Rockette calls Trump inauguration performance 'issue of racism and sexism'
"I wouldn't feel comfortable standing near a man like that in our costumes," one dancer wrote in an email.
Three days before Christmas, the Radio City Rockettes learned they were booked to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration. After much public outcry, management said the gig would be voluntary, but one Rockette said she is still afraid of possible repercussions.
"It will be interesting to see who doesn't get their job back," the anonymous woman, called Mary in an exclusive interview with Marie Claire, said, "but do you really want to work for a company that supports this? I just don't know. It's become a moral issue at this point."
Mary called the lack of diversity in the kick line during a regular performance “embarrassing,” and added the no women of color — to her knowledge — signed up to perform on Jan. 20.
"It's almost worse to have 18 pretty white girls behind this man who supports so many hate groups," she told Marie Claire. "They're going to be branded in history as one of those women. How's it going to look?
Trump's run for president had been pockmarked by scandals including allegations that the business mogul sexually assaulted women. Since the election, Trump has staffed his cabinet with choices many call questionable, includingincoming Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, whom some have labeled a white supremacist.
Another dancer wrote an email to her coworkers that said, "I wouldn't feel comfortable standing near a man like that in our costumes.”
As this year’s election divided the country, Mary said the Rockettes are also split over the gig. The majority of stage crew support Trump, according to the dancer, and the performers skew liberal, but a divide has grown between the dancers.
"There is a divide in the company now, which saddens me most," she said. "The majority of us said no immediately. Then there's the percentage that said yes, for whatever reason — whether it's because they're young and uninformed, or because they want the money, or because they think it's an opportunity to move up in the company when other people turn it down."
Mary also said that the dancers found out via text message from friends and a fellow dancer broke down in tears when she learned the news.
"She felt she was being forced to perform for this monster," Mary said.
The full-time dancer noted an unusual number of empty seats during performances in the days before Christmas and called the problem “an issue of racism and sexism.”
"It's the ensemble. It's the people in our wardrobe and hair department, some of whom are transgender," she told the magazine. "These are our friends and our family, who we've worked with for years. It's a basic human-rights issue. We have immigrants in the show. I feel like dancing for Trump would be disrespecting the men and women who work with us, the people we care about."