Vice President-elect Mike Pence was at the November 18 performance of Hamilton, the hottest show on Broadway, and was booed by the crowd. Pence has been criticized for his anti-gay policies while a Congressman and governor of Indiana. Javier Munoz, who currently plays Alexander Hamilton in the musical, is an openly gay actor and HIV positive.
On Saturday morning, the incident continued to gain attention thanks to Donald Trump’s claim that the Hamilton cast “harassed” Pence. However, Pence told Fox News that he wasn’t “offended” by the cast’s actions.
After the show wrapped, the cast read a statement to the audience, which you can hear below. They told Pence that they hope the show inspires him and the Donald Trump administration to work on behalf of all Americans.
The statement, delivered by Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr, read:
We hope you will hear us out. 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,” he said. “We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf all of us.
The New York Times reports that the statement was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail and producer Jeffrey Seller, with input from the cast.
“We had to ask ourselves, how do we cope with this?” Seller told the Times. “Our cast could barely go on stage the day after the election. The election was painful and crushing to all of us here. We all struggled with what was the appropriate and respectful and proper response. We are honored that Mr. Pence attended the show, and we had to use this opportunity to express our feelings.”
Seller said that Trump has never seen Hamilton, but would be welcomed to attend.
In addition to the video posted by @dkipke12, there were other reports on Twitter from those in the audience that Pence was booed as he took his seat. One person wrote that the audience was particularly rowdy during the scenes with King George III. “Crowd went NUTS at King George’s lines “when people say they hate you” & “do you know how hard it is to lead?” He had to stop the song,” Christy Colburn wrote.
Here is another photo of the scene:
One Twitter user has been live-tweeting the audience’s reactions during the show. She wrote that during the reprise of “You’ll Be Back,” the performers had to pause because people booed Pence during every line.
Hamilton is the hit musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who endorsed Hillary Clinton. He picked Munoz, a 40-year-old actor who is HIV positive and survived cancer, to replace him as the production continues to sell out each night. Miranda responded to Friday’s events on Twitter.
Trump thought Pence was “harassed” at the performance. He then requested that the cast of Hamilton apologize.
Actor Brandon Victor Dixon then responded to Trump, telling him that having a conversation is “not harassment.”
Newt Gingrich also chimed in.
In an interview with the New York Times in July, Munoz said that he has been living with HIV since 2002.
I’m healthy, I’m strong and I’m very out about that because of the stigma still attached to it. But I’ve had a healthy fear about my health since I tested positive, and I asked how to test myself for lumps, because both my parents had cancer. And very early on in my learning how to do a self-examination, I found the lump. I wasn’t immediately worried because of where it was — and I do want to keep that private because that’s the only thing that’s mine in this. But I brought it up to my doc, and that’s what led to further testing and discovery.
Under Pence’s administration in Indiana, the state has seen an HIV outbreak in rural areas of the state. As The New York Times reported in August, cases in one county near the Kentucky border neared 90 HIV cases. An Indiana law makes it illegal for anyone to have a syringe without a prescription.
As Politifact notes, it is true that Pence wrote on one of his campaign sites that, “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
Read more about Mike Pence getting booed at Hamilton in Spanish at AhoraMismo.com: