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Sponsors Pull Out from Trump-inspired Julius Caesar

Corporate sponsors withdrew support from a New York theater production of Julius Caesar that had similarities between the Roman emperor and U.S President Donald Trump, Times of Israel reports.

The Public Theater gave a modern rendition of Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar.

In a statement, the company said, “No matter what your political stance may be, the graphic staging of Julius Caesar at this summer’s Free Shakespeare in the Park does not reflect Delta Air Lines’ values. Their artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste.”

In this production, Caesar looked like Trump, with the actor having blond hair and wearing the Commander-in-Chief’s signature business suit and red tie. Caesar’s wife, Calpurnia, was dressed similarly like First Lady Melania Trump and spoke with a Slavic accent. At the end of the play, the Roman leader was brutally killed.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines announced on Sunday that it was dropping its sponsorship from The Public Theater.

In a statement, the company said, “No matter what your political stance may be, the graphic staging of Julius Caesar at this summer’s Free Shakespeare in the Park does not reflect Delta Air Lines’ values. Their artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste.”

Bank of America also withdrew funding from the Manhattan-based theater company. The bank’s spokesperson said, “The Public Theater chose to present Julius Caesar in such a way that was intended to provoke and offend.”

Another sponsor, American Express, distanced itself from the play. It clarified that its money did not fund the production of this Shakespeare in the Park play.

The theater company defended its production of Julius Caesar, despite having triggered heated discussions from the public. It said, “Such discussion is exactly the goal of our civically-engaged theater; this discourse is the basis of a healthy democracy.”

Oskar Eustis, the Public Theater’s artistic director who also directed the play, maintained that, “anyone seeing our production of ‘Julius Caesar’ will realize it in no way advocates violence towards anyone.”

On Sunday, President Trump tweeted, “I wonder how much of this ‘art’ is funded by taxpayers? Serious question, when does ‘art’ become political speech & does that change things?”

Julius Caesar ran from May 23 to June 18.

Sources:
Timesofisraelcom. (2017). The Times of Israel. http://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-style-julius-caesar-provokes-storm-in-ny/

Syracusecom. (2017). Syracusecom. http://www.syracuse.com/us-news/index.ssf/2017/06/ny_theater_loses_sponsors_over_trump_assassination_in_julius_caesar_play.html

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