Opera singer who insulted drag queen on Facebook is fired

American opera singer Valerian Ruminski has been removed from the cast of an Opera Lyra production of Puccini's Tosca after posting a photo and comments about a drag artist on Facebook.

Ruminski used Facebook to post a picture of a man on a bus in Ottawa, Samnang Tep (also known as drag queen Miss Jade London), and accompanied it with a critique of the man's appearance, specifically his fingernails.

He wrote: "Look at the stupid nails this moron had on while taking a bus in Ottawa. I guess he needs diamond studded nails to make up for his face."

The post, which was screen-grabbed by other social media users, has attracted a hail of criticism over Ruminski's comments.

The screen-grabs show Ruminski attempting to explain his original posting: "He is ASKING for criticism by parading his choices in front of everyone."

The man in the picture, Samnang Tep, told CBC News: "I almost broke down in tears to be honest, I didn't think someone would be that hurtful on social media — especially from a celebrity."

Ruminski posted a lengthy statement on his website regarding his Facebook post, saying: "I did not know him. I did not know if he was smart or witty or dull. I didn’t take the time to say hello or greet him. I didn’t take the time to pause and think and consider that we are all special and that this person was different in a way that was unique to everyone else around us."

He concluded the statement with an apology: "I am Valerian Ruminski, opera singer, hetero male, orphaned son, liberal, progressive, tolerant and accepting of all. But I made a big mistake last week. Please forgive me."

Opera Lyra's director Jeep Jeffries said he was "disappointed and appalled."