A source close to the opera star Andrea Bocelli has confirmed that he backed out of singing at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration after receiving death threats and not because fans threatened to boycott his music as previously believed, a new report claims.
The Daily Mail reported that a source close to Bocelli said that the 58-year-old blind Italian tenor decided to cancel plans to perform at Trump’s inauguration not because of the threats to boycott his records and concerts, but because he received threats to his life.
The source claimed that he initially resolved to “press ahead” after receiving death threats. But he eventually took advice from his security team to drop out of the ceremony. His security advisers reportedly told him that appearing at the political event was “simply not worth the risk.”
“Andrea is very sad to be missing the chance to sing at such a huge global event but he has been advised it is simply not worth the risk.”
When rumors first emerged on social media earlier in December that the 58-year-old blind tenor, a friend of Trump’s, had agreed to appear at Trump’s inauguration ceremony scheduled for Friday, January 20, the hashtag #BoycottBocelli took off on Twitter, with fans of the singer expressing anger and disappointment. Some urged the singer not to perform but thousands more threatened to boycott his record releases and concerts.
When news emerged later that the famous opera singer, a crossover Italian tenor who has sold more than 80 million records worldwide, had backed out of the planned appearance, it was claimed widely that the decision was due to threats by fans to boycott his records and concerts. Multiple media reports claimed at the time that the famous singer and songwriter backed out of plans to perform at the inauguration after a massive “backlash” on social media.
The reports claimed that Trump had approached Bocelli and asked him to perform at his inauguration. Bocelli reportedly agreed, but changed his mind after rumors about the planned appearance spread on social media and sparked a huge backlash.
Sources close to the singer allegedly claimed at the time that Bocelli had decided not to perform at the inauguration because he was “getting to much heat.” But other sources claimed that it was Trump who called his friend and advised him to cancel the planned appearance due to the unfavorable reaction on social media.
But the chairman of Trump’s Presidential Inaugural Committee, Thomas J. Barrack Jr., released a statement that conflicted with the media reports and rumors on social media. According to CNBC, Barrack said that Trump had not asked Bocelli to perform. On the contrary, it was Bocelli who offered to perform at the inauguration. However, Trump told his friend that he did not require him to perform and that regardless of his decision he would be still be welcome at the White House.
The latest claim that Bocelli decided to drop out of Trump’s inauguration due to death threats comes after Jennifer Holliday, an award-winning Broadway singer, announced her decision to pull out of the inauguration ceremony. The decision came after sustained backlash on social media. Holliday, known for her performance of Effie White in the 1980s Broadway musical Dreamgirls, had insisted initially in the face of criticism and attacks that she would sing at the ceremony. Before she eventually backed down under pressure she had denounced the attacks against her, saying they were an assault on her freedom of speech. She pointed out that she decided to sing at the inauguration despite not voting for Trump.
But in a statement released after she decided to shun the inauguration, she explained that when she took the decision to perform at the event she had not realized that people would interpret it as a “political act” and an expression of support for Trump. She also issued a statement of apology to members of the LGBT community who had vehemently opposed her decision to perform at the inauguration.
“My only choice must now be to stand with the LGBT community and to state unequivocally that I will not perform for the welcome concert or for any of the inauguration festivities,” she said, according to the Independent.
Holliday had previously performed for Bill and Hillary Clinton, former President George H.W. Bush and his son, the former President George W. Bush.
The list of singers and entertainers who have declined to perform at Trump’s inauguration is a who’s who list for the entertainment industry. Celine Dion, Elton John, Garth Brooks, Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, Kate Perry, Jennifer Lopez, Jon Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga, Chainsmokers, Ice T, have all said they would not appear at the ceremony, according to Heavy.
Only a small group of singers have publicly accepted invitation to perform. They include Jackie Evancho, America’s Got Talent winner, and the country singer Toby Keith.
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