As if 2016 wasn’t strange enough, the end of this year has seen an ongoing political row over the Rockettes — the dance company who have performed a Christmas spectacular at Manhattan’s Radio City Music Hall since 1932 — and their upcoming participation at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20.
The Rockettes’ owner, MSG Entertainment, accepted an invitation to perform at the inauguration but one dancer Phoebe Pearl made public her misgivings in an Instagram post saying she felt “embarrassed and disappointed” to be dancing for Trump adding “after we found out this news, we have been performing with tears in our eyes and heavy hearts”.
MSG Entertainment subsequently clarified in a statement that performance is voluntary at the inauguration stating: “It is always their choice. In fact, for the coming inauguration, we had more Rockettes request to participate than we have slots available.”
The Rockettes previously appeared at George W. Bush’s inaugurations in 2001 and 2005.
And with the dance troupe going forward with its plans to perform their signature kicks at the inauguration, Trump’s opponents are stirring up a furious call for a boycott. It’s a campaign largely being waged over social media:
— Agirlhasnoname (@mamaofdragonz) December 28, 2016
— Lola6200 (@lrea6200) December 28, 2016
I bought tickets for Tuesday. Not going if they make these great dancers attend that joke of a man inauguration #Rockettes
— Christian Chunga (@ChrisChunga) December 23, 2016
@Rockettes I was going to buy tickets to this show for my family, but not after I’ve heard that they’re performing for Donald Trump. Shame.
— Demetrius Valmas (@DemetriusValmas) December 24, 2016
— Christine Stinson (@ChristineStins6) December 23, 2016
— Mari Johanssen (@MariJohanssen) December 28, 2016
Individually, a choice : collectively, the institution will be tarnished forever. BOYCOTT the Rockettes and Radio City Music Hall. pic.twitter.com/UNMeilkcN3
— Lcds (@lcds2702) December 24, 2016
— Richard Schwartz (@RichardStk1) December 23, 2016
— OSUPhan96 (@osuphan96) December 23, 2016
— Doug (@dsurban) December 28, 2016
— Durham Girl (@durmgirl) December 23, 2016
So we boycott the Rockettes and then the Company will do the right thing https://t.co/Qlus6Bx5B2
— @jlewzingit (@jlewzingit) December 27, 2016
Remember. Radio City Music Hall is forcing the Rockettes to perform at Trump’s inauguration. Think of that before you take this tour.Boycott https://t.co/oEdyTOYINk
— Patrick Hample (@Oldyella49) December 27, 2016
@WeNeedHillary Boycott the Rockettes and Radio City Music Hall.
— Eddy Roger Parker (@eddyrogerparker) December 26, 2016
— Lynn Freeman Scott (@LFScott57) December 25, 2016
@USRealityCheck hey Rockettes if you do this for the president elect Donald scum we are going to go against you you will not lose your jobs
— Greer Barnes (@GreerBarnes1) December 28, 2016
— Jeffrey Newman (@editorjeff) December 23, 2016
Actually, the heat is coming from all sides. The Rockettes have additionally been taking heat from hardcore Trump supporters for the dissenting voices about the President-elect emanating from within the dancing community.
A Rockette, speaking under the pseudonym ‘Mary’, told Marie Claire the controversy has hit Radio City Music Hall holiday attendance sales: “There have been a lot of empty seats this week, the day before Christmas. There aren’t usually empty seats the day before Christmas…why would they want to pay $100+ for a ticket to support someone who doesn’t support all human rights? Women’s rights?”