A conservative protester and activist with the controversial Canadian website The Rebel was arrested Friday after interrupting a performance of Shakespeare in the Park’s controversial anti-Trump rendition of “Julius Caesar” in New York City.
According to the New York Post, Laura Loomer was taken into custody after she broke in on the play, in which the titular character is meant to represent President Donald Trump (and, for those of you unfamiliar with the Bard and/or history, is thus stabbed to death on stage), by rushing the stage and screaming, “The blood of Steve Scalise is on your hands!”
According to The Daily Caller, the incident was streamed live by right-wing blogger Jack Posobiec, who screamed, “You all are Nazis, like Joseph Goebbels!” and “Goebbels would be proud!” as Loomer was taken off stage by security.
The play resumed shortly after the interruption.
“Today, we took the fight for free speech to the heart of left-wing terrorist radicalization,” Posobiec said in a statement to The Daily Caller, referring to Nazi Germany propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.
“Goebbels would be proud. President Trump was stabbed again and again and the crowd cheered. It made my blood run cold. These people must understand their actions have consequences. I call on the Public Theater to apologize to the family of Steve Scalise.”
Rather laughably, the Public Theater — which has put on the production of “Julius Caesar” — blamed the interruption on that old standby: paid protesters.
“While we are champions of the first amendment (sic), this interruption unfortunately was part of a paid strategy driven by social media,” a statement from the company read.
Loomer was charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing.
The play has come under increasing scrutiny in the wake of Wednesday’s shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, a congressional aide, a lobbyist and a Capitol Police officer. Conservatives say the attack was part of a trend that normalizes violence against both the president and conservatives. A number of commentators — including Loomer and Posobiec — have attempted to draw a connection between the shooting and the play.
Whether or not that pans out (we’ve yet to see evidence that Alexandria shooter James T. Hodgkinson had awareness of the production), it’s clear that the play represents a coarsening of American political discourse. Several sponsors have pulled their support, with Delta Air Lines noting in a statement that the production’s “artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste.”
We agree, and this is the kind of blowback that crossing the line on standards of good taste creates. The Public Theater’s notion that this was “paid protesters” is laughable spin. This was a peaceful protest, plain and simple: No incitement, no violence, just an expression of outrage at the left’s callous normalization of political violence.
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