(NEW YORK) — Two protesters interrupted a performance in New York City’s Central Park Friday night of “Julius Caesar,” in which the role of the Roman dictator is played by a President Trump look-alike who is fatally stabbed during a bloody scene.
Tonight’s production of Julius Caesar interrupted by two protesters. One stormed the stage during assassination scene. pic.twitter.com/K6FWhm4hGG
— Charlotte Alter (@CharlotteAlter) June 17, 2017
A woman who later identified herself on social media as Laura Loomer, a right-wing activist, stormed the stage following the production’s assassination scene, shouting, “Stop the normalization of political violence against the right! This is unacceptable! You cannot promote this type of violence against Donald Trump!”
According to multiple videos of the incident posted to social media — including one by Loomer — a theater staff member then said over a loudspeaker, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to pause. Security, please.”
Loomer was then escorted off the stage by security personnel, as she shouted, “Shame on Kathy Griffin and shame on all of you for promoting political violence against Donald Trump!”
As Loomer shouted, audience members booed and yelled, “Get off the stage!”
As Loomer was led away, another protester who was seated in the audience — identified as right-wing activist Jack Posobiec — stood up and shouted, “The blood of Steve Scalise is on your hands,” adding that Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels “would be proud.”
Posobiec — who also tweeted a video of his outburst — was led away by security out of Central Park’s open-air Delacorte Theater.
Loomer was arrested, but Posobiec was not.
The NYPD confirmed to ABC News that around 9:45 p.m., a 24-year-old female was arrested and taken into custody after jumping on stage. She was charged with criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct.
It is unclear whether Loomer has a lawyer.
She tweeted after midnight, “I’m out of jail, but I’m not apologetic. Thanks to everyone who is supporting me & condemning political violence.”
I’m out of jail, but I’m not apologetic. Thanks to everyone who is supporting me & condemning political violence. https://t.co/QkZkxu1yCj
— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) June 17, 2017
The Rebel, a conservative Canadian-based website Loomer works for, also tweeted that Loomer had been released from jail. Earlier in the evening, The Rebel‘s Ezra Levant tweeted, “Laura Loomer called me from jail. We have dispatched a lawyer to Central Park precinct.”
— Ezra Levant ???????? (@ezralevant) June 17, 2017
Oskar Eustis, the artistic director of the Public Theater, which is staging the production as part of the Free Shakespeare in the Park theatrical program, said in a statement, “Two protestors disrupted our show tonight; we stopped the show for less than a minute and our stage manager handled it beautifully. The staff removed the protesters peacefully, and the show resumed with the line “Liberty! Freedom!” 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.”
Delta Air Lines and Bank of America recently withdrew their support of “Julius Caesar.”
“No matter what your political stance may be, the graphic staging of Julius Caesar at this summer’s Free Shakespeare in the Park does not reflect Delta Air Lines’ values,” the Atlanta-based airline said in a statement. “Their artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste. We have notified them of our decision to end our sponsorship as the official airline of the Public Theater effective immediately.”
Bank of America said in a statement, “The Public Theater chose to present Julius Caesar in such a way that was intended to provoke and offend. Had this intention been made known to us, we would have decided not to sponsor it. We are withdrawing our funding for this production.”
And American Express distanced itself from the production. “We would like to clarify that our sponsorship of the Public Theater does not fund the production of Shakespeare in the Park, nor do we condone the interpretation of the Julius Caesar play,” the financial services company said in a statement.
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