An Australian cheerleader for the Adelaide 36ers basketball team is putting her pompoms down in a protest over pay — or lack thereof.
As news.com.au reports, 22-year-old Carla Bigiolli blasted her bosses for expecting cheerleaders to perform without pay as the team headed to the finals, since they had not budgeted for the added costs of an extended season. She announced her decision to go on strike in a heated Facebook post.
Bigiolli, who has also worked as an actor, model, and choreographer while she gets her teaching degree, said the team was showing a lack of respect for its dancers. She also mentioned the squad mates who chose to perform in the March 25 game anyway.
“Unfortunately, some women do not take this seriously and will dance without a fee,” she added.
Many commenters praised Bigiolli for “taking a stand” and argued that dancers shouldn’t be expected to settle for exposure in lieu of pay.
Bigolli also noted that she had contacted her union about being shortchanged.
Just for Fun, the dance company that oversees the 36ers squad, told the Adelaide Advertiser that cheerleaders were paid a lump sum, which amounted to about $75 Australian (approximately $58 U.S.) per week.
While the 36ers, who won on Sunday, will move on to another finals game, their cheer squad has now wrapped for the season — though it’s unclear if that is because of the pay dispute.
Just for Fun director Sue Nairn said she hoped to “rectify the issue with the club.”
Bigiolli, meanwhile, is pushing for change.
“We love our work that much that we study it, we teach it, we share it ,and we inspire with it,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle. “Too many times in the arts and entertainment industry, artists, performers, entertainers, and creative souls are asked to work for no income. This is an ongoing issue of disrespect that needs to change and will change now! ‘Exposure’ and ‘experience’ will not pay my bills and put food on the table. If you are at a professional standard, no matter what industry you are in, you must be respected and receive fair income for your works.”
She’s not the only cheerleader raising concerns about unfair treatment. Former New Orleans Saints cheerleader Bailey Davis has filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint alleging gender discrimination and a double standard between dancers and players.
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