Free speech
November 16, 2018

Right after Act I of Wednesday night's performance of Fiddler on the Roof at Baltimore's Hippodrome Theater, the intermission was interrupted by a shout from the balcony: "Heil Hitler, Heil Trump!" Late Thursday, Baltimore police identified the shouter as Anthony Derlunas II, a 58-year-old man who said he had been "drinking heavily throughout the night" and was inspired to yell pro-Nazi slogans during the popular musical because the end of Act I — where Russians storm a Jewish wedding, staging a pogrom against the village's Jewish residents — reminded him of his hatred of President Trump.

Derlunas, the police said, blamed the anger his outburst caused and his rapid expulsion and lifetime ban from the Hippodrome on Trump supporters in the theater. Other theatergoers told The New York Times they assumed the shouting of "Heil Hitler" was linked to the rise in U.S. anti-Semitism and feared the shouter also had a gun. "I was waiting to hear a gunshot, frankly," sportswriter Rich Scherr told the Times. "I'm like shrinking in my seat thinking, 'Oh my God, does this guy have a gun?'" added Beth Pendergast, who brought her 23-year-old daughter to the show.

Derlunas will not face any charges, said Matthew Jablow, a spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department. "As reprehensible as the man's words were, they are considered protected free speech because nobody was directly threatened." A few weeks earlier, a gunman murdered 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Coincidentally, this touring production of Fiddler on the Roof is scheduled to head to Pittsburgh after its Baltimore run ends Nov. 18. Peter Weber

January 25, 2017

Bestselling author Roxane Gay will no longer publish her forthcoming book with Simon & Schuster after the publishing house's decision to reportedly buy alt-right personality Milo Yiannopoulos' book in a $250,000 deal last month, BuzzFeed News reports. Gay's book, How to Be Heard, was scheduled to be published by the Simon & Schuster imprint TED Books in March 2018.

"I can't in good conscience let them publish it while they also publish Milo," Gay said Wednesday. "So I told my agent over the weekend to pull the project."

Many in the literary community have expressed distress over Simon & Schuster's plans to publish Yiannopoulos, who last year was banned from Twitter for hate speech. "I'm more powerful, more influential, and more fabulous than ever before and this book is the moment Milo goes mainstream," Yiannopoulos said in a December announcement of his book deal. "Social justice warriors should be scared — very scared."

How to Be Heard has not yet found a new publisher. "Milo has every right to say what he wants to say, however distasteful I and many others find it to be," Gay told BuzzFeed News. "He doesn't have a right to have a book published by a major publisher but he has, in some bizarre twist of fate, been afforded that privilege. So be it. I'm not interested in doing business with a publisher willing to grant him that privilege." Jeva Lange

March 23, 2015

Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) 30-minute long talk in front of thousands at Liberty University earlier today was delivered without the assistance of text on a screen, his spokesman said. The Hill credits Cruz's impressive feat to his career as an accomplished lawyer (he was forced to speak off the cuff in front of the Supreme Court) and his past as a Princeton University Debate Team hall-of-famer. Teresa Mull

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