Radio City Music Hall's legendary Rockettes were reportedly sternly warned by their own union not to boycott their planned performance at inauguration festivities next month for President-elect Donald Trump. The Rockettes' union told the dance troupe to hit the stage for Trump or possibly face termination by the Madison Square Garden Co., owner of the famed Radio City music hall in New York City.
According to an email sent to the dancers from their union, the American Guild of Variety Artists, "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."
Per industry news site, Broadway World, the email further stated: "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 and 2005." The reference to Mr. Dolan is to James Dolan, executive chairman of The Madison Square Garden Company. "Any talk of boycotting this event is invalid, I'm afraid. Everyone is entitled to her own political beliefs, but there is no room for this in the workplace," the email further said.
However, on Friday, Madison Square Garden said in a statement that no one is being forced by the company. "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 released a statement after one Rockette had written the group's union asserting that she was concerned "about getting 'involved in a dangerous political climate,'" according to an email from that union. Other Rockettes reportedly have made clear, via social media and to people in show business, that they are not happy about having to perform for Trump. Dancer Phoebe Pearl, for instance, took to her Instagram account to post the following (now deleted) message:
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.