Man who sparked panic by yelling 'Heil Hitler! Heil Trump!' in theatre sorry for 'stupidity'
A man who shouted “Heil Hitler! Heil Trump!” during the intermission of a play in a Baltimore theatre, prompting dozens of people to scurry towards the exits fearing a potential mass shooting, has apologized for his behaviour.
Tony Derlunas, 58, told NBC affiliate WBAL-TV that he was in fact anti-Trump, and that his outburst during the intermission of “Fiddler on the Roof” — a classic musical set in a Jewish village — was a case of poor choice of words and bad timing.
“I was trying to compare Trump to Hitler because he plays into the fears of people and it just came out wrong,” Derlunas told WBAL-TV in a teary interview on his front porch. “I didn’t mean anything like that, but I realize now how it came off and how it scared those people.”
He added, “My heart goes out to all those that I ruined their night, to everybody that was affected by my stupidity.”
WATCH: Footage shows man removed from theatre after yelling ‘Heil Hitler, Heil Trump’
Derlunas was eventually escorted out of the theatre, and earned himself a lifetime ban from the venue.
But he was not arrested for his indiscretion, and there’s no indication that he is facing any charges whatsoever.
A spokesperson for the Baltimore Police Department said Derlunas’ words, “Though reprehensible… are considered protected free speech because he did not directly threaten anyone.”
Officers said Derlunas told them that he was very drunk at the time.
The theatre scare came just a few weeks after a gunman yelling anti-Semitic slurs killed 11 people inside a Pittsburgh synagogue.
It also came days after the FBI released a report showing a 37 per cent increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes in the U.S. in 2017.
— With files from the Associated Press