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Labor Exploitation at the Super Bowl

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If you think the people dancing and doing their thing at the Super Bowl are being treated well in terms of working conditions, well you are one naive person. After all, shouldn’t one have to pay to work for billionaires? Or at least work for free?

Dancers across the industry are calling out the Super Bowl Halftime Show over alleged requests for dancers to put in 72 working hours as unpaid volunteers, to be involved with this year’s show.

An email, shared by dancer and activist Taja Riley, suggests that dancers were being asked to “volunteer for free” as field performers at the upcoming Feb. 13 performance at SoFi Stadium. The Instagram post from Riley includes alleged screenshots of requests from a Super Bowl coordinator to professional dancers, via dance agency Bloc LA, as well as a text from another dancer involved looking for “predominantly African American movers” who would be doing “very little dance.” Other notable names like Alyson Stoner and Heather Morris have spoke out about the alleged emails. 

“This is way bigger than the Super Bowl,” Riley, who has been part of other halftime performances, said to the Los Angeles Times. “This is another example of the systemic problem in the dance industry where we feel we are being bullied to pony up [by participating for exposure only] or face being blacklisted if we speak out.”

Roc Nation, which is executive producing the show, shared in a response to Page Six that the show will include “professional dancers” and “volunteer-based non-choreographed field cast,” with the 115 dancers involved being compensated. The company shared that nobody with the show has issued call-outs for professional dancers to work as volunteers. 

But hey, that dancer whose face you never are going to see is totally going to see her career take off thanks to all the unpaid labor she gives to this organization that only has gazillions of dollars!

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