Protesters defend disruption at Shakespeare in the Park production in New York



June 17 (Reuters) - Two people who disrupted a controversial New York production of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" took to social media on Saturday to defend their protest of the performance that portrays the assassinated Roman leader with an actor costumed to resemble U.S. President Donald Trump.

The open-air stage production featuring a magnetic blond businessman as the ill-fated Caesar, prompted outrage from the president's supporters who said the link with Trump would encourage political violence. The flap led two corporate sponsors to pull out.

SEE ALSO: Delta pulls sponsorship of 'Julius Caesar' over Trump-like portrayal

"Last night, Conservatives took back the theater, an institution they have been locked out of for too long. The left lost their safe space!" Laura Loomer, a journalist for right-wing media organization The Rebel, wrote on Twitter.

Loomer, 24, was arrested for misdemeanor criminal tresspassing and disorderly conduct after rushing the stage during the open-air performance of the play on Friday evening, said a New York police spokesman. She was later released with a ticket ordering her to appear in court.

The Public Theater, which is staging the play in Central Park, has responded to the criticism by saying the production is valid artistic expression in keeping with a long tradition of William Shakespeare adaptations.

At the same time as Loomer jumped on the stage, a second protester stood up in the audience to loudly criticize the production and audience. "You are inciting terrorists, the blood of Steve Scalise is on your hands," the man yelled. He was then led away by security guards.

Click through reactions to the protest here:

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Reactions to protest at controversial 'Julius Caesar' play
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Reactions to protest at controversial 'Julius Caesar' play
The Left doesn't like it when their tactics are used against their "expression." How many wd storm stage if "Obama"… https://t.co/pO4bH3u0Te
Laura, do you REALLY not know the play was staged in DC in 2012 with an Obama-like Caesar? Without protest or stunt… https://t.co/jdVIkyyalP
I can't imagine how little you have to worry about in your life to protest a Shakespeare play
Just to be clear - because it's reached my attention we don't all know this - the events in a play, although happening live, are not real.
Black Americans are executed without consequence by the cops while alt-right nerds feel victimized by Shakespeare https://t.co/JC86QHGfIO
Caesar killed in a play & you protest! Cop kills #PhilandoCastile w/ impunity in front of a 4-yr-old girl & dead silence. #FreeLaura's mind.
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The protester later identified himself online, where he posted the video, as Jack Posobiec, who wrote a book called "Citizens for Trump."

U.S. Congressman Steve Scalise, the No. 3 Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, was critically wounded on Wednesday when he and three others were shot on a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia. The attacker, who had raged against Trump on social media, was killed by police returning fire.

