Theater-goers at the Baltimore performance of ‘Fiddler’ thought a shooting was about to begin
A night out to see a popular play turned terrifying for theater-goers in Baltimore, when, during intermission at a performance of Fiddler on the Roof, a man stood up and started yelling, “Heil Hitler, Heil Trump.”
Most people are probably already aware of this, but Fiddler is a classic musical about persecuted Jews in pre-revolutionary Russia. Yelling “Heil Hitler” anywhere is supremely wrong, but yelling it at a performance of this particular play may actually be worse. And the man’s cries of “Heil Trump” tell us exactly why he felt emboldened to behave this way.
Rich Scherr, a contributor to the Baltimore Sun, caught video of the moments following the man’s outburst and posted it to Facebook.
Right after the man started yelling, Scherr told the Sun, he thought a shooting was about to begin.
“People started running,” Scherr said. “I’ll be honest, I was waiting to hear a gunshot. I thought, ‘Here we go.'”
Not exactly an unreasonable assumption, considering the frequent occurrence of both mass shootings and anti-semitic acts in the U.S. The Sun found that in Baltimore alone, reports of anti-Jewish incidents increased 47 percent in 2017. And this comes just weeks after 11 people were killed in a shooting at a Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Thankfully, there was no shooting this time. No one was hurt. Police escorted the man from the theater and the show went on. But that doesn’t mean all was totally well.
“My heart was just racing,” Scherr said. “I didn’t even really pay attention to the second act.”
And who can blame him?
It wasn’t lost on anyone that the anti-semitic slurs were yelled during a musical about a Jewish family.
We should know who he is and his associations should be investigated. Its 2018 and identifying yourself as a nazi during Fiddler on the Roof is an act of terror. Tell me I'm wrong.
— Paul Gardner (@paulmgardner) November 15, 2018
It’s also painfully clear why these events seem to be happening nationwide with greater frequency. Because it’s not “seem to” — they really are.
A man shouted "Heil Hitler, Heil Trump!" during a performance of "Fiddler on the Roof" in Baltimore.
Anti-Jewish hate crimes in America rose by 37% in 2017, according to FBI data.
— AJ+ (@ajplus) November 15, 2018
And we know the likely reason.
The president very clearly thinks his base is activated by racism and bigotry, and racists and bigots very clearly think the president is on their side.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) November 15, 2018
The reality in the U.S. is that we have to be on alert for mass shootings everywhere we go. Recent history shows that nowhere is safe — not schools, not movie theaters, not churches or synagogues. Until our politicians stop feeding this hateful rhetoric and putting NRA money before common sense reform, this will continue to be our reality.