Outrage over the Public Theater's recent production of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" in New York City's Central Park — one which features President Donald Trump as the titular and eventually assassinated dictator — continues.
On top of protestors who have interrupted the show multiple times, the torrent of death threats and critiques delivered through voicemail, social media or email has become so broad and impassioned that, often, institutions and businesses that have nothing to do with the Public Theater find themselves under fire.
For example, Shakespeare & Company, a regional theater in in Lenox, Massachusetts, has received numerous death threats and hate-fueled messages despite having no part in Oskar Eustis' offending production of "Julius Caesar".
"F— you," one message said, according to the Washington Post. "[H]ope you all who did this play about Trump are the first do die when ISIS COMES TO YOU f—– sumbags [sic]." Another message told the company that they are, "vial [sic] despicable excuses for human beings. I wish you all the worst possible life you could have and hope you all get sick and die." Currently, Shakespeare and Company is staging "4000 Miles," the Obie Award-winning play by Amy Herzog. No one resembling the President dies in it.
Shakespeare in Dallas is yet another theater wrongfully associated with the production, and received threats "of rape, death, and wishes that the theater’s staff is 'sent to ISIS to be killed with real knives,'" according to the Post. That Dallas theater's own Shakespeare in the Park is currently offering the Bard's comedy, "The Merry Wives of Windsor," though their late-season staging of "Titus Andronicus" could be more relevant to recent political events.
The threats of actual violence being levied against individuals and institutions regardless of their association to the Public Theater over the portrayal of fictional violence is, of course, deeply ironic. Equally so are the multiple interruptions of the Public's "Julius Caesar" staged by right-wing protesters who demand the production be shut down in hopes of creating something like a "safe space."
"This is violence against Donald Trump," Laura Loomer a member of the audience screamed on Friday night, according to The Guardian. "[T]his is political violence against the right," she continued. The protest was filmed by far-right conspiracy proponent Jack Posobiec who helped propagate the Pizzagate theory, The Guardian reported. It wasn't long after that Posobiec joined his comrade in disrupting a play that was originally written in the year 1599.
"You are all Goebbels. You are all Nazis like Joseph Goebbels . . . You are inciting terrorists. The blood of Steve Scalise is on your hands," Posobiec yelled. Posobiec posted the video to his Twitter account under the title "BREAKING: Julius Ceasar [sic] Gets SHUTDOWN," misspelling the name of the play.
Protests continued on Sunday final staging of the play's run as right-wingers gathered outside the theater and others disrupted the performance. One protester, Jovanni Vale, even stormed the stage and shouted "Liberal hate kills" before being quickly grabbed by security, according to the New York Daily News. Soon after, Salvatore Cipolla did the same while yelling "Goebbels would be proud."