Fear swept over the audience as one member in the upper balcony at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore shouted, “Heil Hitler, Heil Trump,” during the intermission of the performance “Fiddler on the Roof” — a Jewish musical.
During an intermission, a man didn’t quite agree with the final scene, as it reminded him of his hatred toward President Donald Trump, therefore, he decided to act out — with alcohol being a contributing factor as well.
It had appeared that the man had been “drinking heavily throughout the night,” police say, he began yelling and holding his hand in the air in Nazi salute, one audience member observed, The Baltimore Sun reported.
With anti-semitism on the rise and just weeks after a Pittsburgh synagogue mass shooting, the shouting caused fear amongst the audience that they were about to be faced with a violent situation.
“People started running,” audience member Rich Scherr told The Baltimore Sun. “I’ll be honest, I was waiting to hear a gunshot. I thought, ‘Here we go.'”
Watch the video below:
Sick, sad world. A man stands at intermission of tonight’s performance of Fiddler in Baltimore and yells, “Heil Hitler,” along with pro-Trump references. pic.twitter.com/slDcPwF7re
— Rich Scherr (@writerguyRich) November 15, 2018
In 2017, the U.S. saw the largest single-year increase on record in rise of anti-Semitic incidents, rising 57 percent — recent FBI data shows that anti-Semitic hate crimes rose 37 percent last year.
The show, “Fiddler on the Roof,” tells of a family that is facing prosecution:
“In prerevolutionary Russia, a Jewish peasant contends with marrying off three of his daughters while growing anti-Semitic sentiment threatens his village.”
“It is a story inherently about Jews being made not to feel welcome, and here is this bozo who decided to express that he felt we should not be welcome here either,” audience member Theodore Casser shared with The Baltimore Sun — Casser is of Jewish faith herself.
As audience members grew angry, the officer shared that the man’s intention “was to express his dislike for President Donald Trump.”
The Baltimore Police escorted the man out of the theater, drawing applause from the audience as the show continued — however, the man was not arrested, The Baltimore Sun reported.
“As reprehensible as those words are, they are considered protected free speech because nobody was directly threatened,” police spokesman Matt Jablow told The Baltimore Sun.
The Hippodrome Theatre condemned the audience member’s actions, saying it “is not, and will not be, tolerated.”
“We apologize to those patrons who were affected by this unfortunate incident. Our venue has a proud tradition of providing shared experiences to people from all walks of life, right in the heart of this wonderfully diverse city, and we intend to continue that tradition in the spirit of bringing people together, not dividing them.”
Statement from Hippodrome Theatre where an audience member was escorted out last night for allegedly yelling "Heil Hitler" and "Heil Trump" during a Fiddler on the Roof performance. pic.twitter.com/eBXm2PJZyW
— Tasneem N (@TasneemN) November 15, 2018
National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s production of the “Fiddler on the Roof” was scheduled for an eight-week run, being extended four times, is still running at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan, but will soon move off-Broadway to the venue Stage 42 in February.