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Dublin: 7 °C Friday 15 November, 2019
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Sponsors drop play for depicting Julius Caesar as Trump

Delta Air Lines and Bank of America were not impressed by the portrayal.

Shakespearean Trump Tina Benko, left, portrays Melania Trump and Gregg Henry, centre left, portrays President Donald Trump in the role of Julius Caesar Source: Joan Marcus/The Public Theater via AP

DELTA AIR LINES and Bank of America have announced they are pulling their sponsorship of a Manhattan-based theatre company’s portrayal of Julius Caesar as a Donald Trump look-alike who gets stabbed to death on stage.

Atlanta-based Delta released a statement yesterday saying it was pulling its sponsorship from the Public Theater “effective immediately”.

“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,” the statement said. “Their artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste.”

Later last night, North Carolina-based Bank of America said it was withdrawing its funding for the production.

“The Public Theater chose to present Julius Caesar in such a way that was intended to provoke and offend,” the bank said in a tweet. “Had this intention been made known to us, we would have decided not to sponsor it.”

‘Doesn’t advocate violence’ 

Performances at Central Park’s Delacorte Theater began in late May, just days before comedian Kathy Griffin was widely condemned for posing for a photograph in which she gripped a bloodied rendering of Trump’s head.

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

Messages seeking comment from The Public Theater weren’t immediately returned.

Earlier yesterday, Donald Trump Jr retweeted a Fox News story about the play and wrote: “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 tells a fictionalised story of a powerful, popular Roman leader who is assassinated by senators who fear he is becoming a tyrant. It is set in ancient Rome, but many productions have costumed the characters in modern dress to give it a present-day connection.

The production runs until 18 June.

Read: Melania and Barron Trump finally swap New York penthouse for the White House

Read: Puerto Rico votes to become 51st US state

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