North America’s president-elect, Donald Trump, has never been one for subtleties, nor has he been one for empathy. These are two observations easily made by his plans for the 58th Presidential Inauguration next month. Donald Trump’s Administration has struggled to find artists to perform (Celine Dion and Elton John, along with many other talents, have declined the invitation). Despite this sudden shunning from influential musicians, Trump’s people are promptly stating that tons of artists are quite eager for this opportunity. Performing guests for his grand inauguration include 2nd place contestant on America’s Got Talent, Jackie Evancho (who also performed at the National Christmas Tree Lighting years before) as well as the mostly white Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Along with these acts are the Radio City Rockettes. Do not get too excited, for these performers are being forced to perform despite the distinct violation of rights under their collective union and the women’s outward expression of discomfort with the entirety of the situation as well as the preeminent statement it may establish.
It is important to note that the Rockettes are never forced to attend any performance opportunities -they always sign up for their events. False news is not a rare medium for Trump, as he told the public at large once again that these performers are “thrilled”. Not exactly. Dancer Phoebe Pearl posted a rant on Instagram detailing her “embarrassment” to be featured at Trump’s inauguration. “I am speaking for just myself but please know that after we found out this news, we have been performing with tears in our eyes and heavy hearts #notmypresident” she said in response to this news.
All political affiliations aside, it is immoral to force people to perform when that is not what they signed up for initially. These performers are forced to accept the invitation and are under the genuine threat of employment if they refuse.
The Radio City Rockettes are not performers under the protection of the Actor’s Equity Association — these high profile dancers work under the AGVA, or American Guild of Variety Artists, which is more specialized to their performance abilities and absence of a written storyline. The AGVA has told these performers that professionalism trumps personal beliefs whenever they expressed concerns.
Only the full time performers are forced to perform for Trump’s inauguration, but that fact does not simplify this injustice, nor does it expose any redeemable qualities in Trump or the AGVA. Moreover, after this explicit retraction of rights, one can only imagine the scary occurrences on a more severe caliber in the future of Trump’s unfortunate presidency.
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