ARTS & CULTURE

Steven Van Zandt Says 'Hamilton' Actors Bullied Mike Pence

"You don’t single out an audience member and embarrass him from the stage."

11/21/2016 09:35 am ET
Monica Schipper via Getty Images
Steven Van Zandt, pictured with wife Maureen Van Zandt in September, said the cast members of  "Hamilton" "took unfair advantage" of Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

This Bruce Springsteen sidekick was born to run ― right into a political argument.

Former “Sopranos” star Steven Van Zandt, also of Springsteen’s E Street Band, says the cast of “Hamilton” unfairly ganged up on Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Friday.

In a demonstration gone viral, cast member Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr, directly addressed Pence after the Broadway show. While welcoming him to the play, Dixon told the veep-to-be he was concerned how the new administration would treat the country’s diverse population and hoped the play inspired him to work on behalf of all Americans. 

But Van Zandt wasn’t having it.

“It was the most respectful, benign form of bullying ever. But bullying nonetheless,” Van Zandt said on Twitter Saturday. “And by the way, human rights must be won, not asked for. 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.”

Many praised the cast for openly addressing a politician who has attempted to institute anti-LGBTQ policies and has supported “conversion therapy” in his career. 

Van Zandt wrote that he disagrees with what Pence represents, but “I don’t tolerate bullying in any form.”

Van Zandt, who has said in the past that he’s Independent and has spoken out in support of LGBTQ rights, added, “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.”

President-elect Donald Trump called the speech “rude” and demanded an apology.

“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted support for Dixon and reminded fans that all are welcome at the theater after the incident.

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