Veteran Actor Tony Lo Bianco Condemns ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’

By Lauretta Brown | October 29, 2014 | 11:01 AM EDT

Scene from the New York Metropolitan Opera's production of "The Death of Klinghoffer." (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Veteran film and television actor Tony Lo Bianco condemned the New York Metropolitan Opera’s decision to stage The Death of Klinghoffer, an opera about the true story of the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro by members of the Palestinian Liberation Front and their execution of 69-year-old disabled New Yorker Leon Klinghoffer.

In an interview with CNSNews.com editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey, Lo Bianco called the controversial opera “outrageous” because it tries “to justify the killing of a helpless man in a wheelchair because he happens to be Jewish.”

The opera premiered at the Met Opera House October 20th to standing ovations amid protests that its message was anti-Semitic and pro-Islamic terrorist.

Lo Bianco acknowledged The Met’s right to free speech, but said that people need to realize that sometimes what they say ends up “supporting the enemy.”

“There is freedom for speech, but you got to remember that what you’re saying sometimes you’re influencing and supporting the enemy,” he said, emphasizing that “we must understand there is an enemy out there.”

“I think we have to get tough,” he said, criticizing “this idea that we are fighting this war that we are now engaged in without the declaration of war” in reference to the U.S. fight against ISIS.

“Even though we know that the enemy is cutting off [the] heads of our people and have threatened this country over and over again along with Israel, our ally, the idea that we are not declaring war on them and trying to fight with the rules of engagement and being politically correct is a disaster for us," he told CNSNews.com.

“We cannot be politically correct with our enemies,” Lo Bianco concluded. “We have to wipe them off the face of the earth. Period.”

Others who have spoken out against the opera include Klinghoffer’s daughters, who have written that the opera, which runs through Novermber 15, “rationalizes, romanticizes and legitimizes the terrorist murder of our father.”

The Met issued a statement saying that "the fact that 'Klinghoffer' grapples with the complexities of an unconscionable real-life act of violence does not mean it should not be performed. ... 'Klinghoffer' is neither anti-Semitic nor does it glorify terrorism."

But Lo Bianco says that staging the opera exemplifies "a tremendous amount of insensitivity not only to the family, but also to our country, and [exhibits a] lack of understanding of what position we are in right now."

"I mean, you don’t yell fire in a theater, that’s not right, and you don’t do this: try to justify the killing of a helpless man in a wheelchair because he happens to be Jewish. This is outrageous,” he added.

Vetaran actor Tony Lo Bianco (IMDb)

“I mean our security is like number one, and recent incidents that have happened in Canada is an indication that it is coming here, folks, and we must open our eyes to see what is happening and we must be vigilant and not promote the enemy’s agenda,” he stated.

Lo Bianco also discussed his portrayal of evil characters during his acting career, adding that “when I played my characters, they usually get their come-uppings in the end.”

“One of the first movies I ever did with Richard Widmark, The Madigan, it was a character that I detested and I gave him no room for explanation,” he recalled.

“He was murdering elderly women, he was a mugger and what have you. Well he, as far as I portrayed him, you would never have an inch of sympathy or understanding for his character.”

A native of Brooklyn, Lo Bianco has appeared in many movies, including The French Connection, The Honeymoon Killers, Blood Brothers, and City Heat. He has appeared on TV in shows that include Law & Order, Murder She Wrote, The Twilight Zone, and Get Smart.

He is currently touring with his one-man show, The Little Flower, in which he plays former New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. He will be giving a benefit performance for the non-profit Renaissance Foundation on November 18th in Virginia. Tickets can be obtained at tonylobianco.com.