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Steven Van Zandt: ‘Hamilton’ Cast Should Apologize for ‘Bullying’ Mike Pence

E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt has called on the cast of the Broadway show Hamilton to apologize to Mike Pence for what he described as their “bullying” of the Vice President-elect during a performance in New York City Friday night.

In a series of Twitter messages on Saturday, Van Zandt said the cast of the 11-time Tony-winning play “made a mistake” and had set a “terrible precedent” for the theater when they addressed Pence directly from the stage toward the end of Friday night’s performance.

At the end of a show which saw Pence booed loudly at various points, actor Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays former vice president Aaron Burr, read aloud a message to the future vice president: “We, sir, 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,” the actor said.

The brief remarks were reportedly written by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail and producer Jeffrey Seller.

Tonight, VP-Elect Mike Pence attended #HamiltonBway. After the show, @BrandonVDixon delivered the following statement on behalf of the show. pic.twitter.com/Jsg9Q1pMZs

— Hamilton (@HamiltonMusical) November 19, 2016

But on Twitter Saturday, Van Zandt — who says he could not “disagree more with everything Pence represents” — called the actors’ actions “completely inappropriate.”

“When artists perform the venue becomes your home. The audience are your guests,” he wrote. “It is nothing short of the same bullying tactic we rightly have criticized Trump for in the past. It’s taking unfair advantage of someone who thought they were a protected guest in your home.”

“You don’t single out an audience member and embarrass him from the stage,” the guitarist added. “A terrible precedent to set.”

In a tweet on Saturday, President-elect Donald Trump similarly requested an apology from the show’s cast: “The Theater must always be a safe and special place,” Trump wrote. “The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!”

The core cast of Hamilton, including Miranda, had been vocal supporters of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential race. In October, Miranda and actress Renee Elise Goldsberry headline a “Broadway for Hillary” fundraiser in New York alongside comedian Billy Crystal.

Clinton took in a performance of the hit show in July, just hours after she was grilled by federal investigators about her use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State. Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, later met with Miranda backstage.

Read the rest of Van Zandt’s tweets below:

Hamilton made a mistake. Audiences shouldn't have to worry about being blindsided like that. Theater should be sanctuary for Art to speak.

— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) November 19, 2016

Lin-Manuel is a genius. He has created the greatest play since West Side Story. He is also a role model. This sets a terrible precedent>

— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) November 19, 2016

>Completely inappropriate. Theater should be a safe haven for Art to speak. Not the actors. He needs to apologize to Mike Pence @Lin_Manuel

— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) November 19, 2016

There has never been a more outspoken politically active artist than me. He was their guest. You protect your guests. Don't embarrass them.

— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) November 19, 2016

When artists perform the venue becomes your home. The audience are your guests. It is nothing short of the same bullying tactic we rightly>

— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) November 19, 2016

>have criticized Trump for in the past. It's taking unfair advantage of someone who thought they were a protected guest in your home.

— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) November 19, 2016

Nobody on this planet disagrees more with everything Pence represents. But I don't tolerate bullying in any form. Even the respectful kind.

— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) November 19, 2016

Of course nobody is giving him a pass for any of his views! That is not the time or place to do it. Picture it happening to someone you like https://t.co/6a8ORvuUk0

— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) November 19, 2016

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. https://t.co/x4XKq86YN0

— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) November 19, 2016

You don't single out an audience member and embarrass him from the stage. A terrible precedent to set. https://t.co/vREKw2RTMR

— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) November 19, 2016

So because he's a public figure we should be rude to him and bully him at public events? I'm not the one who couldn't be more wrong on this. https://t.co/WDpVU8HSlW

— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) November 19, 2016

The cast was not intentionally rude. The speech was heartfelt with content shared by all of us. Given at the wrong place at the wrong time. https://t.co/Lk9QgauC5P

— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) November 19, 2016

Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum

Daniel Nussbaum

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