Trump demands apology from Hamilton cast after Mike Pence booed
The US vice-president elect, Mike Pence, was booed by a theatre audience when he attended the hit hip-hop musical Hamilton in New York on Friday night – and then had a message about protecting diversity delivered to him from the stage after the curtain call.
On Saturday, President-elect Donald Trump accused theatre-goers of having “harassed” Pence, writing on Twitter: “Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing.This should not happen!”
He also demanded an apology: “The Theater 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!”
On Friday night, as Pence entered the auditorium for the Broadway show at the Richard Rogers Theatre, video taken by onlookers and posted to social media picked up some audience members cheering him, then more people booing him.
Pence walked down the aisle towards his seat and waved briefly as people in the theatre clearly began to realise who he was. Then the boos began.
The show was occasionally disrupted by more loud booing at Pence. Patrons did not lose sight of the irony of a strong conservative, with a record of opposition against gay rights, attending a hip-hop musical with a pointedly diverse cast was not lost on , as noted in an early report by Variety magazine.
At first it was thought Pence had left the show at the interval, but it later turned out that he had returned to his seat, possibly after the lights went down, at the beginning of the second act in an attempt to minimise disruption.
Pence ended up watching the whole show but as he was about to leave the theatre at the end of the curtain call a member of the cast called him back.
Brandon Dixon, who plays vice-president Aaron Burr, stepped forward and took out a piece of paper.
He thanked the audience for seeing the show, then said: “Vice-president Mike Pence, I see you walking out, but I hope you will hear us, just a few moments.”
As some quiet boos emanated from the audience as it began to disperse, Dixon hushed the audience and delivered a message .
“There is nothing to boo here, ladies and gentlemen, we are sharing a story of love,” he said.
He continued: “Mike Pence, we welcome you here. We are the diverse Americans who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents.”
Many of the remaining audience began to cheer softly as Dixon, who is African American, pointed towards Pence.
“Or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights ... we hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us,” he continued, to rising cheers.
“We thank you for sharing this wonderful American story, told by a diverse group of men and women of different colours, creeds and orientations,” he concluded.
It was not clear whether Pence heard the whole address or made any response. On Saturday morning, Dixon replied to Trump’s call for an apology: “conversation is not harassment, sir,” he wrote on Twitter. “And I appreciate [Mike Pence] for stopping to listen.”
The show was created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, whom it turned into a superstar. He had a long run as the lead playing US founding father Alexander Hamilton.
Miranda relinquished the part earlier this year to the actor Javier Munoz, his understudy.
Munoz is openly gay and HIV-positive. He has made a point of speaking out about living with HIV since 2002 and how he hopes to diminish the stigma around HIV and Aids.