New York’s Public Theater has been in the spotlight for its controversial production of “Julius Caesar” in which Caesar bears a striking resemblance to Donald Trump. Following right-wing activist Laura Loomer’s arrest after disrupting of the production (video below), Trump fans have been coming out en masse against the play, many of whom seem to believe that it is, in fact, real.
NYPD: "You are free to assassinate the President, but if you even think of protesting the assassination, we will arrest you."#FreeLaura
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) June 17, 2017
The play has sparked outrage among conservatives. “Fox & Friends” claimed that a “tax-funded play ‘assassinates’ [the] President,” despite the fact that the National Endowment for the Arts said on its website that no taxpayer dollars went into the production.
In a FOX News article on the matter, the conservative outlet was forced to include an editor’s note, evidence that the report had blurred the lines between the fact that the “assassination” occurred in a play and not in real life. FOX News also seems ignorant to the fact that the play itself is about the assassination of a leader.
Editor’s Note: This article has been amended to more prominently state that the mock assassination occurred in a production of “Julius Caesar.”
The artistic director of the Public Theater, Oskar Eustis, refuted the conservative claim, saying, “anybody who watches this play … will know that neither Shakespeare nor the Public Theater could possibly advocate violence as a solution to political problems, and certainly not assassination. This play, on the contrary, warns about what happens when you try to preserve democracy by non-democratic means and again, spoiler alert, it doesn’t end up too good.”
— Dan Garodnick (@DanGarodnick) June 13, 2017
Of course, the right has always had a tenuous relationship with facts. In this case, it seems they have a tenuous relationship with reality, as well.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.