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The man who shouted “Heil Hitler, heil Trump” at a Baltimore performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” apologized Friday for his outburst, saying he chose the wrong words when he was attempting to compare President Donald Trump to the Nazi leader.
Anthony M. Derlunas II, 58, said the play, which tells the story of a Jewish family facing persecution in tsarist Russia, reminded him of Trump’s immigration policies. His comparison “came out wrong” and was “beyond a mistake” he said during an interview at his home in Joppa.
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“Instantly it was like, ‘Oh my God, what did you do?’ ” said Derlunas, who acknowledged he had been drinking heavily before the show. “The thing that I can’t stand is Trump spreading hatred, and what did I do? I spread hatred.”
Derlunas’ outburst came during the intermission of the show at the Hippodrome Theatre on Wednesday evening. He was escorted from the theater’s balcony by security, and police issued him a stop ticket — less serious than a citation.
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Police spokesman Matt Jablow said his words were protected by the First Amendment.
Audience members said they at first feared Derlunas’ shouting was the start of a more violent event.
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“People started running,” audience member Richard Scherr said. “I’ll be honest, I was waiting to hear a gunshot. I thought, ‘Here we go.’ ”
Scherr said it was hard to focus on the play afterward.
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“My heart was just racing,” he said. “I didn’t even really pay attention to the second act.”
Derlunas’ actions earned swift condemnation from the public — particularly the Jewish community.
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On Friday, the Anti-Defamation League urged the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office to press charges against Derlunas.
“For those in attendance, this anti-Semitic outburst was a threatening, intimidating act of disorderly conduct. We have seen the devastating and tragic consequences of hateful rhetoric repeatedly in recent weeks,” Doron...
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