DOWNTOWN — The man who was arrested for disrupting a "Hamilton" show Saturday night in Chicago denied wrongdoing through his lawyer Monday, saying he was "antagonized" by a musical that's grown "hostile, partisan, and biased" since Vice President-elect Mike Pence's pointed reception in New York.
John Palmer, who was charged with misdemeanor trespassing after allegedly interrupting Saturday night's show in the Loop, denied he was trespassing through his lawyer Jonathan D. Feldman on Monday. He was a customer who bought high-priced "Hamilton" tickets for himself and seven relatives.
Palmer launched into a profanity-laced tirade after the "Hamilton" cast sang the line "Immigrants / We get the job done," according to audience accounts. He was escorted out by police after refusing to leave the show Saturday night and was charged with trespassing.
But Feldman said on Monday that his client was simply defending himself against an audience that "antagonized" him during a show that has become increasingly political. He said there were "provocations" before his client's arrest.
"It was a cause and it has had effect," Feldman said of the "Hamilton" statement, which was delivered after a performance in New York. "'Hamilton' has created an audience environment that is very against our President-elect and it is unfortunate someone who supports the presidential elect cannot feel welcome attending theater with his family."
Feldman declined to specify how Saturday night's "Hamilton" show or the audience antagonized his client, saying he will reveal such details should the dispute head to trial. Palmer did not apologize for interrupting the show but, through Feldman, said he "regrets what otherwise should have been an enjoyable evening" at the theater with his family. Feldman denied reports that Palmer was intoxicated during the performance.
Police said Palmer, of Streeterville, was arrested around 9:30 p.m. Saturday after "causing a disruption to the performance" at the PrivateBank Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St.
Palmer allegedly stood up and shouted, "Our side won! Our side won! F--- anyone who didn't vote for Trump, you don't belong here!" after "Hamilton" sang the song "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down," according to Jeff Grider, who attended Saturday's show.
"He proceeded to make derogatory comments to several women in the audience, and uttered many ethnic and homophobic slurs," Grider wrote in a Facebook post after the performance.
Feldman didn't directly address Grider's claims that he made slurs. A video Grider posted also allegedly shows his client calling someone restraining him a "pu--- piece of s---."
Fedlman declined to disclose how much Palmer paid to take his family to the show, but tickets for Saturday's performance started at $407 on Ticketmaster.com.
Feldman said Palmer is "family man" who runs a successful business.
Palmer has yet to appear in court and did not attend Monday's press conference. Feldman, his lawyer, asked Broadway in Chicago and the Cook County State's Attorney's Office to drop the trespassing charge. The charge, a misdemeanor, carries a maximum sentence of one year in Cook County Jail.
A spokeswoman for Broadway In Chicago did not return a message seeking comment.