There’s still discord amongst the Rockettes.
Since the Rockettes are performing at Trump’s inauguration, at this point most likely with a Frank Sinatra impersonator and a very charismatic broom, there has been trouble in the dance troupe. At first, full-time members would have to perform whether they liked it or now, but now they can opt out if they like. But there will still be Rockettes at the ceremony.
Now, an anonymous member of the group leaked comments to Marie Claire from a private meeting with the Rockettes and their boss of sorts, Madison Square Garden chief executive James Dolan.
In the meeting, Dolan explained his reasoning behind this controversial performance, saying that the Rockettes are an American institution and this is an American event. When a dancer asked if ties to such a divisive political figure would hurt the brand name, Dolan wasn’t worried about it. “A good portion of people voted for this person. Hopefully they will like our brand. If 1% of 1% of them come to our show, we’re going to do great.” So, as long as racists buy Radio City tickets, all is well.
Other staff members spoke up about the backlash they’ve received now that this innocuous American group has become politicized.
“We were #1 trending on Twitter and it’s just really hard to see, especially our faces being likened to Nazis,” she said. Dolan said he hadn’t seen any hate from the pro-Trump side but the performer replied, “I’ve had people messaging me: ‘Just shut up and dance.'”
At the end of the day, James just wants everyone to get along. Another dancer spoke of the backlash from the theater community who’ve “really suffered this past election cycle from this hate.” Dolan retorted,”How can they be your friends if they’re not tolerant of a different opinion?”
One Rockette said “…it just sounds like you’re asking us to be tolerant of intolerance…” to which Dolan replied, “yeah, in a way, I guess we are doing that. What other choices do we have? What else would you suggest?”
Tolerate Intolerance. Quite a slogan. Sounds like Dolan might be running for office soon.
James wrapped up the 40 minute meeting with this:
“If I was to give you a little…what is it, a sound bite? Right?…I would simply say, we’re celebrating a new president, not necessarily this president.”
These inspirational words were met with silence and the dancers left the meeting not likely feeling any better than before it began.
Dolan also added that he fully expected the Rockettes to perform for the 4th of July and that the “opt out” option would never be allowed again. If there’s anything I want to see to celebrate our independence, it’s certainly fake smiling dancers forced to be there against their will.
Since the latest Marie Claire article ran, Madison Square Garden is not pleased. In response to this secretly recorded meeting, they gave this statement.
“This is one person who continues to attempt to represent the entire team of Rockettes. This time it’s in a story that is the result of an unauthorized recording that violated the confidentiality of all of her sister Rockettes. While Mr. Dolan stands behind everything he said during the meeting, no one in that room believed they were speaking publicly. Everyone in the meeting had the chance to speak their mind in a safe setting, and many did. Her secret recording was deceitful and cowardly and has betrayed all of her fellow Rockettes. Posting this story is beneath the ethical standards of Hearst. We are deeply disappointed in their decision to post this story.”
I wouldn’t have guessed that a company dying to perform at Trump’s inauguration would bemoan their safe space being violated. But at least Madison Square Garden doesn’t deny anything in the story. They’re performing at a dickhole’s show because it’ll probably sell tickets and they don’t give a shit if their employees have any opinions or beliefs outside of making a good kick line.