May 21, 2016


Pittsburgh Police Are Planning On Boycotting Beyoncé

Larry Busacca/PW/WireImage
Larry Busacca/PW/WireImage

Hey, Beyoncé: You're set to make a small fortune over your "BOYCOTT BEYONCÉ" t-shirts, as it looks like a some cops in Pittsburgh could be getting several as passive-aggressive gifts in the days leading up to your May 31 tour date.

Since Beyoncé's fantastic Super Bowl half-time show rendition of "Formation" in February, law enforcement officials have voiced their discontent with what they interpreted to be anti-police rhetoric in both the live performance and video for the track. The Miami Police Union voiced their outrage, as did the oh-so-meager amount of people who showed up at NFL headquarters to protest Beyoncé's "Formation." Now, Pittsburgh police are saying that their union will file a labor complaint should they be forced to work the singer's Formation World Tour stop at Heinz Field on May 31.

The Fraternal Order of Police's president, Robert Schwartzwelder, said that the union isn't officially taking an anti-Beyoncé stance; he clarified that plenty of officers are, and have been posting on the FOP website that they shouldn't have to work the show. The Formation Tour stop falls under the jurisdiction of "secondary employment," meaning that on-duty officers shouldn't have to report to Heinz Field for detail as it's a voluntary shift, and one that isn't bank-rolled by public funds, at that. The opposing officers are saying that they shouldn't have to work Beyoncé's concert as an on-duty assignment based on this logic—i.e. they should be able to turn down an assignment that's a voluntary one, by definition—but Pittsburgh police chief Cameron McLay told Pittsburgh's WTAE that officers on duty will be working Heinz Field, and that they "have things covered" in regards to a potential boycott.

Despite some grumblings in their ranks, it seems like the Pittsburgh police force, ultimately, wants to keep things safe for the fans who plan on attending Beyoncé's concert at Heinz Field, impending boycott or not. 

"I don't get involved in controversy, I just get involved with public safety," assistant police chief Scott Schubert told WTAE. "So we just need to make sure we have the appropriate public safety there for any event that we do."