New York (AFP) - President-elect Donald Trump demanded an apology Saturday from cast members of the Broadway hit "Hamilton" after his VP-elect was booed at a performance and told the new administration must respect America's racial, cultural and social diversity.
Trump complained the cast had been rude to Mike Pence and harassed him during the late Friday performance. "This should not happen!" Trump tweeted. "Apologize!"
On Twitter, #BoycottHamilton was quickly the top trending hashtag.
Critics taking part in the online debate said the cast were arrogant "liberals" who had no right to insult the VP, for instance. Defenders ridiculed the idea of boycotting the show, noting it is sold out for months.
The wildly popular hit musical, which won 11 Tony Awards in June, follows young colonial rebels who became America's founding fathers, celebrating diversity and immigrants' contribution to the nation.
The show's lead actor, Javier Munoz, is openly gay, HIV positive and a cancer survivor.
Among other concerns, activists worry that the Trump's administration will be hostile to gay rights.
Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays vice president Aaron Burr, read a statement to Pence during the curtain call that echoed some of the main concerns critics have voiced since the Republican firebrand won the election on November 8.
With that, a performance about a revolution and the dawn of a young nation became even more political.
Pence is a stalwart Christian conservative from the Midwest.
Thanking him for attending the performance, Dixon asked him to "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, sir," Dixon said.
"But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us. All of us."
Hamilton, Dixon told Pence, was performed by "a diverse group of men, women of different colors, creeds and orientations."
The audience cheered and loudly applauded.
- Audience goes 'nuts' -
The crowd had greeted Pence with a mix of boos and cheers when he entered the theater before the show.
During the performance, the audience gave a standing ovation at the line "immigrants we get the job done," theatergoer Christy Colburn tweeted.
"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."
Although Pence was leaving the auditorium when Dixon began reading his statement from the stage, he stood by the entrance to hear the entire message, the New York Times reported. He made no comment.
Trump complained about it all in a tweet Saturday morning.
"Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing," he wrote. "This should not happen!"
"The Theater must always be a safe and special place," he added in another message. "The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!"
Dixon responded by tweeting, "conversation is not harassment sir. And I appreciate @mikepence for stopping to listen."
Trump has deployed polarizing rhetoric to describe immigrants, vowing to build a wall along the US border with Mexico and ban Muslims from entering the United States.
The bombastic real estate billionaire -- who faced widespread condemnation within and outside his party during his campaign when a video emerged of him making lewd boasts about groping and forcing himself on women -- has so far appointed staunchly conservative older white men to major posts in his future administration.