Denée Benton Calls Ron Desantis ‘Current Grand Wizard’ at Tony Awards

At the 2023 Tony Awards, which were broadcast on CBS, actor Denée Benton made a surprising comment while giving the Carnegie Mellon University Excellence in Theater Education Award.

Benton, who is known for her roles in Broadway shows like Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, Hamilton, and Into the Woods, as well as TV shows like UnReal and The Gilded Age, chose to take a shot at Florida Governor and 2024 presidential candidate Ron DeSantis as she took the stage.

She said that Ron DeSantis was like a leader of the Ku Klux Klan, which made people in the crowd gasp.

Benton started her speech by saying that she was an actress and a happy CMU graduate. She then spoke at the award ceremony and said that CMU and the Tony Awards were celebrating the Excellence in Theatre Education Award winner.

But she said something rude about Governor DeSantis by calling him the “current Grand Wizard” before stopping herself and saying she thought he would change the name of a Florida town.

Benton went on to say that the award went to Jason Zembuch Young, a teacher at South Plantation High School in Plantation, Florida, who had a big effect on his students’ lives.

People in the audience were surprised and applauded, but Governor DeSantis did not reply right away to what Benton said on social media.