New Yorkers outraged Delta and Bank of America pulled sponsorships of Trump-inspired ‘Julius Caesar’ production
It’s an off-stage tragedy.
New York theatergoers are outraged that Bank of America and Delta pulled their sponsorships of Shakespeare in the Park’s controversial production of "Julius Caesar," which features a President Trump-inspired title character who gets assassinated.
"I’m very disappointed at a couple of big donors that decided not to fund it," said an Upper West Side resident named Leslie, who didn’t give her last name. "It’s art, what do they expect?"
Another named Allen Rubenstein, 75, slammed the corporations’ actions as "censorship," while a Williamsburg student named George Edwards called their decisions "ridiculous."
New Yorkers aren’t happy that corporate sponsors are pulling out of The Public Theater’s “Julius Caesar.”
"It’s not even a negative portrayal if you actually look at what’s happening," said Edwards, 24, before continuing with one of Trump’s favorite put-downs. "It’s just sad that they feel they have to pull their funding from things like this because of the pressure from conservative media outlets."
Performances for The Public Theater production began on May 23, but both Bank of America and Delta waited until Sunday evening — the night before the show’s official opening and hours after conservative media lambasted the “Trump” killing — to announce they’re backing out.
Bank of America did not review the script beforehand. It’s unclear if Delta did.
The Public Theater boasts 14 sponsors on its website, though not all of them are specifically funding the "Julius Caesar" production.
Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis didn’t return a request for comment about the controversy. But he has spoken at length in earlier interviews about why he chose to make Caesar a Trump-esque character in Shakespeare’s ultimate power play.
Gregg Henry’s portrayal of Caesar includes poofy blond hair, an oversized tie, a power suit and plenty of talking with his hands. His character’s wife, Calpurnia, speaks with a Slovenian accent, much like the real First Lady, Melania Trump.
The play stars a Trump-inspired character as Julius Caesar.
It’s not the first time a sitting president has been parodied in a New York City production of "Julius Caesar" in recent years. The Acting Company produced a version starring a President Obama lookalike in 2012 that ran at the Baruch Performing Arts Center — but that play inspired very little backlash and did not lose any funding from donors.
"Julius Caesar" is an overtly political work — even in its original form — that centers on a power-hungry ruler who is killed by conspirators who claim they are trying to save the republic from a dictator.
And while none of the park-goers Monday find The Public Theater’s version offensive to Trump, one believes its offensive to Caesar.
"I think it’s an insult to Caesar’s legacy," Tamarquis Luna, 45, said. "Trump cannot compare to Caesar because Caesar created institutions that still exist today."
The Public Theater suspended its normal tradition of releasing tickets the morning before a performance for the opener but will resume doing so Tuesday.