NEW YORK (AP) — The Public Theater is refusing to back down after backlash over its production of “Julius Caesar” that portrays a Donald Trump-like dictator in a business suit with a long tie who gets knifed to death onstage.
Delta Air Lines and Bank of America have pulled their sponsorship of the Public’s version of the play, but in a statement Monday the theater said it stands behind the production. It noted its staging has “provoked heated discussion” but “such discussion is exactly the goal of our civically-engaged theater; this discourse is the basis of a healthy democracy.”
Other defenders included Scott M. Stringer, the New York City comptroller, who wrote letters to the heads of Delta and Bank of America, arguing that dropping their support “sends the wrong message.” He writes: “Art matters. The First Amendment matters. Expression matters.” He enclosed copies of the play with the letters.
“I hope you enjoy it — it is a classic, in any age,” he wrote.
This modern-day Caesar’s violent death at the hands of conspirators comes not long after comedian Kathy Griffin was widely condemned for posing for a photograph in which she gripped a bloodied rendering of Trump’s head.
Though the Public’s version of William Shakespeare’s classic play is unchanged from its 400-year-old original, the production portrays Caesar with a gold bathtub and a pouty Slavic wife. Trump’s name is never mentioned, but backlash was swift.
On Sunday, Donald Trump Jr. retweeted a Fox News story about the play and wrote…Read More & View Video