Poor Donald Trump. His team’s having lot of trouble lining up any A-list acts to perform at his travesty of an inauguration. Luckily the world-famous, high-kicking Rockettes stepped up to the stage…Oh wait. No they didn’t.
On Thursday morning, Madison Square Garden, the parent company of the Radio City Rockettes, announced their upcoming appearance at the “Inauguration Festivities” in a press release. There was just one problem. As covered by The Bipartisan Report,
‘[M]any of the Rockettes were outraged to hear that they were booked for the event.’
Among the distressed Rockettes who could not share MSG Executive Chair James Dolan’s good cheer was Phoebe Pearl. She posted a photo of herself dancing with the other Rockettes, with a huge comic speech balloon coming out of her mouth that declared “NOT MY PRESIDENT.”
In the brilliant but now-deleted post — a screen grab of which has appeared in The New York Post and various other publications — Phoebe Pearl vented her anger at being booked for this event.
‘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 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. We will not be forced! #notmypresident’
Unfortunately — as the activist Amanda Duarte and the previous post from The Bipartisan Report acidly mentions — that part about how “we will not be forced” has no relevance when it comes to an administration that has zero respect for female autonomy.
BroadwayWorld.com reported on the Rockettes’ reaction upon learning they were scheduled for Donald Trump’s inauguration…And the stern email the dancers received from their union, the American Guild of Variety Artists (AVGA).
‘We have received an email from a Rockette expressing concern about getting “involved in a dangerous political climate” but I must remind you that you are all employees, and as a company, Mr. Dolan obviously wants the Rockettes to be represented at our country’s Presidential inauguration, as they were in 2001 & 2005. Any talk of boycotting this event is invalid, I’m afraid.’
The email added that this has nothing to do with politics, it’s about professionalism, respect for our country and the Office of the President, and the terms of the Rockettes’ employment. And alas, the full-time dancers represented by the union have a contract that requires them to perform. The freelancers, on the other hand, have the right to turn down a gig at any time…Though given the fierce level of competition on Broadway, that probably doesn’t happen very often.
After her Facebook post above, Amanda Duarte also urged followers to contact the Rockettes’ union and their producer, and many did.
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) December 23, 2016
Madison Square Garden: Rockettes won’t be forced to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Now, Jackie Strause from The Hollywood Reporter announced that Madison Square Garden announced that none of the Rockettes will be required to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration.
— Jackie Strause (@jackiedstrause) December 23, 2016
The statement insists that whether or not a Rockette performs “is always their choice.” And, it smugly adds:
‘In fact for the coming inauguration, we had more Rockettes request to participate than we have slots available. We eagerly await the inaugural celebrations.’
Some of these Rockettes may be part of the group that regularly performs at Radio City Music Hall, some of them may not. But we’ll never know, because President-elect Donald Trump is the king of flim-flam artists, and if they look like Rockettes and dance like Rockettes, they must be Rockettes.
Featured image: Steve Mack via Getty Images.