In a since-deleted tweet, singer Taylor Dayne attempted to defend herself for being among the performers at a crowded and mask-less New Year's Eve party at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump's Palm Beach, Florida, resort.
"I'm saddened by all this. I have a 30 year careers [sic] … [and] many diverse friendship[s] … I try to stay non political and non judgmental and not preach," the Long Island Music Hall of Famer, 58, wrote early Saturday morning. Replying to criticism from author and memoirist Josh Sabarra, one of many who posted a screengrab of her tweet, she added, "I sing from my heart purely…. I wish for all to be who they need to be and find their way."
"You've no reps who suggested that this may alienate fans?" responded Sabarra, 45, who had noted both the coronavirus pandemic and what he called the crowd's antipathy toward gays, long an audience of Dayne's. "And saying 'but I have friends who are diverse' is perhaps the most offensive answer. Not to mention, attending a large, maskless event in these times is a slap to those doing their part to keep others safe."
"You were at a super spreader event while many of us sat at home," wrote another commenter. "I'm trying to protect my elderly parents while you're being irresponsible." Said another, "Decisions have consequences and she made a poor decision to play in a super spreader event."
Florida as of Jan. 3 has accounted for nearly 22,000 of the more than 351,000 American deaths from COVID-19. The state's infection rate has increased 24 percent over the past 14 days, the number of hospitalizations 26 percent, and the number of deaths 10 percent. Florida state law does not require face-coverings or limit the size of indoor gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While Palm Beach County does have local ordinances, state law forbids enforcement.
Other Twitter commenters addressed what they called Dayne's insensitivity toward her gay audience. "Hope it was worth it. You betrayed us," wrote one. " Good luck booking Pride events after this!" wrote another. One commenter said, "If you're singing for anti-LGBTQ people, maybe you need to rethink your life choices."
Among those decrying Dayne and others who performed at the event were comedian Kathy Griffin, actors Kirk Acevedo and Alicia Witt, and "Mrs. Doubtfire" screenwriter and "Mad About You" revival executive producer Randi Mayem Singer.
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A few commenters defended Dayne, with one writing, "Really? Complaining about who she performs for? Heavy sigh. Damn snowflakes."
Donald Trump Jr., who celebrated his 43rd birthday New Year's Eve, posted a Facebook video from the event showing Vanilla Ice performing. Another widely circulated video shows both Vanilla Ice and Mike Love of the Beach Boys performing. Terri Nunn of the band Berlin also sang. Neither the President nor First Lady Melania Trump attended, although former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani, now an attorney for the president, and Fox News host Jeanine Pirro were among those who did.
Dayne, born Leslie Wunderman in Manhattan before moving to Long Island at age 2, was raised in Baldwin and Freeport, and has lived as an adult in Long Beach and Lloyd Harbor. Her 1980s and '90s dance hits include "Tell It to My Heart," the title of which became that of her 2019 memoir.