After trying and failing over and over and over again to find a headliner for the presidential inauguration in January, Trump administration advisers announced last week that the Rockettes — of Radio City Music Hall fame — would perform for the president-elect. That announcement sparked immediate backlash, with dancers expressing their displeasure at presumably being forced to perform for a man with a history of objectifying women.
The American Guild of Variety Artists later clarified that all participation in the inauguration would be optional, but as one dancer tells Marie Claire, many fear they’ll lose their jobs if they choose not to perform. “It will be interesting to see who doesn’t get their job back,” said the dancer, who chose to use a pseudonym. “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.”
She added that many dancers in the company see performing at Trump’s inauguration as equivalent to expressing their support for him. “This is not a Republican or Democrat issue — this is a women’s rights issue,” she said. “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.”
Although some dancers have signed up to perform, to her knowledge, not one is a woman of color. Doing the event, she said, would “cause trauma for some people” given the type of racist and sexist support the president-elect has received. “It’s almost worse to have 18 pretty white girls behind this man who supports so many hate groups,” she said. “They’re going to be branded in history as one of those women. How’s it going to look?”