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Media Says Netanyahu Totally Booed At ‘Hamilton,’ Video Says Otherwise

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu learns at ‘Hamilton’ that you have no control over who tells your story. And exaggerates it.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to the Saturday night showing of the Broadway show “Hamilton” in New York this weekend. This is not all that remarkable. Plenty of VIPs go to “Hamilton.” Some might argue only VIPs go to the Saturday night showing of “Hamilton.”

Netanyahu, in town to call the United Nations a “moral farce,” had noticeable security in tow at the theater. Other attendees had to submit to airport-like security measures before the show began. This is standard practice for heads of state, and happened when Hillary Clinton and President Obama made their patriotic pilgrimages to the Pulitzer-winning show.

There was grumbling on social media from Americans who should perhaps be sensitive to the desire for theater-related security measures for heads of state in this great nation. The show began a few minutes late because of security, according to reports, but Netanyahu took his seat before the house lights went off. All’s well and everyone enjoyed the show, right?

Wrong. A bevy of tabloid and gossip reports say Bibi was booed at “Hamilton.”

The problem is there’s almost no evidence of all this booing. There’s one quote in the “Page Six” item that spawned all the other stories of booing. It’s headlined “Benjamin Netanyahu booed by audience at ‘Hamilton,” but even its anonymous account is pretty tepid: “There was a lot of applause when he walked in, but definitely a few loud boos.”

That doesn’t seem that newsworthy. Another source inside the theater cites two protesters yelling “Free Palestine,” which certainly sounds probable, but would dictate a headline more like, “Netanyahu Encounters Small Protest at ‘Hamilton’.” Or, the more newsworthy version: “Two People Ran Out of a Theater Before Hamilton Started.”

The Daily Mail headline is “Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is booed as he watches musical Hamilton.”

Heat Street‘s is “Netanyahoo Booed at ‘Hamilton’ Performance.”

And Forward has a bit of a think piece. “Why the Boos at Broadway’s Beloved ‘Hamilton?’ Because Bibi.”

But let’s go to the tape, as they say, courtesy of Israelly Cool, who calls this a “non-story.”

Twitter user Mark Young offered this picture of Netanyahu’s reception, which doesn’t exactly look unfriendly:

Tablet writer Yair Rosenberg notes a Daily Mail reporter asked to use the picture above, but then the paper mischaracterized the event. The stories are technically correct about some kind of negative sentiment in the room, but it was far from headline-making.

The JTA and the Times of Israel got it right by at least including both boos and jeers in their headlines. But when it came to exaggerating for clickbait, the others weren’t throwing away their shot.