Rocker Steve Van Zandt Says 'Hamilton' Should Apologize For 'Bullying' Mike Pence

( [email protected] ) Nov 21, 2016 10:12 AM EST
Legendary rocker Steve Van Zandt has accused the cast of "Hamilton" of bullying Mike Pence and urged them to apologize after they addressed the Vice President-elect from the stage at Friday night's performance.
E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt Getty Images

Legendary rocker Steve Van Zandt has accused the cast of "Hamilton" of bullying Mike Pence and urged them to apologize after they addressed the Vice President-elect from the stage at Friday night's performance.

"It was the most respectful, benign form of bullying ever. But bullying nonetheless. And by the way, human rights must be won, not asked for," Van Zandt, member of the E Street Band, said in a series of tweets on Saturday. "When artists perform the venue becomes your home. The audience are your guests. It's taking unfair advantage of someone who thought they were a protected guest in your home.

"A guy comes to a Broadway show for a relaxing night out. Instead he gets a lecture from the stage! Not a level playing field. It's bullying. You don't single out an audience member and embarrass him from the stage. A terrible precedent to set."

Van Zandt's comments come after "Hamilton" cast member Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr in the Broadway show, delivered a speech following the performance as Pence was exiting the venue.

"Vice-president elect Mike Pence, we welcome you and truly thank you for joining us at Hamilton American Musical," Dixon said to 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, sir. We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us."

Prio to Dixon's address, some in the crowd reportedly booed the Vice President-elect, who attended the show with his daughter.

The comments didn't sit well with President-Elect Donald Trump, who demanded the cast apologize: "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 tweeted.

He later tweeted: "The cast and producers of Hamilton, which I hear is highly overrated, should immediately apologize to Mike Pence for their terrible behavior."

Mike Pence
GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence (on left) urged attendees of a Liberty University Convocation on Wednesday to forgive GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump over the controversial recording from 2005 that shares Trump's disrespect and verbal talking of graphically groping women. REUTERS / Carlo Allegri

However, Pence himself remained unperturbed by the incident, saying he wasn't offended by the message and enjoyed the the show despite the disruption.

"I did hear what was said from the stage. I can tell you I wasn't offended by what was said. I will leave to others whether that was the appropriate venue to say it," he said on "Fox News Sunday."

"My daughter and I and her cousins really enjoyed the show. 'Hamilton' is just an incredible production, incredibly talented people. It was a real joy to be there," Pence said.

"When we arrived we heard a few boos, and we heard some cheers," he said, "I nudged my kids and reminded them that is what freedom sounds like."

Pence also acknowledged that Hillary Clinton's loss was a huge disappointment for many Americans, but promised Trump will - as he said in his victory speech - be president "for all Americans".

"I know this is a very anxious time for some people. I just want to reassure people what President-elect Donald Trump said on election night -- he absolutely meant from the bottom of his heart," he said.

"He is preparing to be the president of all of the people of the United States of America and to watch him bringing together people of diverse views, bringing people together who disagreed with him strongly, seeing him talk to leaders around the world. I just want to reassure every American that in the days ahead I am very confident that they are going to see President-elect Trump be a president for all of the people and we embrace that principle. We are going to work hard to make that principle every day that we serve."

Tags : Brandon Victor Dixon, Steve Van Zandt, E Street Band, Hamilton, Mike Pence, Donald Trump