Trump supporter interrupts controversial Julius Caesar play in New York
A rightwing protester has been charged with trespassing after interrupting a New York production of Julius Caesar during the assassination scene and shouting: “This is violence against Donald Trump.”
The protester, who later identified herself as Laura Loomer, interrupted the Shakespeare in the Park production on Friday night and shouted “this is political violence against the right” while audience members booed and told her to get off the stage.
The incident was filmed by Jack Posobiec, a rightwing provocateur best known for helping to spread the Pizzagate conspiracy theory. He stood up as Loomer was escorted off stage by security guards and yelled at the crowd: “You are all Goebbels. You are all Nazis like Joseph Goebbels … You are inciting terrorists. The blood of Steve Scalise is on your hands.”
Scalise, a top-ranking Republican, was wounded in a shooting at a congressional baseball practice on Wednesday in Alexandria, Virginia. The gunman, James Hodgkinson, had a history of domestic violence. He was also a Bernie Sanders supporter who had criticized Trump on social media.
Posobiec continued to film himself saying “Goebbels would be proud” as he was escorted from the theatre, posting the video on Twitter with the caption: “Julius Caesar Gets SHUTDOWN.”
Reports from the audience said the play resumed within a minute, with the stage manager directing the cast to “pick up at ‘liberty and freedom’”.
Loomer was arrested outside the theatre after she allegedly refused police requests to stop shouting and move along. She was charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct and bailed just over two hours later.
The protest was aimed at an artistic decision to set the play in a modern political setting, with Caesar looking decidedly like Donald Trump. As in every production of the play in the 418 years since it debuted, just as happened in 44BC, Caesar is assassinated.
In a statement issued after the play, director Oskar Eustis said: “Free speech for all, but let’s not stop the show.”
“The staff removed the protesters peacefully and the show resumed with the line ‘Liberty! Freedom!’,” he told the New York Times. “The audience rose to their feet to thank the actors, and we joyfully continued. Free speech for all, but let’s not stop the show.”