The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts infamously received a controversial $25 million from Democrats in the coronavirus relief package — and just hours later they told their performers that they will not be getting paychecks.
Nearly 100 National Symphony Orchestra musicians will receive their last paychecks on April 3.
In a Friday email from the Kennedy Center’s Covid-19 Advisory Committee, obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, the organization informed their employees that they will not be paid until it reopens.
“The Covid-19 Advisory Committee was broadsided today during our conversation with [Kennedy Center President] Deborah Rutter,” the email says. “Ms. Rutter abruptly informed us today that the last paycheck for all musicians and librarians will be April 3 and that we will not be paid again until the Center reopens.”
Shockingly, the email went out hours after President Trump signed the $2 trillion CARES Act, which was meant to support businesses continuing to pay their employees. The bill specifically says the money was meant to “cover operating expenses required to ensure the continuity of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and its affiliates, including for employee compensation and benefits, grants, contracts, payments for rent or utilities, fees for artists or performers.”
“Everyone should proceed as if their last paycheck will be April 3,” the email says. “We understand this will come [as a] shock to all of you, as it did to us.”
The Free Beacon reports:
“The Kennedy Center, which recently completed a $250 million renovation, received $41 million from taxpayers in 2019, but faced massive deficits after shutting its doors on March 12 due to the coronavirus outbreak. President Rutter went on a media blitz to highlight the cultural hub’s struggles, telling the Washington Post that she would forego her $1.2 million salary during the closure. Members of the orchestra chafed at the notion that they should do the same—particularly because they also face the prospect of losing their health benefits after May 31.”