Bank of America and Delta Airlines are suspending their sponsorship of New York City’s Public Theater for this summer’s Shakespeare in the Park after the event faced backlash over its production of “Julius Caesar,” which has been described as a modern take on the classic play.
A Donald Trump-like ruler was replaced as “Caesar” in the play, and he’s depicted as being assassinated on stage.
Some conservative-leaning websites called into question the play’s funding sources.
It prompted the two firms to pull their sponsorships.
“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,” Delta stated Sunday night.
“Their artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste,” the company said. “We have notified them of our decision to end our sponsorship as the official airline of the Public Theater effective immediately.”
A few hours later, Bank of America followed suit and said it wouldn’t fund the play, The New York Times reported.
“The Public Theater chose to present ‘Julius Caesar’ in a way that was intended to provoke and offend,” BofA spokeswoman Susan Atran said, per the Times. “Had this intention been made known to us, we would have decided not to sponsor it. We are withdrawing our funding for this production.” The statement came hours after the airline revealed its decision in replies to complaints on Twitter.
American Express also issued a statement, saying its sponsorship doesn’t fund “Julius Caesar.”
But some people called on American Express to fully terminate its relationship with “Shakespeare in the Park.”
The Trump-like leader was played by Gregg Henry and a Melania Trump-type character was played by Tina Benko.
Eric Trump, son of President Trump, thanked Delta and Bank of America for withdrawing from the production.
The Tragedy of Julius Caesar is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, and it is believed to have been written in 1599. It’s based on true events taken from Roman history.
The famed “Et tu, Brute?” is the most-often quoted line from the play. It means, “You too, Brutus?” They’re purportedly the final words uttered by Julius Casear to his friend Marcus Brutus during his assassination.
Trump, for his part, has yet to respond to the play.
One attendee told Mediaite that the character’s stark resemblance to Trump made the assassination scene particularly “shocking and distasteful.”