What to Know
- A Pro-Trump protester was arrested onstage at The Public Theater's production of "Julius Caesar" in Central Park on Friday night
- The production has faced a backlash over the on-stage killing of a Trump-like dictator
- The Public has long protected its role as incubator of provocative and challenging works, and has continued to defend the production
A supporter of President Trump jumped onstage during a performance of "Julius Caesar" in Central Park before she was arrested, police said.
The play, put on by The Public Theater, portrays a dictator, with the intention of imitating Donald Trump, in a business suit with a long tie who gets knifed to death onstage. The production has drawn criticism from the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and other conservatives.
The protester took to the stage of the Delacorte Theater around 8:30 p.m. Friday and interrupted the show for about ten minutes, police said.
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Video posted to Twitter by pro-Trump activist Jack Posobiec appears to show the event unfold. He captioned the video: "BREAKING: Julius Ceasar [sic] Gets SHUTDOWN."
"Stop the normalization of political violence against the right — this is unacceptable," the woman shouted onstage. "You cannot promote this kind of violence against Donald Trump."
She is eventually drowned out by an announcer calling for security and a chorus of boos from the audience.
"Shame on the New York City Public Theater for doing this," she shouted.
Moments later, a man holding the camera in the video posted by Posobiec — it may be Posobiec himself — starts shouting at the audience.
"You are all Goebbels, you are all Nazis like Joseph Goebbels," the man said as he pointed at the audience. "You are inciting terrorists."
Goebbels was a minister of propaganda in Nazi Germany.
"The blood of Steve Scalise is on your hands," the man shouted as he is taken away by security.
Congressman Scalise, House Majority Whip, was among several people injured in a shooting in Virginia earlier this week. The shooter, who was shot and killed by police, had a social media page filled with criticism of Republicans and the Trump administration.
The protester onstage appears to be pro-Trump activist Laura Loomer, who posted what appeared to be a first-person video of the incident to her Periscope account. She and Posobiec have contributed to The Rebel Media, a right-wing website.
The hashtag #FreeLaura was trending on Twitter Friday night.
The woman onstage was eventually placed under arrest. Police said she’ll be charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing.
No injuries were reported.
A performance of the classic Shakespeare play went on as planned in Central Park on Monday night despite uproar over the stabbing of the Trump look-alike.
Delta Air Lines and Bank of America have pulled their sponsorship of the Public's version of the play, but in a statement Monday the theater said it stands behind the production. It noted its staging has "provoked heated discussion" but "such discussion is exactly the goal of our civically-engaged theater; this discourse is the basis of a healthy democracy."
Other defenders included Scott Stringer, the New York City comptroller, who wrote letters to the heads of Delta and Bank of America, arguing that dropping their support "sends the wrong message." He writes: "Art matters. The First Amendment matters. Expression matters." He enclosed copies of the play with the letters.
"I hope you enjoy it — it is a classic, in any age," he wrote.