English Touring Opera sacks half its musicians to increase diversity

September 25, 2021, 2:27 AM · The Musicians Union just about nails how I feel about this.

Replies (55)

September 25, 2021, 4:16 AM · Sounds like a good thing to me!
September 25, 2021, 6:25 AM · Why so?
September 25, 2021, 6:35 AM · If they did this by blind audition competition I think it would be OK. Otherwise it seems discriminatory.

I lost my 20-year concertmaster chair in our community orchestra by audition. A young woman who had been in our orchestra while she was in high school returned to town with a college degree in music and violin performance. (It was the first audition ever for the chair - so it was a "setup" and I knew it - but I thought it was a fair thing to do.) It made perfect sense that she won that chair. (She had sat next to me in that orchestra during all her high school years and I was looking forward to the experience of playing next to the fully educated HER. But that only lasted through one concert and then they moved me to principal 2nd.)

September 25, 2021, 7:25 AM · It seems a clumsy and brutal way to achieve their aims.
September 25, 2021, 8:38 AM · I agree that it was clumsy, but this is a freelance group. They have no longterm contracts. They held auditions and chose new players. Who is to say those players are not as good? They may be better.
Edited: September 25, 2021, 10:20 AM · I agree with the MU.

The thing is, the standard of playing required to win an audition is unsustainable through a lifetime. It isn’t even realistic for the standard of playing required to do a job well. Nobody can maintain an audition level of perfection, not if they have a life also. People get married, they have children, they take students, they need to be able to live their lives without constantly worrying about losing their job to a less encumbered younger player. This is not to say that they should be given a free pass on doing their jobs well, but from the linked statement, it seems that the musicians were performing at a high level.

Diversity in an orchestra is a very good thing but should be achieved through a more organic means than firing half the orchestra. Musicians should not be punished for loyalty.

And anyone who gets their job because an older musician was fired without artistic cause should remember that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Edited: September 25, 2021, 11:50 AM · Sounds like a group trying something to put their money where their mouth is and facing the inevitable backlash. Of course, we are getting one particular side of the story here.

I hope the newly contracted musicians are allowed to flourish with the opportunity, and aren't unfairly put under a microscope for the perceived sins of management.

Edit: Susan makes a good point - maybe the orchestra decided that they wanted to improve and needed to greatly revamp, identified the positions they wanted to seek better players at, and then because the talent pool is increasingly diverse and skilled, they had the fortune to be able to contract a new batch of great players. I could see why a union might see that as a threat, as the union represents existing members.

If the Vienna Phil decided to revamp, and all the sudden a bunch of open spots were filled by women, where they once were filled by men (and heaven forbid, what if they were filled by ASIAN WOMEN, or BLACK WOMEN!?), I'm sure there would be quite the backlash, but I would be curious to hear the difference. Of course, the remaining guys could then make a difficult environment for the highly skilled and talented women joining them if they were in their feelings about the whole thing. There are many ways of framing a narrative - Not knowing many of the specifics, I'm choosing to check my OUTRAGE.

September 25, 2021, 10:37 AM · There's so much wrong with this I don't have the energy to write it out...
September 25, 2021, 10:49 AM · there's so much wrong with white privilege, Its pretty much been the norm for Western society, glad someone is trying to make a difference.
September 25, 2021, 11:14 AM · Equality of opportunity or equal results. Choose one.
Edited: September 25, 2021, 11:28 AM · The confounding fact to me is that racism is based on a false premise: that there is such a thing as RACE. THERE IS NOT. The Human Genome Project of 2003 clearly established this. How stupid can people be? (not to get into anti-vaxers) /. .\
September 25, 2021, 11:58 AM · Erin, race may not exist in our genes - that's been pretty clearly established. It's a bit simplistic to say race doesn't exist, since it clearly exists in society and in the minds of most people that live in most societies. It's like saying that a building doesn't exist since we looked in our DNA and didn't find any buildings in there.

Colonial powers made race into the thing it is today in our current societies, and it's going to take quite a bit of sustained and thoughtful work to erase that damage. Various non-white people have had to shoulder the costs of that formulation for hundreds of years, and now a whole lot of people that benefited are loath to examine that disparity, and it's natural that they might want to act as if wiping the slate clean and calling it even is the "fair" thing to do.

