- The Washington Times - Friday, December 23, 2016

A dancer with the Radio City Rockettes said she is “embarrassed” and “disappointed” for having to perform at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration next month.

Soon after it was announced Thursday that the Rockettes would be performing at the Jan. 20 event, dancer Phoebe Pearl posted a now-deleted message on her Instagram account, which has since been set to private, The Hollywood Reporter said Friday.

“I usually don’t use social media to make a political stand but I feel overwhelmed with emotion,” Ms. Pearl reportedly 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,” she continued. “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”

The union representing the Rockettes, the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA), has ruled out any planned boycott of the inauguration by the dancers, according to an email obtained by BroadwayWorld.

“Everyone is entitled to her own political beliefs, but there is no room for this in the workplace,” read the email reportedly written by a high-ranking union administrator. “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.”

The email didn’t mention any consequences for members who do not perform at the inauguration.

Several celebrities took to social media on Friday to express support for the Rockettes. Director Judd Apatow shared posts from comedian Patton Oswalt and director Paul Feig, who both shared contact information to reach out to the AGVA, THR reported.

“Already sent my e-mail. Everyone else please do likewise?” Mr. Oswalt tweeted.

“No one should be forced to do anything against their will, not women nor men, whether performers or not. AGVA must protect their artists,” Mr. Feig wrote.

The Madison Square Garden Company, which employs the dance troupe, issued a statement Friday denying reports that the dancers are compelled to perform.

“The Radio City Rockettes are proud to participate in the 58th Presidential Inaugural,” the statement said, THR reported. “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.”

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and 16-year-old opera singer Jackie Evancho are also expected to perform at the inauguration.


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