Sunday night during the “Tony Awards” broadcast on CBS, Broadway actress Denée Benton was on stage to present Carnegie Mellon University’s Excellence in Theatre Education award, which went to Florida high school drama teacher and theatre director Jason Zembuch Young.
Benton received a 2017 Tony nomination for her portrayal of Natasha in “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812″ and has also starred on Broadway as Eliza Hamilton in “Hamilton” and Cinderella in “Into the Woods.”
Benton decided to use her platform to draw more attention to herself than Young by taking a shot at DeSantis at the beginning of her remarks. She referred to him as the “grand wizard” of Florida and urged him to change the name of the city of “Plantation.”
“Hi, I’m Denée Benton, actor and proud CMU alum. 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 will be changing [audience gasps, applauds] I am sure that he will be 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 woke crowd loved it, but once again they just don’t get how making such insane jabs at the Florida governor just increases the passion from his base. The truth is that there is probably not a better “endorsement” for DeSantis to receive than one from his rabid critics at in the entertainment industry.
DeSantis’s media office did not respond to Benton’s comments. But Never Back Down, a political action committee supporting the governor’s run for the White House, criticized her in a tweet.
“Liberal ‘elites’ can’t stand how effective Ron DeSantis is at defeating their attempts to sexualize and indoctrinate your children,” it wrote, repeating previous messaging from DeSantis acolytes that opposition to his anti-trans policies equates to “grooming.”
On the Tony Awards on CBS, actress Denee Benton announces award for outstanding HS theatre teacher. She wisecracked "I am certain the current Grand Wizard — I'm sorry…governor of my home state of Florida" (wild screams, applause) will rename the town Plantation, Florida. pic.twitter.com/YsceE5B8QR
— Tim Graham (@TimJGraham) June 12, 2023