Musicians are a particularly vulnerable economic group, and it's unfortunate that the intense competition in the pro music world makes meaningful class solidarity such a difficult proposition.

September 25, 2021, 12:08 PM · This is how it was done:

English Touring Opera has written today to a number of audience members and musicians who have questions about a report in the Sunday Times related to the recruitment of musicians. The text of our letter is below.

"English Touring Opera engages freelance orchestral musicians for seasonal work, on the basis of excellence, in the same ways as singers and technical staff are engaged for seasonal work. For decades, English Touring Opera has worked with different players for different repertoire and with specialist period, contemporary and chamber groups. When players are engaged for a season, they are advised that a seasonal booking bears no obligation for player or company for future seasons.

This summer English Touring Opera held open auditions for orchestral musicians in order to continue to hear the very best artists in this country, and strengthen the broad pool of players on whom the company calls. Panellists for those auditions were Gerry Cornelius (Music Director), Holly Mathieson (Associate Artist), Philip Turbett (Orchestral Manager) and guest Chi-Chi Nwanoku (distinguished orchestral musician, and founder of the Chineke! Orchestra). The auditions were immensely rewarding and exciting; several musicians were offered opportunities to work with English Touring Opera for the first time, based on their ability.

English Touring Opera Director James Conway wrote to a number of players who had performed on tour with the company in seasons 2018 and 2019, but who were not going to be asked for Spring 2022, to advise them of this, to thank them for their work in other seasons, and to indicate that English Touring Opera could ask them to perform in future seasons.

The company recognises that many of these freelance musicians will have been disappointed, but will always treat people fairly and based on their performance over 50 highly talented musicians will be offered contracts for the forthcoming ETO productions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, recognising the pressures faced by freelance musicians and the need to support a vital part of the music industry, English Touring Opera paid full performance fees to all 67 freelancers engaged on our cancelled spring 2020 tour and created a substantial online programme to serve our regular and new audiences and give freelance artists paid opportunities during an extremely challenging time.

English Touring Opera is proud of its commitment to the community of high-quality freelance musicians on which the company depends and welcomes talent from the wide range of backgrounds represented amongst them. We will continue to consider every opportunity to work with staff and artists from increasingly diverse backgrounds, wherever we find professional excellence and know that this ambition will only improve the quality of our performances.

We recognise the Musicians’ Union mission to champion all their members and are confident that the Union will continue to find English Touring Opera a supportive and fair producer."
However - I do agree with Mary Ellen's comments.

September 25, 2021, 12:28 PM · I totally agree with Mary Ellen. Having freelanced in NYC I am opposed to reverse discrimination. I played for about 1 1/2 years as one of the 2 violinists hired to play Annie on Broadway. I quit because I just got sick of playing "Just thinkin' a lot, (followed by a blast of saxaphones)" My career path then changed for a couple of years, then I got married and thought, "well gee, I guess I'm going to have to make some money in this industry to support my family." At that point there were racial quotas imposed on the makeup of Broadway pit orchestras, and there was no way for me to get a job, even subbing. The one exception was playing on stage for a Peggy lee show which lasted for one week. Those of you who have not experienced being a professional musician at the highest level should think twice about what it means to be a professional, freelance musician.
September 25, 2021, 12:36 PM · Thanks Christian; I'm just trying to get the word out. Maybe there is a little difference between denying the existence of a building, and disputing a phony but socially entrenched notion, like of "race" and the corollary, "racism." One loses hope...
September 25, 2021, 12:51 PM · Sure Erin! I agree that the ideal is a world where racial prejudice, whether implicit or explicit, is a thing of the past, allowing everyone to really internalize the constructed nature of race. Of course, how we get there is a tough one. Perhaps by making clear that the idea of race is totally unscientific, and unsupported as a meaningful biological classification, we can more clearly shine a light on the social determinants, allowing us to fight the real battles in creating a humane society.
September 25, 2021, 1:52 PM · This quote found by Andrew Victor is key:
"This summer English Touring Opera held open auditions for orchestral musicians...English Touring Opera Director James Conway wrote to a number of players who had performed on tour with the company in seasons 2018 and 2019, but who were not going to be asked for Spring 2022, to advise them of this"

The article posted by OP seems to only show one side of the story, potentially a biased view. If the statement above is to be believed, then it seems like they simply held open auditions and the people who lost their positions just didn't make the cut. Seems like equal opportunity to me.

