James Dolan, the owner of The Rockettes, has found himself in the spotlight of public scrutiny as of late, since he first committed that the all-woman dancing troupe would be performing at President-Elect Trump's inauguration on January 20th.
This controversy came about quickly, once members of the Rockettes began to post online that this was the first they had heard of the performance at the inauguration. News grew more dire as members of the troupe began to post their dismay at the gig, and how it was against their own personal beliefs.
Not to mention, there was the uncomfortable fact of the optics: a group of women was being forced to perform for a man, one who was a notorious and vocal misogynist, against their own wills and wants.
Their fate was locked. Further news came out that, while part-time dancers could choose not to perform at the inauguration, full-time dancers would be forced to, on pain of losing their jobs if they did not show up.
In the midst of all of this, the owner of the Rockettes called a meeting with the dancers to speak about the decision he made, and why he made it.
Source: Marie Claire
In the meeting, Dolan said:
This is a great national event. 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. 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. A good portion of people voted for this person. Hopefully they will like our brand. If 1% of 1% of them come to our show, we're going to do great.
And you are diverse, as diverse as we can make the Rockettes while still holding up the standards of quality. 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. If I was to give you a little…what is it, a sound bite? Right? I would simply say, we're celebrating a new president, not necessarily this president.
While no one at this meeting expected that the comments within it would be leaked, Madison Square Garden has made a statement that Dolan stands behind everything that he said. The Rockettes will dance at Donald Trump's inauguration, and they may then dance again this coming 4th of July, as they have in the past.
Source: Marie Claire