Ronan Tynan has recorded a lot of classical and pop hits. He may want to consider adding the Pink Floyd song One Slip to his repertoire, because an offhanded anti-Semitic remark is costing him dearly.
The tenor, a mainstay at New York Yankee games who performed at the Singletary Center with the Lexington Philharmonic Oct. 10, was with a real estate agent showing an apartment building when the incident occurred. According to the New York Times, the real estate agent joked to Tynan that the prospective tennant, New York University physician Gabrielle Gold-Von Simson, was not a Boston Red Sox fan.
Tynan’s shocking reply: “I don’t care about that, as long as they are not Jewish.”
Gold-Von Simson contacted the Yankees, who in turn contacted Tynan. As soon as Tynan admitted the remark, Yankees spokesman Howard Rubenstein said Tynan was disinvited from singing at Friday night’s opening game of the American League Championship Series and will not perform again at Yankee Stadium this season. The Yankees are one of four teams remaining in the hunt for a World Series championship, this year.
Since games following the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania, it has been a tradition for Tynan to sing his distinctive rendition of God Bless America during the seventh-inning stretch at post-season games and other special games at Yankee Stadium.
In Saturday’s Irish Times, Tynan said he was distraught, and that his offhanded comment about some other prospective tenants was misunderstood. He told the paper the roots of the comment were in a visit by other potential residents three weeks before:
“Two Jewish ladies were coming to view it and the agent said, ‘They are very particular’. And I said, ‘I don’t know how they will deal with having a singer beside them, practicing all the time. That could be scary.’ We laughed about it.”
According to the Irish paper, his snappy reply was, “At least they’re not the Jewish ladies.”
Tynan, a Kilkenny, Ireland native, told the paper he has never been anti-Semitic and that three members of his band are Jewish. According to the Yankees spokesman, Tynan did call the doctor and apologize to her satisfaction. He also made a contribution to a charity of her choice: KiDs of NYU, an organization that supports children’s health services at the university’s Langone Medical Center.
Tynan also apologized to Major League Baseball Saturday, telling the Associated Press, in part, “Several days ago I made a joke that was insensitive. My attempt at humor was inappropriate and hurtful to the person who heard it.”
Still, the comment has cost Tynan his treasured Yankees gig for this season. The Yankees say he may be invited back in future seasons.
Other impacts to Tynan’s career remain to be seen.