On Thursday, Donald Trump‘s administration announced that the Radio City Rockettes would take part in the President-elect’s inauguration on January 20th. However, soon after the announcement, a Rockettes dancer took to social media to voice her disappointment that she is being forced to perform at the inauguration by her union.
In a since-deleted Instagram post, dancer Phoebe Pearl wrote, “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.”
According to Broadway World, the Rockettes’ union, American Guild of Variety Artists, sent an email to dancers informing them that full-time employees are “obligated” to perform at the inauguration despite the dancers’ political beliefs. The dancing troupe previously performed at the 2001 and 2005 inaugurations of George W. Bush. The AGVA also warned that a boycott is “invalid.”
“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,” the AGVA wrote in their email. “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.”
The Madison Square Garden Company, which owns the Rockettes, said, “The Radio City Rockettes, an original American brand, have performed at Radio City Music Hall since 1932 and, as treasured American icons, have taken part in some of the nation’s most illustrious events such as Super Bowl halftime shows, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parades and presidential inaugurations, including in 2001 and 2005. We are honored that the Rockettes have again been asked to perform in the upcoming inauguration festivities.”
In a statement sent to Rolling Stone, the MSG Company added, “The Radio City Rockettes are proud to participate in the 58th Presidential Inaugural. 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. We eagerly await the inaugural celebrations.”
Amid rumors that the Trump administration is having difficulty recruiting marquee talent for the inauguration festivities, Trump tweeted Thursday night, “The so-called ‘A’ list celebrities are all wanting tixs to the inauguration, but look what they did for Hillary, NOTHING. I want the PEOPLE!” Currently, the Rockettes, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and America’s Got Talent singer Jackie Evancho have been announced to perform at the event.