“Mischief, thou art afoot, take thou what course thou wilt!” Two protestors seem to have taken Antony’s line in Julius Caesar to heart on Friday when they rushed the stage of the Delacorte Theater production in protest of the depiction of Julius Caesar as Donald Trump. The protestors, one Laura Loomer and Jack Prosobiec, interrupted the performance just after the famous assassination scene.
Oskar Eustis of Public Theater New York released a statement after the pair’s protest, outlining the incident:
“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.”
Loomer took to the stage just after the stabbing scene, shouting “This is violence against Donald Trump,” and “stop the normalization of political violence against the right.” That’s when her accomplice, Prosobiec, who was recording Loomer’s protest, chimed in “you are all Goebbels,” comparing audience members to the Nazi propagandist.
Security escorted Loomer off stage and removed both Loomer and Prosobiec from the theater. Loomer wouldn’t leave the premises, however, and continued shouting, “You guys are just as bad as ISIS,” “the blood of Steve Scalise is on your hands!” and “Because of liberal violence like this, a congressman this week was shot in Virginia.” She was arrested for disorderly conduct and criminal trespass.
If the protestors’ names sound familiar, it’s because both are each known for pulling stunts aligned with right wing and nationalist causes. Jack Posobiec, a “filmmaker and recovering political operative,” has ties to the Pizzagate and Seth Rich conspiracy theories. He’s also linked to a massive hack of the French president’s email, sharing the cache of emails through the hashtag #MacronLeaks. He has been peddling the idea that the leaked emails indicate President Emmanuel Macron is under the influence of mind control. He briefly worked at Rebel Media as their Washington Correspondent, but was let go in May. Prior to his stint there, he was special projects director at Citizens for Trump.
Laura Loomer, a self-described investigative journalist, has worked with Rebel Media as well as Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe, who is known for his undercover video stings. In 2015, a professor at Barry University filed a police report over a video that appeared to catch administrators consenting to the formation of a pro-ISIS club on campus, footage the professor didn’t know was being recorded or would be selectively edited for Project Veritas. She has also participated in the New York City #MarchAgainstSharia, and at that demonstration covered the famous Fearless Girl statue on Wall Street with a burqa.
Loomer in particular seems to feel that the protest was a success, and that her actions are “forcing the #FakeNews to report on the normalization of left wing political violence.” The disruption certainly gave her plenty of video and still footage to work with following her release from jail. Since getting out, she’s been retweeting supportive followers, praising Donald Trump, and trying to raise money for her legal fees.
Prosobiec has been quieter and has mostly followed up the protest by trying to educate his Twitter followers on what he calls the “stunt-right” movement, which has links to Andrew Breitbart, founder of the nationalist, conservative, and alt-right publication Breitbart News.
The provocative portrayal has lost the Delacourt theater several sponsors and sparked other, off-stage protests. The production’s defenders, though, note that far from advocating for political violence, Julius Caesar warns of the dangers when different factions, each believing they are acting for the good of the country, take extreme measures for democracy.