Pop star Ellie Goulding is threatening to pull out of the halftime show for the Buffalo Bills-Dallas Cowboys game on Thanksgiving Day after complaints from supporters of the LGBTQ community.
Goulding was announced last week as the featured artist for the holiday performance, which traditionally marks the kickoff of the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Campaign. She spoke highly of the Christian charity Tuesday in an Instagram post, which also featured a photo of the “Love Me Like You Do” singer in a hairnet volunteering at a Salvation Army shelter in New York City.
But some folks criticized Goulding for working with an organization that they say is anti-LGBTQ. The singer responded with a challenge for the Salvation Army.
“I have reached out to The Salvation Army and said that I would have no choice but to pull out unless they very quickly make a solid, committed pledge or donation to the LGBTQ community,” Goulding wrote in a comment of her own. “I am a committed philanthropist as you probably know, and my heart has always been in helping the homeless, but supporting an anti-LGBTQ charity is clearly not something I would ever intentionally do. Thank you for drawing my attention to this.”
The halftime concert to kick off the end-of-year fundraising campaign has been televised for the past 22 years, featuring such performers as Selena Gomez, Creed, Destiny’s Child, Jessica Simpson and the Jonas Brothers. The Salvation Army has yet to issue any updates on this year’s show following Goulding’s ultimatum.
David Hudson, national commander of the Salvation Army, said in a statement emailed to the Dallas Morning News: “With an organization of our size and history, myths can perpetuate. An individual’s sexual or gender identity, religion, or lifestyle has no bearing on our willingness to provide service. We stand firmly behind our mission to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”
Perhaps the most controversial incident involving the Salvation Army and the LGBTQ community occurred in 2013, when a publicist for a Salvation Army branch in Australia seemed to suggest that the organization believed that gay people should be put to death. The Salvation Army, which currently has a page on its website highlighting its commitment to the LGBTQ community, quickly released a statement distancing itself from those comments.