It has been widely reported that Donald Trump has been having trouble securing A-list performers for his upcoming inauguration; so far, only the Rockettes, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and an America’s Got Talent runner-up have been secured for the event. However, even with that limited number of confirmed performers, Trump is still having inauguration trouble. That’s because at least some of the Rockettes say they don’t want to perform for the President-elect’s big night.
As The New York Post reports, after it was announced that the Trump inauguration would include the Rockettes, one of the world-famous dancers took to Instagram to share her displeasure about the gig. That Rockette, Phoebe Pearl, posted on Thursday evening that she felt “embarrassed and disappointed” that the Rockettes were performing at the inauguration.
“I usually don’t use social media to make a political stand but I feel overwhelmed with emotion. Finding out that it has been decided for us that Rockettes will be performing at the Presidential inauguration makes me feel embarrassed and disappointed.”
The Instagram post about the Rockettes and the Trump inauguration was posted privately, but it ended up being picked up the Post and going viral. It included a photograph of the Rockettes along with the caption “Not My President!” In addition, rumors that unwilling Rockettes were being “forced” or coerced by their union to perform at the Trump inauguration began to swirl.
“The women I work with are intelligent and are full of love and the decision of performing for a man that stands for everything we’re against is appalling. I am speaking for just myself but please know that after we found out this news, we have been performing with tears in our eyes and heavy hearts #notmypresident”
To make matters worse, Broadway World reported on Friday that they had obtained and confirmed the validity of an email from the Rockettes’ Union regarding the Trump inauguration. Reportedly, the email from the American Guild of Variety Artists was sent out to address the talk of Rockettes not wanting to perform at the event, and it said in no uncertain terms that a boycott of the Trump inauguration was not acceptable from “full-time” dancers.
“We have been made aware of what is going on Facebook and other social media, however, this does not change anything unless Radio City has a change of heart. The ranting of the public is just that, ranting. Everyone has a right to an opinion, but this does not change your employment status for those who are full time….If you are not full time, you do not have to sign up to do this work. If you are full time, you are obligated. Doing the best performance to reflect an American Institution which has been here for over 90 years is your job.”
The outrage that Rockettes were being forced to perform at the Trump event began to explode on social media, and a petition was circulated to exempt unwilling performers from the scheduled January 20 inauguration performance. Finally, the union and Madison Square Garden interjected themselves into the mix, responding to the widespread online criticism.
As NBC News reports, the American Guild of Variety Artists issued a statement vowing that no Rockettes would be compelled to perform at the upcoming Trump inauguration against their will. Additionally, any Rockettes who choose can opt out of performing at the event.
Further, according to the Rockettes’ union, they aren’t having trouble filling performance slots at the inauguration. In fact, they claim to have more willing performers than spots available at the inauguration.
“For a Rockette to be considered for an event, they must voluntarily sign up and are never told they have to perform at a particular event, including the inaugural. It is always their choice. In fact, for the coming inauguration, we had more Rockettes request to participate than we have slots available.”
The union didn’t, however, deny sending out the email leaked by Broadway World. According to their statement, the email was “misrepresented” on social media and wasn’t intended to coerce or force Rockettes to perform against their will. Rather, it was sent out to remind the dancers of “the terms of their contract.”
The statement went on to add that some Rockettes (a small group) that are “contractually obligated to perform at scheduled events.” Presumably, these are the “full time” Rockettes mentioned in the controversial email. According to the Union, these dancers have now been given the option of opting out of the Rockettes’ Trump inauguration performance, as well.
[Featured Image by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP Images]