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Two Protesters Disrupt ‘Julius Caesar’ in Central Park


People arrived for Shakespeare in the Park’s production of “Julius Caesar” at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park on Monday.

Bryan R. Smith/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A production of “Julius Caesar” in Central Park was disrupted on Friday evening by two protesters who objected to the bloody scene in which the title character, played by an actor costumed and styled to resemble President Trump, is knifed to death.

A woman who later identified herself on social media as Laura Loomer jumped onto the stage just after the assassination of Caesar and began shouting, “Stop the normalization of political violence against the right,” and, “This is violence against Donald Trump.” Ms. Loomer describes herself as a “a right-wing investigative journalist and activist” who has previously worked with James O’Keefe, the conservative activist known for selectively edited undercover video investigations.

Ms. Loomer’s interruption of the scene was being recorded by a man in the audience who began shouting, “You are all Goebbels,” a reference to the Hitler aide and Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. On social media, Jack Posobiec, an activist who supports President Trump and has been associated with conspiracy theories, identified himself as Ms. Loomer’s collaborator.

The show was paused briefly, with the actors still on stage, as security officers removed the two protesters from the Delacorte Theater, the 1,800-seat outdoor amphitheater in which Shakespeare in the Park is staged. The audience tried to shout down the protesters, and applauded as they were removed.

The show then resumed as a stage manager announced, “Pick up at ‘liberty and freedom,’” referring to the lines in the play that came next.

“Two protesters disrupted our show tonight; we stopped the show for less than a minute and our stage manager handled it beautifully,” Oskar Eustis, the artistic director of the Public Theater and the director of the “Julius Caesar” production, said in a statement. “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.”


Elizabeth Marvel as Antony, left, Tina Benko as Calpurnia and Gregg Henry as Caesar in a preview of “Julius Caesar” at Delacorte Theater in Central Park last month.

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Ms. Loomer, 24, continued to shout from outside the theater after she was removed, and declined requests by the police to step away from the structure; she was then arrested. The New York Police Department said she was charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct and was released.

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