Updated: Madison Square Garden Responds to Rockettes; Inauguration Performance Voluntary
Madison Square Garden has released a statement regarding the ongoing story that Rockettes are required to perform at the Presidential inauguration or risk being fired.
"The Radio City Rockettes are proud to participate in the 58th Presidential Inaugural," read the statement emailed to BroadwayWorld shortly after noon EST. "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. In fact, for the coming inauguration, we had more Rockettes request to participate than we have slots available. We eagerly await the inaugural celebrations."
BroadwayWorld previously had obtained and confirmed the authenticity of an email sent from the American Guild of Variety Artists to Rockette members as a response to the announcement that some Rockettes did not want to participate in the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.
The email read: "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."
"We have been made aware of what is going on Facebook and other social media, however, this does not change anything unless Radio City has a change of heart. The ranting of the public is just that, ranting. Everyone has a right to an opinion, but this does not change your employment status for those who are full time."
"This has nothing to do with anyone's political leanings (including AGVA's), it has to do with your best performance for your employer, period. I will reiterate that if Hillary Clinton was the President-elect, nothing would be different, and there would probably be those who would not want to be involved because of her. It is a job, and all of you should consider it an honor, no matter who is being sworn in. The election is over and this country will not survive if it remains divided."
"Everyone is entitled to her own political beliefs, but there is no room for this in the workplace."
The email concluded 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,"
The email was written and sent by a high-ranking member of the union's administration. This appears to corroborate earlier reports that the union had expressed that members who are full-time employees of MSG are required to perform at the inauguration.