Two protesters interrupted a performance of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in New York’s Central Park on Friday night, with one rushing onstage to decry the production’s parallels between the Roman dictator and President Donald Trump.
“BREAKING: Julius Ceasar Gets SHUTDOWN,” tweeted pro-Trump Pizzagate conspiracist Jack Posobiec, misspelling the play’s name, as Laura Loomer, a right-wing activist, stormed the stage during the assassination scene, in which (spoiler alert) Julius Caesar is assassinated by members of the Roman Senate.
“You are all Goebbels,” Posobiec shouted in the video, referring to the Nazi propaganda minister. “You are inciting terrorists! ... The blood of Steve Scalise is on your hands!”
The assassination scene has drawn criticism, as Caesar is depicted in the play as wearing a long red tie, a blonde bouffant, and grabbing his Slavic-accented wife’s crotch—not-so-subtle modernizations that have angered Trump supporters. Delta Air Lines and the Bank of America pulled sponsorship from the Public Theater, which produces New York’s annual “Shakespeare In the Park” summer series.
The Public has defended the work. In a statement to the Daily Beast, Oskar Eustis, artistic director of the Public Theater, said: “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 protestors 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.”
The play, which is more than 400 years old, has been a frequent medium for critiquing contemporary political leaders throughout the centuries. Delta notably did not withdraw its sponsorship of a production of the play when President Obama was presented as the murdered Caesar in a Minneapolis production five years ago.