Filmmaker Michael Moore and actor Mark Ruffalo led a vigil near Trump Tower in Manhattan on Tuesday night in memory of Heather Heyer, the woman killed on Saturday during the violence that erupted at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.
Moore took the extraordinary step of chartering buses to bring members of the audience for his one-man Broadway show “The Terms of My Surrender” at the Belasco Theater a few blocks to the Trump Tower area on Fifth Avenue for the vigil. Ruffalo was a special guest at Moore’s performance on Tuesday night.
Moore and Ruffalo expressed outrage at President Trump’s comments on Tuesday at a news conference in which he spread some of the blame for Saturday’s horrifying display of bigotry and violence to what he called “alt-left” activists in addition to the rally organizers.
Olivia Wilde, currently appearing on Broadway in “1984,” and actress-writer Zoe Kazan were also among the familiar faces at the rally.
In an Instagram video posted Tuesday night, Ruffalo said he was spearheading the vigil with Moore to send a message to Trump, who has been staying at his former home in Trump Tower since Monday.
“I want him to hear us,” Ruffalo said. “I want him to know that an American killed on an American soil by a Nazi is not acceptable.”
Trump’s initial comments after Saturday’s deadly encounters and his remarks at Tuesday’s press conference have spurred widespread outrage. Many have expressed shock after the President’s suggestion on Tuesday that there were some “very fine people” in the crowd at the Charlottesville rally and that there was blame to be ascribed to the activists who turned out to oppose the white supremacists, some of whom went so far as to carry Nazi flags and iconography.
“There is no equivalency. There’s no ‘many sides,'” Ruffalo said. “There’s two sides to this: People who fight Nazis and Nazis. That’s it. We can’t allow Nazis to be a normal part of our society. We have to fight.”
Crowds of protesters — some chanting “New York hates you” — have swelled around the Trump Tower area since the President arrived back in his hometown. Police presence has been heavy throughout Midtown, and streets around Trump Tower have been closed. Trump is expected to leave the city on Wednesday afternoon.
Moore’s show, which focuses on the nation’s volatile political climate, opened Aug. 10 and will run through Oct. 23.
Spontaneous protests have always been a possible element of Moore’s loosely structured show, which launched with a PR campaign that asked, “Can a Broadway show bring down a sitting president?” In the run-up to the production’s first performance, Moore had noted that Trump Tower isn’t too far from the midtown location of his Broadway show.
Some observers have noted that in bringing his show to left-leaning Broadway audiences, Moore is preaching his political message to the choir. But the activist-documentarian thinks of it as galvanizing liberals dispirited after the election, he told Variety after the production’s Aug. 10 opening. “This choir needs a song to sing,” he said. “This choir’s been depressed since November.”
Ruffalo was on Broadway earlier this year in a much-praised production of Arthur Miller’s “The Price.”
Moore and Ruffalo previously led a protest on the eve of Trump’s inauguration outside the Trump International Hotel.