Daily Mail reports:
The Hamilton actor who lectured Mike Pence has a history of political activism, delivering a passionate anti-corporation rant over the protests against the Dakota Access pipeline earlier this month.
Brandon Victor Dixon’s words to Pence on Friday clearly bothered Donald Trump, who repeatedly tweeted about the hit Broadway show despite a busy weekend of transition talks.
But those who follow Dixon may not be surprised the Oxford-trained actor was the one to take center stage when it came to delivering the cast’s message.
Before the election, Dixon spoke out in support of the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access pipeline.
The actor, who plays Aaron Burr in the show, expressed his dismay with both Obama and Hillary Clinton for not speaking out against the controversial pipeline.
‘I could give a f**k about a dumb bully who has ALWAYS been honest about being a dumb bully,’ he wrote on Instagram, seemingly referring to Trump.
‘I’m enraged at the person who shakes my hand, hugs me while colluding with banks, corporate military, and fossil fuel earth ravagers, to line their pockets and the pockets of friends.’
‘This s**t makes me wanna burn them to the ground.’
Dixon is clearly passionate about the #NoDAPL movement, posting a number of articles calling out Clinton’s relative silence over the controversy.
But the actor has also called out Trump, saying in one interview that America ‘has never been great’.
‘America is not about the greatness of what it is,’ he told The Hollywood Reporter before the election. ‘It’s about what greatness is possible.’
‘People talking about making America great again? America’s never been great. The greatness of America is in its pursuit of greatness.’
‘The second we decide that American exceptionalism is the definition of patriotism, that’s the moment our republic fails and we begin to descend.’
‘We have to look honestly at ourselves and recognize the positives, the negatives and the challenges we can overcome.’
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and the show’s producer Jeffrey Seller.
Miranda, Seller and the show’s director, Thomas Kail, then wrote the speech, adding input from the cast.
Dixon said he saw Pence enjoying the show that night and he hopes the cast’s message resonates with the Vice President-elect.
‘I truly believe we had an affect,’ Dixon said. ‘It was a message from the producers, the creative and the cast. If you have differences, say something!’
‘What better place than on this stage, telling this story with these people? I hope he thinks of us every time he has to deal with an issue or talk about a bill or present anything.’
Pence revealed on Sunday morning that he was not offended by Dixon’s message and told Fox News’ Chris Wallace that he enjoyed the show.
Meanwhile, Dixon’s name is making waves outside of the theater world where he has become a seasoned Broadway performer.
The 35-year-old Gaithersburg, Maryland native is an Oxford and Ivy League-educated actor who already has a Tony and Grammy Award on his mantle.
Dixon attended the British American Drama Academy at the Balliol College in Oxford the summer after his junior year of high school.
He was then accepted early decision into Columbia University, leaving at the start of his senior year to play the role of Simba in the Chicago production of the Lion King in 2003.
Dixon then scored the starring role of Harpo in the original Broadway production of The Color Purple, for which he received his first Tony nomination in 2005.
He would go on to finish his college degree, a promise to his electrical contractor-father, before performing in Motown: The Musical and, most recently, Shuffle Along.
Dixon’s talent has extended to production, winning him a Tony for his work on Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
He has also appeared on television, including the ABC soap opera One Live to Live, as well as Law & Order: Criminal Intent and The Good Wife.
Dixon hasn’t been shy when it comes to discussing politics with his fans, often airing his beliefs via messages on his popular Instagram.
‘Just like trickle down economics doesn’t work, neither does social equality,’ he wrote after Election Day.
‘Stop protesting with people who agree with you. He is your president.’
‘Go home. Read a book. Invest in changing the people and communities around you. Love and understanding grow from the ground up.’
And Dixon didn’t back down when the president-elect claimed the Hamilton cast had ‘harassed’ Pence.
‘Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing,’ Trump tweeted on Saturday morning. ‘This should not happen!’
‘The Theater must always be a safe and special place. The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!’
‘Conversation is not harassment sir,’ Dixon wrote back. ‘And I appreciate Mike Pence for stopping to listen.’
Pence was on his way out of the theater as Dixon spoke, and the actor pleaded for the Vice-president elect to listen to their message.
‘I see you walking out but I hope you will hear us,’ Dixon said before he began.
A representative for the show later revealed that Pence stood in the hallway outside and heard the full statement.
Pence, who attended the show with his daughter, was loudly booed throughout the show by audience members, the jeers sometimes so strong that the show had to be stopped repeatedly.
The booing was most likely linked to Pence’s anti-LGBT stances throughout his political career, including his support of ‘conversion therapy’.
Hamilton’s title role is played by Javier Muñoz, an openly gay and HIV-positive actor.
The show was also participating in a fundraiser for the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS non-profit on the night Pence attended.
‘As a cast comprised of minorities, women, gay people, it was necessary,’ producer Sellers told The Hollywood Reporter after the show.
‘We had to speak. We had to express how we feel.’
‘This is not a normal time, this is not a normal election,’ Sellers added. ‘It does just so happen that the politics of this administration have been so negative toward minorities, people of color, gay people, that we felt the need to speak up.’
‘In a democracy, one must let his and her voice be heard, and we were not going to the show tonight without expressing how we feel.’
It was an expression that clearly bothered Trump, who could not help himself as he continued to tweet about Hamilton into the early hours of Sunday morning.
First Trump reignited his Twitter feud with the cast, saying they were ‘very rude and insulting’ to Pence.
‘Couldn’t even memorize lines!’ he wrote in the the tweet, which he quickly deleted.
And around 6am on Sunday he once demanded that the cast apologize.
‘The cast and producers of Hamilton, which I hear is highly overrated, should immediately apologize to Mike Pence for their terrible behavior,’ he tweeted.
Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, reiterated his outrage, saying Pence had deserved a ‘peaceful night out’ with his daughter.
Some of Trump’s most ardent supporters agreed and tried to rally a boycott against the widely popular production, seemingly unaware that it is sold out.
Tickets to Hamilton, which racked up 11 Tony Awards earlier this year, are notoriously difficult for the average citizen to get their hands on, with the cheapest StubHub tickets for Saturday night’s show going for a staggering $835.
Some Trump supporters decided to stage a flash mob near the Richard Rodgers Theatre, where Hamilton is performed, as a form of protest on Saturday night.
A group of Trump supporters were seen in the video chanting ‘USA!’ and waving an American flag.
However there are questions over the video’s authenticity after many Twitter users disputed the claim that the Trump supporters were directly outside the ‘Hamilton’ theater on 46th Street in New York City.
The video shows the supporters to be closer to Sixth Avenue rather than on Broadway close to the Richard Rogers Theater where the show is playing.