Edited: September 25, 2021, 4:00 PM · [] wrote: ""White privilege" is a chimera invented to allow for what is really another kind of racism."

I don't think you mean harm, but unfortunately, this kind of statement denies the lived experience of many people of color that White privilege is very real.

I support freedom of speech and all, I just want to make you aware this statement can be seen as racist. You can decide for yourself what to do with this information.

EDIT: removed name

September 25, 2021, 2:55 PM · Thanks Felix for speaking my mind about certain statements and speeches mean no harm but ignore some very real issues experienced and endured by people of colour.
September 25, 2021, 3:52 PM · Christian Lesniak,

The "Vienna Phil" officially accepts women since 1997, and while they're still the minority their number is growing and they're obviously well accepted. One of the three concert masters is a woman.

You're right, 100% of the actual members are of "caucasian" origin. Still.

Why do you believe the sound might change if more women or people of other "race" would join? It's an orchestra with a distinct tradition of sound, and if the members are changing gradually enough to grow into that tradition, there would not be a difference to be expected. Why should it?

September 25, 2021, 3:56 PM · The press release quoted by Andrew Victor is an attempt by ETO to deflect the significant criticism they have attracted from across the media in the UK and organisations such as the Musicians Union.

Unfortunately for them, they forgot to take down this webpage which invites players to audition on the 19th July (i.e. before they "sacked" fourteen people) but crucially, there is a statement in bold on that page which states:

Players that are already known by English Touring Opera do not need to apply as they will automatically be included in the pool of freelance players

So they told their existing pool not to audition and then claimed that they held open auditions and only invited the best players.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave......

September 25, 2021, 4:00 PM · more whitewashing!!
September 25, 2021, 4:06 PM · Seems as though this sort of occurrence is now commonplace across many countries and organizations. My guess is the musicians here don’t have much protection from their “union”.
Edited: September 25, 2021, 4:51 PM · Nuuska, the sound might change because the much better players would then be able to contribute their superior playing to the phil, which has used its cabal to artificially keep them out. (And I'm far from a union-buster, but it is certainly a matter of historic record that unions have often not protected the interests of minority and female members)

I mean, unless the 15 women out of 145 total members now were able to suppress their natural tendency to not fit "the sound" of the orchestra, I imagine, through a strict regimen of hormone blockers and strenuously imbibing the ambrosia of Jordan Peterson self-help books.

Ann, John McWhorter writes assiduously on many topics which he has no expertise on, and with nothing interesting to say (unless you count a reflexive both-sidesism as enlightening), unless being a linguistics professor somehow makes one an expert. I do too, but no one is lining up to pay me for it (for some bizarre reason). If he really thought words meant something, he wouldn't use them entirely in the service of his sophistry.

September 25, 2021, 4:53 PM · As the kids say: “That’s a bruh moment”.
Edited: September 25, 2021, 7:30 PM · ‘Players that are already known by English Touring Opera do not need to apply as they will automatically be included in the pool of freelance players

So they told their existing pool not to audition and then claimed that they held open auditions and only invited the best players.“

So it was a setup. That’s infuriating.

I appreciate the comments of my fellow professional musicians who understand exactly what I was saying.

It’s insulting to say that the previous players “just didn’t make the cut,” especially with Tony‘s new information. Furthermore, anyone who wants to believe that experienced musicians just didn’t make the cut when competing against younger musicians, if indeed any of them did compete, I invite to please re-read my post above.

I do my job extremely well. I have also been listening to auditions for some 35 years now, so I know very well what it takes to win an audition along with knowing what it takes to do my job. At the moment my job is in some peril, and if anybody is curious about that, just google San Antonio Symphony and my last name and you will find a trove of information (not personal about me).

The thing is, I would never win another audition. It doesn’t mean I’m not qualified to do my job. It doesn’t mean that I don’t play extremely well. It means I am 60 years old and I have a full life, and I no longer have the luxury of practicing six to eight hours a day on excerpts and a couple of solos in order to make everything absolutely perfect. First of all I would have to quit doing everything I do right now that brings in money, just to have a low probability shot of competing with younger players who are just out of conservatory and have nothing better to do with their time than practice eight hours a day. So if my job ends, my orchestral career ends.

