Ellie Goulding threatens to cancel NFL Thanksgiving show over Salvation Army’s ‘homophobia’

Multi-platinum singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding is threatening to cancel her NFL halftime Thanksgiving show over The Salvation Army’s treatment of LGBT+ people.

The halftime concert marks the beginning of the Christian charity’s annual Red Kettle Campaign, which helps provide food and shelter for the homeless.

Goulding initially supported The Salvation Army, but her followers were quick to point out the charity’s well-documented discrimination against LGBT+ people.

“So sad to see Ellie supporting them,” one fan wrote. “They’re extremely homo/transphobic, literally to the point of letting queer homeless people die. Wish she had done some research beforehand or something.”


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Ok so maybe hairnet not my strongest look but thank you @salvationarmyus for having us in New York. As you know, I have spent a lot of time in shelters in London, and this was my first time in NYC… The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need. I sat and spoke to several people who had come in from the bitter cold for some food (they serve to over 150 per day here) , warmth and perhaps a chat with one of the volunteers. ??

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As more and more of her 14.4 million Instagram followers challenged her on this, the English singer-songwriter reconsidered her position.

“Upon researching this, 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,” wrote Ellie Goulding.

“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.”

Ellie Goulding performs onstage on December 1, 2015 in Dallas, Texas (Kevin Winter/Getty)

David Hudson, national commander of The Salvation Army, defended the charity. “With an organisation of our size and history, myths can perpetuate,” he told NBC 5.

“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.”

However, Hudson did not state whether he would agree to Goulding’s request for a donation to the LGBT+ community.

The Jonas Brothers launching a previous Salvation Army Red Kettle Christmas campaign at the Thanksgiving Day game (James D. Smith/Icon SMI/Sport Media/Getty)

Salvation Army’s record of LGBT+ discrimination.

The Salvation Army has a long history of opposition to LGBT+ rights.

In 2017 an official spokesperson claimed the charity had “evolved on a number of issues“, but actions speak louder than words.

In 2012, an Australian Salvation Army chief suggested that sexually active gay people should be put to death. And in 2014, the US Salvation Army was hit by allegations that it refused to help house a homeless transgender woman.

The Christian organisation is known to have internal policies actively banning gay people from serving as officers unless they remain celibate. In 2016 the UK Salvation Army chief admitted to and defended this policy.

The Salvation Army’s red collection buckets are a familiar sight on the streets at Christmas time (Tim Boyle/Getty)

Several transgender women have reported discriminatory treatment from the charity. One described the harsh conditions she faced at a shelter in Portland, Oregon, including poor physical facilities and unchallenged prejudice from other shelter users.

In 2017 The Salvation Army was at the centre of a legal battle against the NYC Commission on Human Rights after its New York rehab centres refused to serve transgender people.

They were found guilty of discriminating against transgender patients, and were charged with “gender identity discrimination” as well as “discriminatory housing policies”, which both violate the New York City human rights law.

In 2018 the Salvation Army warned its members not to discuss their opposition to LGBT+ rights in public, as further controversy could cause a “threat to our reputation”.

Here’s a few pro-LGBT+ charities you can support this Christmas instead.