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The longtime host of “World of Opera,” Lisa Simeone, will continue with the program, produced by WDAV in North Carolina, says Lisa Gray, director of marketing for the public radio station.
Questions were raised about Simeone’s role with the show after it was revealed that she has become a spokesperson for the Washington, D.C.-based “Occupy Wall Street” events.
Gray says Simeone did not violate her agreement with the station, where she works as a freelancer, and she will remain as host.
However, there are “still conversations going on around the show,” related to whether NPR will continue to distribute it.
Simeone, host of “World of Opera” since 2002, does not understand why NPR is raising questions about her involvement with the “Occupy” movement. She tells the Sun’s David Zurawik:
“I find it puzzling that NPR objects to my exercising my rights as an American citizen — the right to free speech, the right to peaceable assembly — on my own time in my own life,” Simeone wrote in an email response to questions from the Sun Wednesday night.
“I’m not an NPR employee,” she continued. “I’m a freelancer. NPR doesn’t pay me. I’m also not a news reporter. I don’t cover politics. I’ve never brought a whiff of my political activities into the work I’ve done for NPR World of Opera. What is NPR afraid I’ll do — insert a seditious comment into a synopsis of Madame Butterfly?”
Zurawik predicts Simeone’s job as host will end as a result of the conflict, which was revealed by Roll Call’s Neda Semnani Tuesday night, then picked up by The Daily Caller and Fox News on Wednesday. Simeone confirms she was fired Wednesday from “Soundprint,” which does not air on NPR but airs on affiliates, including WAMU, based at American University in Washington. NPR says it had “no contact with the management of the program prior to their decision.” Read more