Cheerleader goes on strike after being asked to perform for free

An Australian cheerleader for the Adelaide 36ers basketball team is putting her pompoms down in a protest over pay — or lack thereof.

As 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.

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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.”

Yahoo Lifestyle has reached out to Bigiolli for comment.

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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