NEW YORK (AP) — A secret audio recording captured some of the tension between members of the Radio City Rockettes and their employer, Madison Square Garden, over a plan to have them dance at Donald Trump's inauguration.
The recording, leaked to Marie Claire magazine, was made at a private Dec. 27 meeting between MSG Chairman James Dolan and performers in the dance group.
The meeting came days after one dancer posted on Instagram that she was "embarrassed" by the gig, which in turn touched off a social media kerfuffle, with Trump opponents calling on the Rockettes to boycott the event and Trump supporters saying the dancers should keep their politics to themselves.
During the meeting, Dolan told the dancers that performing at the inauguration was an opportunity, saying it was "a huge moment in the country's history."
He continued, "We are an American brand, and I think it's very appropriate that the Rockettes dance in the inaugural and Fourth of July and our country's great historical moments."
One dancer complained about the social media backlash, calling it "unbearable."
"I think that the Rockettes have always been apolitical, and now by performing at this particular inauguration, it's making us political," she said.
Dolan said he was confident the performance wouldn't hurt the Rockettes' brand. He also reminded the dancers that many people who come to New York to see the Rockettes perform voted for Trump.
"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," he said.
One dancer said: "It just sounds like you're asking us to be tolerant of intolerance."
"Yeah, in a way, I guess we are doing that," Dolan said. "What other choices do we have? What else would you suggest?"
After the Marie Claire article was published Tuesday, MSG released a statement saying Dolan stood by his comments. The company also attacked the unidentified person who made the recording, saying she had been "deceitful and cowardly" and violated the confidentiality "of all of her sister Rockettes."