The horrors that currently grip our nation were put on full display last night when a man caused panic in a crowded theater by yelling “Heil Trump! Heil Hitler!” while making the Nazi salute at the intermission of a play.
It wasn’t just any play, either. Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre was performing Fiddler on the Roof, a play about a Jewish family attempting to preserve their traditions.
With the memories of the massacre of eleven Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh still fresh in everyone’s minds, theater patrons assumed the worst when they heard the awful shout. “People started running. I’ll be honest, I was waiting to hear a gunshot. I thought, ‘Here we go'” said audience member Rich Scherr to the Baltimore Sun.
“The people around me appeared to be quite shaken by the incident…There were some people in tears” said patron Samit Verma.
Police came and escorted the man out of the theater, but only issued a stop citation to him, which is the law enforcement equivalent of the gentlest slap on the wrist. “As reprehensible as those words are, they are considered protected free speech because nobody was directly threatened,” said police spokesman Matt Jablow.
Anti-semitism is on the rise in America, largely thanks to the political ascension of Donald Trump and his open embrace of white supremacy. His naked racism, xenophobia, and wink-nudge-wink use of anti-Semitic conspiracies to attack his enemies have signaled to American neo-Nazis and other variations of far-right wing extremist that it’s okay to take the hoods off and say the quiet part loud — and you can’t get much louder than this.
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