Pop singer Ellie Goulding said she will now perform at the Dallas Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Day halftime show after threatening to pull out unless the Salvation Army, a faith-based nonprofit organization, made a “solid, committed pledge or donation to the LGBTQ community.”
The British singer threatened to pull out of the halftime show after her fans wrongly claimed that the Salvation Army discriminates against the LGBT community.
The annual Thanksgiving Day game promotes the Cowboys’ “Red Kettle Kickoff,” which raises money and brings awareness to the Salvation Army’s annual holiday initiative, the red kettle campaign. The campaign seeks to provide shelter and meals for the homeless as well as gifts for children during the holiday season.
On Thursday morning, the National Commander of the Salvation Army, David Hudson, told Fox News that Goulding will indeed perform at the game as planned.
“We’d like to thank Ellie Goulding and her fans for shedding light on misconceptions and encouraging others to learn the truth about The Salvation Army’s mission to serve all, without discrimination,” the statement reads. “We applaud her for taking the time to learn about the services we provide to the LGBT community. Regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity, we’re committed to serving anyone in need.”
Hudson added that her performance will “kick off a season of giving that helps support these and many other programs and services throughout the country.”
In a series of tweets Thursday morning, Goulding didn't address her earlier accusations against the nonprofit, but said her relationship with The Salvation Army is "all love" and thanked the organization for "allowing me to be a part of the wonderful things you do."
"I love @SalvationArmyUS for their amazing efforts and dedication," she wrote.
Goulding first announced she was backing out of the show in an Instagram post: "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, The Dallas Morning News reported. “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 backlash against the Salvation Army came after Goulding posted a photo on Tuesday morning showing her visiting one of its centers in New York.
“The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction and economic hardships through a range of social services,” Goulding captioned the photo. “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.”
On its website, the Christian-founded charity says it helps all people in need, regardless of their sexual orientation.
“Helping those in need is the heart of our mission,” notes the website. “We're motivated by the love of God to meet human needs in His name without discrimination. We embrace people regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”
The nonprofit said any incident discriminating against the LGBT community “is in clear opposition to all established Salvation Army policy.”
“Any person who comes through our doors will receive assistance based on their need and our capacity to help,” it adds. “The only requirement to receive service is to demonstrate need and abide by the rules and regulations set forth by The Salvation Army in order to maintain a safe and constructive environment.”
As a Christian organization, the Salvation Army acknowledged it “has joined other religious organizations in solidarity on issues such as religious liberty and the traditional definition of marriage.”
“While we recognize that not everyone agrees with our stance on all of these issues, we have demonstrated a consistent ability over the years to work with and alongside individuals and organizations that may not always be in agreement with our theology,” it said.
On Facebook, evangelist Franklin Graham condemned Goulding’s threat as “LGBTQ blackmail.”
“Let her back out — that would’ve been my suggestion to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones,” he wrote, adding that the Cowboys have been supporting the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign for 22 years.
“To try to bully any organization because they are based on Christian principles is wrong. Her demand and attempt to intimidate was nothing more than activism run amuck. I’m sure there are hundreds of other qualified, talented singers who would love to perform at this halftime show.”