Advertisement
Entertainment & Arts

Who were the protesters behind the Refuse Fascism banners at Disney Hall and the Oscars?

Protesters hoisted a 40-foot banner Friday night during the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s opening concert for a Weimar Republic-themed festival.
Protesters hoisted a 40-foot banner Friday night during the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s opening concert for a Weimar Republic-themed festival.
(Mark Swed / Los Angeles Times)

Armed with a hashtag and a 40-foot hand-painted banner, members of the group refusefascism.org unfurled a protest message against President Trump inside Walt Disney Concert Hall on Friday during the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s opening-night concert of a Weimar Republic-themed festival.

At the end of intermission, a small group of unidentified people seated behind the orchestra held up a white banner that read in bright red, “Trump/Pence #outnow,” with refusefascism.org below that. Video of the moment shows some members of the audience applauding.

The banner fit with the festival’s goal of encouraging dialogue about the ways that the past — particularly the artistically rich Weimar era, which flourished in the shadow of rising fascism — connects to the present and presages the future.

Advertisement

But Nana Bahlmann and Stephanie Barron, co-curators of the festival’s ancillary art and performance programming titled “Weimar Variations,” said the L.A. Phil had no warning of the protest. The demonstrators did not appear to disrupt the concert, and though a few left after the banner had been displayed, Bahlmann and Barron said, a few stayed to listen to the second half of the program. The protesters appeared to take down the banner themselves, and security did not need to escort anyone out, they said.

Similar banners were hoisted Sunday by protesters near Hollywood & Highland before the Oscars ceremony at the Dolby Theatre.

Refuse Fascism was founded after the 2016 election of Donald Trump and made news last year when The Times reported that the Los Angeles Police Department had ordered a confidential informant to secretly capture audio at four meetings of the Los Angeles chapter of Refuse Fascism. The revelation sparked criticism from civil rights leaders and The Times’ editorial board.

According to the group’s website, “RefuseFascism.org is a movement of people coming from diverse perspectives, united in our recognition that the Trump/Pence regime poses a catastrophic danger to humanity and the planet, and that it is our responsibility to drive them from power through non-violent protests that grow every day until our demand is met.”

Advertisement

The Times’ messages to the group’s national headquarters in New York, as well as its local chapter in L.A., were not answered Monday. The “news” portion of the site, however, included a link to Times’ classical music critic Mark Swed’s concert review, which mentions the protesters.


Newsletter
Get our daily Entertainment newsletter

Get the day's top stories on Hollywood, film, television, music, arts, culture and more.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.
Advertisement