Those of you who are young aspiring professional musicians, or are parents of young aspiring professional musicians, I invite you to think about what you said above in 30 years when what goes around, comes around.

September 26, 2021, 1:49 AM · I wonder if they did the auditions blind.

I'd note that a lot of festival/touring orchestras that operate on an annual summer basis are strictly freelance, but there are implications of loyalty even if there's no written first-call policy. Players make assumptions about what they're going to be doing with their summer, and the group has a kind of long-term camraderie despite the lack of formal recurring contracts.

September 26, 2021, 9:35 AM · "Hard work trumps all, therefore some did not work hard enough". But indeed in many, many cases, some have to work extra hard due to many unfair pressures in society. If you do not believe it, you have not lived it.

"But life is not fair!" is never a good comeback, so please be so kind to refrain from using it.

Hard work and talent are not the strict domain of a few, privileged certain groups of people. Privilege does exist. The sooner you understand this, the better for everyone else. Some, if not many overcome these obstacles, but these were not fictional or "made up" by people who do not think like you do-the inequalities exist whether you learn to appreciate them or not.

I understand this does not address the original topic of what is going on in that orchestra. May be "reverse discrimination" (I do not like the term because it is all too often used with "veiled" racist intent-not attacking Mr. Berg personally, and I hope he understands this) but could also be deemed sudden, unexpected change. Not the best of situation for either side of the story.

Ms. Morrill, anyone who has bullied you for your appearance is a jerk, and so is anyone who has misgivings on another for being different than their standard. Do not give in to prejudiced humans. Be who you are, love who you are, and follow your own path, even if it is made more difficult by those with less intellectual and emotional capacity (which sadly, may not be so few from what I see every day.)

Stay safe, and happy practicing to all who do.

Edited: September 26, 2021, 1:28 PM · Lydia, Mary Ellen - you say so much that is strong, fair and right.

The opera company seems to have had some ethical aim in mind, but they went about it rashly and in an unethical way. A certain Italian political philosopher comes to mind.

As an opera fan, I cut my teeth in the 70s thanks to touring opera: the Welsh National Opera, Glyndebourne Touring Opera, and occasionally the English National Opera, whose visits to the provinces always seemed rather patronizing: a thinned-down orchestra and bare-necessities stage.

But I'm rambling - what I want to say is that incidents like this under discussion here inflict collateral damage on audiences. It damages the pure feeling of art openly offered and gratefully received, when audiences know that this loveliest of arts has been the cause of hurt and humiliation. It's a pity.

September 26, 2021, 12:56 PM · Seems like most of our posters think its some big tragedy that white people weren't hired for all the jobs and that deserving minorities got hired as if they don't deserve jobs at all, that's why the fundamental premise of most of our posters is supporting racist ideology
Edited: September 26, 2021, 3:05 PM · Taking down Ann and Lyndon's personal attacks mostly on each other. Please read our Rules for Members.
September 26, 2021, 2:50 PM · Diversity is good. However, the time to address the lack of diversity in orchestras is not at the professional audition level. That's way too late. The time to address it is by getting instruments and teaching to 6-year-olds of diverse economic and cultural backgrounds.

There's another issue here: job security in orchestras, especially freelance orchestras. If you want job security, don't expect it in the latter, and for more reasons than race or diversity. It's like being an adjunct at a college--always assume this semester can be your last.

In the orchestra I left 4 years ago, a small regional, a lawyer on the board got contract language pushed through saying anyone could be fired for anything at any time. In other words, the contract wasn't really a contract--it was a worthless piece of paper.

When new conductors get hired, they usually do with the promise and mandate to "improve" the orchestra. Our management and conductor made a big deal about being seen and respected on a "national" level.
Talk about eye rolls.

People just need to realize going into a career as a freelancer that they can be fired or demoted for anything: the conductor doesn't like their face. I remember in the Nashville Symphony that the assistant concertmaster was moved back because the concertmaster didn't like his bad breath.

All this is why I'm so much happier having my own business. Orchestral musicians have little control over their lives.

September 26, 2021, 3:06 PM · Mary Ellen said:

"So it was a setup. That’s infuriating."

and ETO said

"This summer English Touring Opera held open auditions for orchestral musicians...English Touring Opera Director James Conway wrote to a number of players who had performed on tour with the company in seasons 2018 and 2019, but who were not going to be asked for Spring 2022, to advise them of this"

It also doesn't say blind auditions, so it is a double set-up.

