The chairman of Madison Square Garden, who run the Radio City Rockettes, was captured on audio encouraging the dancers to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration.
The recording of MSG Chairman James Dolan’s talk with members of the dance team, after one of the dancers posted on social media that she was “embarrassed’ to perform for Trump, was leaked to Marie Claire magazine in an article published on Tuesday.
“This is a great national event,” he said. “Every four years we put in a new president. It’s a huge moment in the country’s history. It usually signifies a whole change in how the government is going to run. The fact that we get to participate in it…we are an American brand, and I think it’s very appropriate that the Rockettes dance in the inaugural and 4th of July and our country’s great historical moments,” Dolan said.
Dolan explained to once concerned dancer that performing at the inauguration did not signify the brand’s support for Trump he did say it was a good business decision.
“I don’t believe it’s going to hurt the brand. And nobody is more concerned about that than the guy sitting in this chair. I’m about to spend $50 million remounting this summer show. I’m going to spend a similar amount remounting next year’s Christmas show. I gotta sell tickets,” he said. “A good portion of people voted for this person. Hopefully they will like our brand. If one percent of them come to our show, we’re going to do great.”
Another dancer complained that the social media backlash has been tough on the girls and said she feared that performing for the president-elect is going to make the group “political.”
“I find it a little ironic—I get all of these emails, too, from people saying, ‘Don’t perform for this hateful person.’ And then they proceed to spew out this diatribe of hate,” Dolan said.
“I mean, it just sounds like you’re asking us to be tolerant of intolerance.” another woman said.
“Yeah, in a way, I guess we are doing that. What other choices do we have?” Dolan said.
Madison Square Garden released a statement after the article was published in which it described the dancer who leaked the audio as “deceitful and cowardly” and accused her of violating the confidentiality “of all of her sister Rockettes.”
“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,” MSG chief communications officer Barry Watkins told MarieClaire.com.
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