Rockettes will not be forced to perform at Trump inauguration

The Rockettes agreed to perform at the Trump inauguration Thursday but by the next day there was controversy after a dancer named Phoebe Pearl posted a complaint on Instagram saying she was being forced to perform. From the Hollywood Reporter:

Not long after MSG Entertainment, owners of the Rockettes, confirmed their participation, dancer Phoebe Pearl posted a now-deleted message on her personal Instagram account to express her embarrassment and disappointment.

Pearl said: “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”

Pearl’s statement seemed to be backed up by a leaked union email published by which said the dancer’s union was requiring them to perform:

The email reads: “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.”…

The email continues in bolded, underlined font: “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,”

But a short time later the Madison Square Garden company that manages the Rockettes said dancers would not be forced to perform and added that more had already asked to be part of the inaugural performance than there were slots available. From CNN:

“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,” MSG said in a statement. “It is always their choice. In fact, for the coming inauguration, we had more Rockettes request to participate than we have slots available.”

A number of other performers have indicated they will not appear at the inauguration including Elton John, Garth Brooks, Andrea Bocelli and rock band KISS.