staging of William Shakespeare's tragedy, by the nonprofit
Public Theater, portrays Caesar as a powerful, blond-haired man
wearing a business suit with an American flag pin, while his
wife, Calpurnia, has a Slavic accent and dresses in designer
Shakespeare's play focuses on the fatal stabbing of Caesar by
former associates, and the subsequent fate of democratic
Delta said in a statement on Sunday that the Public Theater's
"artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the
standards of good taste" and that it was ending its four-year
run as official airline of the Public Theater.
Bank of America, which has sponsored Shakespeare in the Park for
11 years, is withdrawing funding for "Julius Caesar," a bank
spokeswoman said. The bank did not address whether it would keep
supporting other Shakespeare in the Park productions.
The Public Theater chose to present Julius Caesar "in a way that
was intended to provoke and offend. Had this intention been made
known to us, we would have decided not to sponsor it," the
The Public Theater and the White House did not immediately
respond to requests for comment on Sunday.
In announcing the production in Manhattan's Central Park earlier
this year, the Public Theater said the play had "never felt more
contemporary," and described the Roman leader as "magnetic,
populist, irreverent, he seems bent on absolute power."
The New York Times review on Friday said the "depiction of a
petulant, blondish Caesar in a blue suit, complete with gold
bathtub and a pouty Slavic wife, takes onstage Trump-trolling to
a startling new level."
New York's Daily News said the production "imagines the Roman
ruler as a blond, swaggering, egotist who's a dead ringer for
the current occupant of the Oval Office. And he gets murdered
for his hubris and hunger for power."
The production, which opened May 23 in previews and runs through
June 18 at Central Park's Delacorte Theater, has its defenders.
Author Joyce Carol Oates wrote on Twitter on Sunday that "Delta
should not be interfering in a theater's presentations" and
urged theater supporters not to patronize the airline.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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