On Friday night, alt-right activists Jack Posobiec and Laura Loomer stormed the stage of the controversial Shakespeare in the Park performance of Julius Caesar.
The performance came under fire recently due to its depiction of Julius Caesar, whose character is dressed as President Donald Trump. In the story, Julius Caesar is assassinated by a group of conspirators, including his friend Brutus, who betrays him. The assassination scene is bloody in every performance, being the climax of the play, and this iteration is no different. Caesar, dressed in a suit and wig, is stabbed several times and is left bloodied on the stage. I take many issues with this whole ordeal, from the unnecessary depiction of violence, to the the ignorance of the play Julius Caesar, to the hypocrisy of the alt-right.
I’ll be the first and loudest to say it, depicting the murder of a president is a wrong thing to do, it’s violent, in poor taste, and detrimental to political discourse. I know that this performance is technically “art” but there is a line that has to be drawn, and this gets really close to crossing that. (For example, Kathy Griffin crossed that line)
That being said, this gross depiction of the murder of the sitting president in no way makes it ok to charge the stage and get the performance shut down. What Posobiec and Loomer did was attention-seeking, hypocritical, stupid, and wrong.
The alt-right loves to point out how people on the left protest conservative speaking events at colleges and try to get some speakers shut down, but when they pull this kind of act it exposes them for the hypocrites they are. The alt-right aren’t “defenders of free speech” as the often claim to be, they only care about protecting their right to speak and want dissenting views shut down. They are what they fight. Even the rhetoric they used is identical to those they claim to despise; After Loomer storms the stage, Posobiec started calling the people around him Nazis and comparing the performance to the propaganda of Joseph Goebbels. To put the cherry on top, he also shouted that “The Blood of Steve Scalise is on their hands”. Classy.
Outside of the event there were people who were exercising their right to protest the event while still allowing the people attending and performing to exercise theirs. It is possible to protest this performance without interrupting it and calling everyone around you Nazis.
The one good outcome of this ordeal is that it exposes the utter hypocrisy of the alt-right. There is no difference between leftists demanding the removal of Milo Yiannopolous from a campus speaking event and alt-right activists charging the stage of a public performance to protest it. The alt-right has lost what little credibility they had left to discuss matters of free speech, especially if stunts like this continue to occur.
Hopefully Posobiec and Loomer can reflect on a quotation of Julius Caesar, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves“