A staging of the play “Julius Caesar” in New York City was briefly shut down by protesters Friday night — and reactions to that activity continue to circulate.
The controversial play in New York depicts the killing of what appears to be President Donald Trump. The protesters identified themselves as Laura Loomer and Jack Prosobiec. The two were removed from the outside staging area after yelling things such as “This is political violence against the Right!” and “You are all Goebbels. You are all Nazis like Joseph Goebbels … You are inciting terrorists. The blood of Steve Scalise is on your hands.”
Loomer was arrested after she refused to stop shouting. She was placed under arrest for disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing.
She was bailed out after a few hours — and after #FreeLaura began trending on social media. The play-interrupting act had many conservatives, especially creative conservatives, split on the issue of free speech. While the reasons Loomer and Prosobiec gave for protesting were understandable, the two were still trying to shut down what is essentially free speech by rushing the stage of the play. Others argue that when Loomer and Prosobiec were removed, it was their free speech that was stripped.
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Conservative Andrew Klavan, a novelist, was vocal in his disapproval of the act on Twitter.
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Meanwhile, others have voiced approval for the outburst. Conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza is among them.
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Leftists have used the event as a way to criticize conservatives as bullies of free speech. “Free speech for all, but let’s not stop the show,” said the play’s director, Oskar Eustis, to The New York Times.
If anything, the incident further shows a worrisome cultural gap between the Left and Right in America. After the horrible shooting this week of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and others at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, people should have realized that depicting the death of the president in a play and shouting down others with whom you disagree are problematic actions — and not helpful to a country trying to look to the future.
On the other hand, had a play depicted the death of former President Barack Obama, this story would be entirely different.
There would be leftists no doubt doing exactly what Loomer and Prosobiec did on Friday night — and the mainstream media would be behind them.