A man shouted “Heil Hitler! Heil Trump!” and gave a Nazi salute during a performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” in Baltimore Wednesday night, according to audience members.
Police were called and the man was escorted from the theater. He was not arrested, and a police spokesman later told VICE News that the man's outburst was "considered protected free speech because nobody was directly threatened.”
But the incident frightened some audience members, with one telling the Baltimore Sun that theatergoers thought it might have been the start of a shooting.
“People started running,” said Rich Scherr, who’s also a sports writer for the Sun. “I’ll be honest: I was waiting to hear a gunshot. I thought, ‘Here we go.’”
Scherr posted a brief video showing the aftermath of the incident on his Facebook.
“Fiddler on the Roof” is a classic that tells the story of a Jewish family forced to leave Russia after persecution from the state.
A recent mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue reflects a rise in hate crimes against Jews and other groups, including blacks, in the past few years.
President Donald Trump enjoys popularity among many far-right extremists. He failed to denounce white nationalists who marched in August 2017 on Charlottesville, Virginia, after one of them killed Heather Heyer, a leftist counterprotester. Additionally, the president said that he would not tone down his rhetoric after he a man cited him as the inspiration behind sending letter bombs to prominent Democrats, including Barack Obama, George Soros, and Hillary Clinton.
Cover: Russia's Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar at the Fiddler on the Roof award ceremony by the Federation of Russian Jewish Communities, Moscow. (Eugene Odinokov/Sputnik via AP)