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Shooting at congressional baseball practice
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Shooting at congressional baseball practice
A police officer mans a shooting scene after a gunman opened fire on Republican members of Congress during a baseball practice near Washington in Alexandria, Virginia, June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Police survey a shooting scene after a gunman opened fire on Republican members of Congress during a baseball practice near Washington in Alexandria, Virginia, June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Police investigate a shooting scene after a gunman opened fire on Republican members of Congress during a baseball practice near Washington in Alexandria, Virginia, June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) talks to reporters after a gunman opened fire on Republican members of Congress during a baseball practice near Washington in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
People walk away from the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. The third highest ranked U.S. House Republican and at least four others were injured Wednesday morning in a shooting at a congressional baseball practice field the Alexandria neighborhood witnesses said. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A police officer stands next to a vehicle with a damaged window near the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. The third highest ranked U.S. House Republican and at least four others were injured Wednesday morning in a shooting at a congressional baseball practice field the Alexandria neighborhood witnesses said. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A police officer stands guard near the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. The third highest ranked U.S. House Republican and at least four others were injured Wednesday morning in a shooting at a congressional baseball practice field the Alexandria neighborhood witnesses said. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
People stand past crime scene tape near the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. The third highest ranked U.S. House Republican and at least four others were injured Wednesday morning in a shooting at a congressional baseball practice field the Alexandria neighborhood witnesses said. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Police tape is viewed near the crime scene of an early morning shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, June 14, 2017. At least five people people including a top Republican congressman were wounded in a Washington suburb early Wednesday morning when a shooting erupted as they practiced for an annual baseball game between lawmakers. Senior congressman Steve Scalise was shot in the hip, according to fellow Republican lawmaker Mo Brooks who told CNN at least two law enforcement officers and one congressional staffer were also shot in the incident in Alexandria, Virginia. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JUNE 14: Investigators gather at Eugene Simpson Field, the site where a gunman opened fire June 14, 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia. Multiple injuries were reported from the instance, the site where a congressional baseball team was holding an early morning practice, including House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) who was reportedly shot in the hip. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JUNE 14: Members the FBI survey the damages possibly caused by gun shots on a wall at the site of this morning's shooting at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park June 14, 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia. U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) was among five wounded in the attack, including the suspected gunman, as Republican congressional members practiced for a charity baseball game. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JUNE 14: A member of the FBI Evidence Response Team collects evidence at a vehicle whose window is broken at the site of this morning's shooting at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park June 14, 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia. U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) was among five wounded in the attack, including the suspected gunman, as Republican congressional members practiced for a charity baseball game. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JUNE 14: Members of the FBI Evidence Response Team collect evidence at the site of this morning's shooting at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park June 14, 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia. U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) was among five wounded in the attack, including the suspected gunman, as Republican congressional members practiced for a charity baseball game. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
US Representative Chuck Fleischmann, Republican of Tennessee, speaks to the media about a shooting incident during a Congressional baseball practice in Virginia after returning to the US Capitol in Washington, DC, June 14, 2017. Several people including a top Republican congressman were wounded in a Washington suburb early Wednesday morning when a gunman opened fire as they practiced for an annual baseball game between lawmakers. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, gets on an elevator as he heads to a vote at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, June 14, 2017, following a report that the shooter in the attack targeting Congressmen in nearby Virginia was a Sanders supporter. Several people including a top Republican congressman were wounded in a Washington suburb early Wednesday morning when a gunman opened fire as they practiced for an annual baseball game between lawmakers. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan walks to his office after making a statement on the House floor at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, June 14, 2017, following a shooting incident targeting Congressmen in nearby Virginia. Several people including a top Republican congressman were wounded in a Washington suburb early Wednesday morning when a gunman opened fire as they practiced for an annual baseball game between lawmakers. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JUNE 14: A marker is placed next to a piece of evidence at the scene of this morning's shooting at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park June 14, 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia. U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) was among five wounded in the attack, including the suspected gunman, as Republican congressional members practiced for a charity baseball game. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JUNE 14: Investigators search for evidence at the scene of this morning's shooting at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park June 14, 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia. U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) was among five wounded in the attack, including the suspected gunman, as Republican congressional members practiced for a charity baseball game. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14: The Peace Monument at the U.S. Capitol is shown, on June 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. This morning House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) three others were shot by a gunman during Congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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Earlier this week, Delta Air Lines Inc and Bank of America Corp pulled funding of the production, hours after Trump's son Donald Jr. sent a Twitter message questioning whether it was art or political speech.

In Posobiec's video from New York, audience members are heard booing to show displeasure with the disruption, as Posobiec shouts to call them "Nazis." Posobiec was not arrested.

The nonprofit Public Theater noted that like its critics, it also has the right of free speech under the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It vowed to continue with its staging of "Julius Caesar" in an enclosed theater in New York's Central Park.

"While we are champions of the first amendment, this interruption unfortunately was part of a paid strategy driven by social media," it said on Twitter.

Loomer and Posobiec denied they were paid to protest.

About two weeks ago, comedian Kathy Griffin faced a backlash over her posing for a photograph with a fake severed and bloodied head resembling Trump. As a consequence, she lost her job as a co-host of CNN's New Year's Eve coverage. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank McGurty and David Gregorio)

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