September 26, 2021, 3:37 PM · “Diversity is good. However, the time to address the lack of diversity in orchestras is not at the professional audition level. That's way too late. The time to address it is by getting instruments and teaching to 6-year-olds of diverse economic and cultural backgrounds.“

Absolutely 100% agree.

Edited: September 26, 2021, 4:43 PM · Shortly after he was demobbed from the RAF at the end of WWII my cello teacher was approached by the BBC with the offer of a chair in the first desk of the BBCSO - a plum job in English music at that time. It seems that the BBC had heard about him through contacts in The RAF School of Music. My teacher-to-be surprisingly turned down the offer.

Many decades later his widow explained why he turned down the BBC's offer. He knew enough about the music profession to realise that even a job with the BBCSO wasn't necessarily a job for life, so he opted to keep a number of irons in the fire by working freelance, which he did successfully for the rest of his life. To my knowledge his "irons in the fire" included: running a successful dance band (sax player), running a trad jazz band (clarinettist), conducting a county youth orchestra (a paid position) for many years, being a useful deputy for visiting big-name orchestras and other ensembles who needed a pro cellist or violist at short notice, giving recitals, private teaching, composing, taking night-school classes for returners (a paid job from the local council), and local secretary of the MU.

September 27, 2021, 6:24 AM · Music is a social activity. A form of communication, and one that is often performed by ensembles. It has all of the virtues and vices of our social actions. It can help people, bring them together. It can also be exclusionary, and divisive.

Cliques in music are long-standing. Sometimes they come together to help people. I am reminded of benefit concerts. Other times to hurt them. Music used to support totalitarian regimes.

Excluding people based on their race is wrong. However, in this instance it appears that we have an example of reverse racism. Excluding Caucasians based on their race in an effort to promote diversity.

I believe that these sorts of actions are rooted in the same philosophy that approves of evil actions to ‘combat’ evil. The end result is of course evil.

Edited: September 27, 2021, 6:33 AM · complete rubbish! When its easier for minorities to get a job then you might have reverse racism, as we are no where near that point any effort to hire more minorities just helps balance things out.
September 27, 2021, 12:20 PM · Sacking half the musicians is a great way to sack the morale of any remaining players.
September 27, 2021, 3:45 PM · So what you are saying is if you are white, you should have the special privilege of never losing your job, and minorities don't deserve to have a job too??
September 27, 2021, 6:02 PM · *eats popcorn*
September 27, 2021, 6:03 PM · Jocelyn, Yes, a colleague of mine was fired presumably for working too slowly and the rest of us could see she wasn't doing much worse than we were. After a weekend of angst I trotted down to HR and announced my retirement. It turned out they were hoping this would happen as it saved them money, albeit to the expense of their product.
September 27, 2021, 6:49 PM · Mike pass me some!
September 28, 2021, 1:14 AM · *passes Landon popcorn*
September 28, 2021, 4:08 AM · wait till you get older. You won’t always poop quite so easily.
September 28, 2021, 6:56 AM · Prunes!
September 28, 2021, 8:45 AM · I think tabs should be kept on this orchestra to see if their hiring actually does only increase diversity. Else....
September 28, 2021, 8:53 AM · While ideally we would indeed address diversity at the pipeline level, the fact remains that systemic discrimination occurs at just about all stages of the pipeline.

Addressing things at the start of the pipeline also doesn't help when the profession has so little turnover that it functionally doesn't matter because those who come up through the pipeline can't find open jobs.

Holding an open audition for freelance positions basically clears the board and offers a bunch of opportunities to a new, young, more diverse pool of musicians.

It's tragic that it means that older musicians who thought they were comfortably guaranteed the job, and (for perfectly good reasons) aren't playing at peak audition level, were effectively pushed aside.
But it's notable that we're talking about freelancers, not tenured musicians on long-term contracts.

September 28, 2021, 9:16 AM · Who said the musicians were older??
September 28, 2021, 9:59 AM · Lyndon,
Do you have any experience at all in professional/freelance orchestras?

I've been in many, many orchestras of many different types, and I can assure you that whenever any personnel changes happen, the first to go are almost ALWAYS older players. For whatever the supposed reason--finances, orchestra quality, diversity--you name it.

