Ben Platt and his ‘Parade’ co-stars condemn antisemitic protesters ‘spreading evil’

A man with brown hair and facial hair wearing a beige suit poses for pictures
Ben Platt at the premiere of “West Side Story” on Dec. 7, 2021, in Los Angeles.
(Chris Pizzello / Associated Press Photo)

The cast and creatives of the Broadway musical “Parade” are speaking out against antisemitism after protesters heckled audience members Tuesday.

After wrapping the show’s first preview performance, star Ben Platt denounced “neo-Nazi protesters” in an Instagram post shared Tuesday evening.

“For those who don’t know, there were a few neo-Nazi protesters from a really disgusting group outside of the theater, bothering some of our patrons on their way in and saying antisemitic things about Leo Frank, who the show is about, and just spreading antisemitic rhetoric that led to this whole story in the first place,” the Tony winner said in his video.


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“Parade” is a musical adaptation of the story of Frank, a Jewish man who was falsely accused of murdering a 13-year-old girl named Mary Phagan in Atlanta. Frank, portrayed by Platt in the musical, was convicted and lynched.

As “Parade” audience members lined up at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in New York on Monday, members of the National Socialist Movement claimed patrons were paying to “worship a pedophile” and that the play was “romanticizing” pedophilia. Protesters also displayed signs bearing similar messages.

In his video, Platt said he learned about the protests when he went on social media after the show.

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“It was definitely very ugly and scary but a wonderful reminder of why we’re telling this particular story and how special and powerful art and, particularly, theater can be,” he continued.

Platt’s fellow “Parade” stars Douglas Lyons and Micaela Diamond also shared similar sentiments on their social media profiles.

Lyons addressed the protesters, writing “fear don’t work here baby.

A man with scruffy brown hair and facial hair in a tuxedo against a red backdrop
Ben Platt, at the 74th Tony Awards, in New York, stars as Leo Frank in the Broadway musical “Parade.”
(Evan Agostini / Invision / Associated Press)

“We gon tell the story and we gon tell it with conviction,” he said in his Instagram post.

In her Instagram story, Diamond shared a screenshot of a news article about the protesters outside the theater.

“We learned of this at half hour and in the same breath went on to celebrate our beautiful members making broadway debuts,” she wrote. “Somehow, our company was able to hold both. Massive celebration and raging disappointment. What a reminder of how important this story is. I can’t wait to tell it again and again.”

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Oct. 4, 2009

On Wednesday, “Parade” producers shared a statement on social media also condemning the “display of Neo Nazi members protesting outside” the theater.

“If there is any remaining doubt out there about the urgency of telling this story in this moment in history, the vileness on display in front of our theater last night should put it to rest,” the statement said. “We stand by the valiant Broadway cast that brings this vital story to life each night.”

“Parade” stars and creatives weren’t the only ones speaking out against the antisemitic protesters. On Wednesday, the Anti-Defamation League Chief Executive Jonathan Greenblatt condemned the “vile antisemitism” in a statement.


“The irony should not be lost on anyone that these antisemitic extremists decided to protest a play that details the true story of the lynching of an innocent Jewish man by an antisemitic mob, and used it as an opportunity to spread conspiracy theories and hate,” Greenblatt said. “ADL locks arms in solidarity with the entire cast and wants to especially thank the producers of the play and Ben Platt for their poignant statements speaking out in the face of hate.

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“Despite the presence of a half-dozen neo-Nazis, New York City will continue to remain no place for hate.”

“Antisemitism, vile hate speech, and censorship have no place on Broadway — or in American culture or society,” Laura Penn, the co-chair of the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds, said in a statement shared Wednesday afternoon.

“COBUG calls on all members of the theatrical community, all people of conscience, and Mayor Eric Adams to safeguard inclusive environments for everyone who participates in or attends theatrical events in New York.”

Toward the end of his Instagram video Tuesday, Platt shifted his attention from the “ugly actions” of people “spreading evil” to the “gorgeous work” of the entire “Parade” team. He spotlighted his castmates, the show’s crew and the team that kept players and audiences safe amid the protests.

“Now is really the moment for this particular piece,” he said.

Times staff writer Ashley Lee contributed to this report.