‘Hamilton’ Star Showered in Applause After Smearing Ron DeSantis as Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard During Tony Awards

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 11: Denée Benton speaks onstage during The 76th Annual Tony Awa
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Hamilton star Denée Benton turned on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) during Sunday night’s 2023 Tony Awards, basking in a shower of enthusiastic applause as she smeared him as a Ku Klux Klan grand wizard.

Benton was center stage during the live broadcast on CBS and Paramount+ to present the Excellence in Theatre Education Award from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). She used her remarks to note she is not only a CMU alum but also hails from from Florida, saying:

Earlier tonight, CMU and the Tony Awards presented the 2023 Excellence in Theatre Education Award. And while I am certain that the current Grand Wizard — I’m sorry, excuse me, governor — of my home state of Florida…

I am sure that he will changing the name of this following town immediately. We were honored to present this award to the truly incredible and life-changing Jason Zembuch Young, enhancing the lives at students at South Plantation High School in Plantation, Florida.

The audience erupted in applause and nodding affirmation as she spoke.

The “Grand Wizard” insult is a direct link to the white supremacy group Ku Klux Klan which previously gave its leader that title.

She offered no evidence for the calculated insinuation.

Denée Benton attends The 76th Annual Tony Awards at United Palace Theater on June 11, 2023 in New York City. (Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

Governor DeSantis recently announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election, setting up a potential race against Donald Trump.

Benton gained a Tony nomination in 2017 for her portrayal of Natasha in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812.

She has also appeared on Broadway as Eliza Hamilton in Hamilton and as Cinderella in Into the Woods.

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