Commotion erupted briefly Friday night in New York Citys Central Park as a protester stormed an outdoor stage during the assassination scene of Shakespeares Julius Caesar, while another shouted from the audience, calling the crowd watching the provocative play Nazis.
The New York Public Theaters presentation of the 400-year-old play features actors in modern-day garb and attempts to explore issues of politics, idealism, plots and dictators in Shakespeares examination of Caesars life and death. The actor playing Caesar sports a navy blue suit, a red tie and reddish blonde hair, and grabs at his wifes crotch in a characterization that evokes PresidentDonald Trump.
Just as the assassination scene was beginning Friday night, Laura Loomer, a right-wing activist, barged onstage. Stop the normalization of political violence against the right, she shouted. This is not acceptable. A voice on the loudspeaker then announced: Ladies and gentlemen, were going to pause. Were going to pause. Security. Security.
As security came to corral Loomer, the audience booed her, then applauded as she was escorted away.
Thats when Posobiec jumped up, shouting to the rest of the crowd, You are all Nazis like Joseph Goebbels a reference to Adolf Hitlers minister of propaganda. This is all Goebbels. You are inciting terrorists. Goebbels would be proud. You are Nazis.
Again, the audience loudly booed Posobiec as he was taken away by security. The play resumed after he and Loomer were removed.
Loomer a reporter with The Rebel Media, a far-right Canadian outlet that started a Free Laura campaign Friday evening and Posobiec held a Twitter press conference after they were taken to the Central Park Precinct. Loomer said shed been charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing, which she called kinda weird because its a public park. She said she has set up a website for contributions to her legal defense fund.
The play has drawn controversy for its assassination scene, where Caesar is killed by the Roman Senate. Delta Air Lines and Bank of America yanked their sponsorshipof the production this week.
Donald Trump Jr., the presidents eldest son, retweeted a complaint about the play after a gunman opened fire Wednesday on a GOP congressional baseball practice, critically wounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise(R-La.) and injuring three others.
The theater has defended the work, which can be interpreted as a cautionary tale that warnsagainst violence. In the play, the republic falls apart shortly after Caesars assassination.
Our production of Julius Caesar in no way advocates violence towards anyone, the theater said in a statement. Shakespeares play, and our production, make the opposite point: those who attempt to defend democracy by undemocratic means pay a terrible price and destroy the very thing they are fighting to save.