Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani joined hundreds of demonstrators last night to protest an opening-night opera performance at the Met, the New York Times reports. Protesters shouted "Shame on the Met!" and sported signs that read "The Met glorifies terrorism," and it's all thanks to The Death of Klinghoffer, the AP reports. The opera, penned by composer John Adams, focuses on the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, an American Jewish man in a wheelchair killed by the Palestine Liberation Front during the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship. Some believe the opera makes excuses for terrorism, is too sympathetic to the Palestinian plight, and "humanizes the hijackers," writes Adam Shatz in the London Review of Books. One man inside the theater yelled, "The murder of Klinghoffer will never be forgiven!" a few times before being removed, while a woman cursed loudly and walked out with an usher escort.
Even NYC mayors past and present can't agree on whether the opera should be performed. Giuliani—known for previous attempts to shut down art installations he didn't like, according to the Times—told the paper that the opera gives "a distorted view of history," while current Mayor Bill de Blasio said, "I think the American way is to respect freedom of speech. Simple as that." One protester proclaimed, "Go out, murder someone, be a terrorist, and we'll write a play about you," while another person at a "counterdemonstration" held a sign that said, "A work of art about a subject is not a work in favor of that subject." Meanwhile, composer Adams says, "The really ironic and sad fact is that the content of this opera is more relevant in 2014 than it was even in 1991," per Details.