The Radio City Rockettes Have Been Forced To Perform At Trump Inauguration Or Face Termination

"Rockette's red glare..."

By Jessie Peterson Dec 23, 2016
Photo by Monica Schipper/WireImage
Photo by Monica Schipper/WireImage

The New York institution and precision dance company, The Rockettes, has been drafted by president-elect Donald Trump’s team to perform at his inauguration. Unsurprisingly, this announcement has been mired by controversy with reports that many of the dancers do not feel comfortable performing in front of Trump who has a record of "respecting women." One Rockette, Phoebe Pearl, wrote that she felt “embarrassed and disappointed” by the appointment.

via @phoebepearl / Instagram
via @phoebepearl / Instagram

The troupe’s decision was made by James Dolan, executive chairman of Madison Square Garden Company, in conjunction with The American Guild of Variety Artists, the union that represents that The Rockettes. Broadway World has obtained an email from AVGA that was written by a “high-ranking member of the union’s administration” after there were talks of boycotting the event by the dancers.

"Any talk of boycotting this event is invalid, I’m afraid,” states the email. "Everyone is entitled to her own political beliefs, but there is no room for this in the workplace,” it continues. "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. I hope this pulls into focus the bottom line on this work.”

We’ve provided the email in its entirety below. The email’s “bottom line” is that The Rockettes will lose their jobs unless they perform for Trump. Needless to say that forcing a group of women to perform against their will and are being told that they have no governance over their own bodies is not only problematic but unfortunately very on-brand for president-elect Trump.

"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.

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.

This has nothing to do with anyone’s political leanings (including AGVA’s), it has to do with your best performance for your employer, period. I will reiterate that if Hillary Clinton was the President-elect, nothing would be different, and there would probably be those who would not want to be involved because of her. It is a job, and all of you should consider it an honor, no matter who is being sworn in. The election is over and this country will not survive if it remains divided.

Everyone is entitled to her own political beliefs, but there is no room for this in the workplace.

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. I hope this pulls into focus the bottom line on this work."

In response, a widely-circulated tweet on social media has been making the rounds on how to voice your opinion and contact AVGA directly. In addition, a GoFundMe has sprung up to “cover the living expenses in case of termination” for the 36 Radio City Rockettes from their union obligation.

Also expected to perform at the event are the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and 16-year-old former American’s Got Talent contestant Jackie Evancho. To recap, Donald Trumps' "star-studded" inauguration now consists of a reality TV star, the Mormon tabernacle choir and a group of women forced to dance. It's like The Red Shoes, but worse!