuminate how deeply entrenched thin privilege is in our society and how far we are from a world in which various body types are truly accepted.



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