Also, for those who aren't aware: tenure doesn't mean an orchestra job for life. It just means they have to go through a process to get rid of you. And if they want to, they will. As I pointed out before, this happens all the time when a new conductor is hired.

September 28, 2021, 11:01 AM · Lyndon, the article states that many of the members who are losing their position have been playing with the orchestra for more than 20 years.
Edited: September 28, 2021, 11:56 AM · Thank you Rebecca - good close reading!

To reflect on this conversation: on balance, while differences of opinion here have been quite sharp, there is probably an underlying agreement. To wit - unfairness is wrong; equality of opportunity is an essential aim in a just society; doing the ethical thing is difficult when ethical outcomes are not fully compatible, one with another.

This issue is treated in a very sympathetic Victorian way in Anthony Trollope's novels 'The Warden' and 'Barchester Towers', the first two of his six Barchester novels. (Incidentally, the Rev. Mr Septimus Harding, the warden, is a cellist and what we would call a musicologist, though I don't think the concept existed in the nineteenth century.) These are attractive minor novels: please read them if you haven't. Startlingly though, Trollope emerges as an alarmingly complacent Victorian racist (among other prejudices) in his travelogue 'The West Indies and the Spanish Main'. Same author, but the ethics of the novels are not fully compatible with those of the the travelogue. Life, society, are fully of these clashes.

Perhaps we all need to step back from our keyboards and ponder quietly, to which end I'm offering some listening and viewing material. I don't know how to embed, so it's a link: you may need to get rid of advertising. I hope it works, and that you find it as attractive and inspiring as I do.


Edited: September 28, 2021, 8:44 PM · If current players were prohibited from auditioning, that particular aspect of it seems unfair. As Mary Ellen says, mid-career pros likely don't have the option of dropping everything to prepare for auditions, but it should still be for them to decide.

If someone sets up an orchestra, and they announce that they're going to give annual contracts and hold annual auditions, it seems to me that players can decide whether they want to join that kind of band or not. Likewise patrons can decide whether the group offers a product that's worth supporting. Does the lack of experience and seasoned leadership reveal itself to most audiences?

It's a little hard to imagine a university faculty made up entirely of adjuncts but I suppose it exists somewhere, perhaps in those seedy for-profit schools. And I dare say that there are probably a fair number of students who would not notice the difference.

September 29, 2021, 1:20 PM · "It's a little hard to imagine a university faculty made up entirely of adjuncts but I suppose it exists somewhere..."

You're kidding, right? Many schools are overwhelmingly adjuncts. Maybe that's not exactly the same as "entirely," but from the point of view of the adjuncts it might as well be. This has been the trend for years now. Our local U, for example, has a very small faculty but it seems like they've hired, at one time or another, just about every musician in the area.

The local Shakespeare Festival, which is world-renowned, treats musicians the same way. One year you're in favor, the next you're history. One year, they dumped all the professionals and just hired high school students, although they wanted to hire pros to come in and help the kids with the music. No thanks...

The point is whether you aspire to be an adjunct or a freelance musician (or anything else for that matter), your employment is entirely at the whim of others. We can say "but it's not fair. Auditions should be (fill in here)! This is the way things work, even in full-time orchestras. I was lucky enough to win my very first audition, but one of the people I beat ended up in the firsts and I was put in the seconds. Why? She had a personal friendship with the personnel manager, that's why.

People seem to have this impression that professional auditions, at least in the US, are somehow "fair" and based entirely on merit. Blind? Maybe in the first round, but not always in subsequent rounds. There are often ways to figure out who it is anyway. Orchestras attempt to make it LOOK fair, but it's often what one could call "audition theater." So you're not supposed to wear shoes, not make a sound, yadda yadda.

Here's your one and only choice for freelance work: You do it or you don't.
And BTW: the audience doesn't care.

September 29, 2021, 9:08 PM · Scott, I see your point but music departments at smaller universities are more likely to be adjunct-dependent than chemistry departments at R1's. My department hires very few adjuncts. We have non-TT faculty but they are hired with the expectation of becoming "permanent" (long-contract) employees and they are paid living wages with full benefits.
October 2, 2021, 4:35 PM · Let’s be honest they got sacked because management did not like them. It is true in every field.

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