Do you feel that the cast of Hamilton need to issue an apology to Mike Pence?
What are your thoughts in regards to the way that Donald Trump reacted to the incident?
Check out my video response below:
My other YouTube videos can be found by clicking here
It seemed quite fitting for the latest US political controversy to take place within Broadway. It was even more so appropriate that it occurred after a performance of Hamilton. Hamilton: An American Musical is about the life and times of American founding father Alexander Hamilton.
Vice President elect Mike Pence entered the New York theatre to a mixture of cheers and boos. Once thee show had finished actor Brandon Victor Dixon read a statement to the audience, specifically directed at Pence. “We, sir- we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of us”
Pence had already begun to leave his seat while Dixon was still speaking. He heard everything by standing in the hallway outside the entrance and he would later comment that he was not offended. Pence understands the right for citizens to express themselves and did not want an apology.
I was taken aback by President elect Donald’ Trump’s response to the matter. He released a tweet over the weekend that stated “Our wonderful Future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theatre by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing. This should not happen!”
Brandon Victor Dixon tweeted back “Conversation is not harassment sir. And I appreciate Mike Pence for stopping to listen”.
This is the biggest piece of Trump hypocrisy that I have come across. I thought he was a champion of free speech. I have heard him make many criticisms against the stifling of free speech and critical thought and the over bearing politically correct climate that the world is in. This is exactly the type of free expression that Trump has been advocating.
Dixon was right. There was no harassment in his statement. There was no vicious abuse. No incitement of violence or threats. It was an an expression of concern. Whether you agree with the concern is irrelevant. The first amendment that Trump has been so keen to protect.
Trump also tweeted ” The theatre must always be a safe and special place. The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!”
The theatre is a very special place, and should always be kept safe. The theatre has, and hopefully always will be, a place where both artists and audience members can express themselves. I wouldn’t accept audience members shouting out at actors during a performance, that’s atrocious theatre etiquette. The theatre should always be a place that challenges, confronts, educates and entertains. This should be an ethos that is at the forefront of performance and post performance.
Trump would be wise to remember the debates and discussions that were held by theatre goers and actors post performance in Ancient Greece. Debate and discussion are the foundation of the theatre. Were the actors being rude? No. Were they being condescending? It could be seen that way, but that’s besides the point. They were being confrontational and forward and that is their right.
I am a staunch activist of free speech and free expression. You have to grant it all round if you expect to benefit from it. The theatre is a perfect place for this kind of statement. Pence seems fine with it, and Trump had a silly and irrational moment which he probably regrets.
Whenever a person puts themselves into the public sphere, they should be ready for all kinds of responses. Pence said it best to his family when he received a mixture of cheers and boos upon entering theatre: “That’s what freedom sounds like”
Check out my article on Donald Trump’s victory by clicking here