The Rockettes’ parent company, Madison Square Garden, blasted Marie Claire on Tuesday morning for posting a story headlined, “Rockette Management Tells Dancers to ‘Tolerate Intolerance.'”
COO Barry Watkins called a Rockette’s decision to record the meeting between MSG executive chairman James Dolan and the team “deceitful and cowardly.”
“This is one person who continues to attempt to represent the entire team of Rockettes,” Watkins said in a statement obtained by TheWrap. “This time it’s in a story that is the result of an unauthorized recording that violated the confidentiality of all of her sister Rockettes. While Mr. Dolan stands behind everything he said during the meeting, no one in that room believed they were speaking publicly.”
The statement continues, “Everyone in the meeting had the chance to speak their mind in a safe setting, and many did. Her secret recording was deceitful and cowardly and has betrayed all of her fellow Rockettes. Posting this story is beneath the ethical standards of Hearst. We are deeply disappointed in their decision to post this story.”
Marie Claire’s story, also published Tuesday morning, details a private meeting that was held last week between Rockette dancers and Dolan.
“Dolan’s statements reveal a management philosophy that fails to factor in the dancers’ own concerns, despite the fact that they are the face and body of the brand,” the Marie Claire story said.
“This is a great national event,” Dolan said in the late-December meeting, according to Marie Claire. “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.”
MSG claims that the story included comments made by various Rockettes that were included without permission. According to MSG, Marie Claire requested comment from and was provided a full statement, but Marie Claire chose to just use a small portion of what was provided.
The Marie Claire story continued: “When asked by a woman in the room if that means the Rockettes support President-elect Trump outright, Dolan clarified ‘no,’ but when pressed about the idea that aligning the Rockettes with such a controversial figure could tarnish the brand, Dolan didn’t budge: ‘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 went on to point out that support from Trump voters isn’t something he wants to miss out on: ‘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.'”
The only portion of Watkins’ statement print in Marie Claire is the following: “While 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.”
The Marie Claire also claimed that Dolan essentially agreed that the dance group is being asked to be tolerant of intolerance.
“Yeah, in a way, I guess we are doing that,” Dolan said, according to Marie Claire. “What other choices do we have?
According to Marie Claire, the dancers will “probably” also perform for Trump on July 4, and “the dozen full-time Rockettes would not have the chance to opt out.”
As TheWrap first reported, Trump’s team is struggling to book A-list performers for his inaugural festivities, with two talent bookers saying they were offered ambassadorships if they could deliver marquee names. The inauguration team has its sights set on top-tier talents like Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry and Aretha Franklin, and are willing to pay steep fees for the performers.
Trump’s team has managed to enlist 16-year-old former “America’s Got Talent” star Jackie Evancho to sing the national anthem. They’ve also booked the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and, yes, the Radio City Rockettes.