While the owner of the Rockettes may be “honored” to have the group perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration in January, it turns out that at least one of the dancers is not.
On Thursday, The Madison Square Garden Co. announced the high-kicking Rockettes would perform at Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration, but it didn’t take long for backlash to start – from within ranks.
Rockette Phoebe Pearl took to Instagram to voice her frustration with the scheduled performance. In a since-deleted post, Pearl said Thursday night she was “embarrassed” and “disappointed” with the decision.
“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 post said. “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.”
Pearl goes on to say she is only speaking for herself in the post, but added “please know that after we found out this news, we have been performing with tears in our eyes and heavy hearts.” She ended the post with the hashtag #notmypresident.
After reports that the dancers’ union, American Guild of Variety Artists, said the performance was an obligation for full-time performers, MSG released a statement refuting the claim.
“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,” the statement said. “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 private Instagram account phoebeopearl lists the user as Phoebe Pearl with the description “Actor | Dancer | Singer” and a New York City location. Pearl told amNewYork she had no comment on the backlash after her Instagram post or on the statement from MSG.
“I’m just trying to go through my day with all of this overwhelming stuff,” Pearl said.
The Rockettes are no strangers to presidential inaugurations. They also performed in 2001 and 2005 for President George W. Bush.
Requests for comment from AGVA were not immediately returned.