Like Mark Antony, who vowed to “Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war” to avenge the death of the Roman leader in “Julius Caesar,” Trump supporters got their last chance to speak their mind about the Public Theater’s controversial performance of Shakespeare’s tragedy.
The play, which opened the theater’s annual Shakespeare in the Park on May 23, cast a President Donald Trump doppelganger in the role of the assassinated dictator and a firestorm ensued, leading advertisers such as Delta Air Lines and Bank of America to pull their support.
The backlash continued through the final weekend of “Julius Caesar.” The Rebel journalist Laura Loomer was arrested Friday for trespassing and disorderly conduct after she stormed the stage yelling, “Stop leftist violence” and “New York Public Theater is ISIS,” according to the New York Post.
According to its website, The Rebel hired a lawyer and started a defense fund for now-freed Loomer.
“The murder-porn remake of Julius Caesar is just the latest attempt to normalize violence against conservatives,” it said. “The left has abandoned democratic norms and embraced fascist political violence.”
During the final performance Sunday night, Javanni Valle and Salvatore Cipolla were arrested and also charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing for separately rushing the stage. One’s interruption came early in the play, while the second occurred about halfway through, during the scene in which Caesar is assassinated by his peers after they feel he is threatening Rome’s democracy and gaining too much power.
During one of the interruptions, one of the men shouted “Liberal hate kills,” the Post reported.
“It was unsettling,” an audience member identified as only Damion told the paper. He said that one of the men was “calling everyone Goebbels and Nazis” before he was removed and that the disruptions “added an element of adrenaline” because it wasn’t at first clear if they were protesters or extras.
Of the controversy, the Public Theater said in a statement it stood by its production of “Julius Caesar” and that it “in no way advocates violence towards anyone” and that it makes “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.”