Bank of America and Delta Airlines have decided to pull funding for a rendition of “Julius Caesar” that is now playing at New York’s Shakespeare in the Park.
Why would two major American entities choose not to support the arts?
This particular rendition of “Julius Caesar” has taken on a controversial tone with its rather blunt reference to President Trump as Caesar. The performance shows Caesar being murdered in grisly fashion by senators wearing suits and ties.
Bank of America released a statement explaining its decision to pull its sponsorship of the production despite an 11-year partnership with The Public Theater and Shakespeare in the Park.
“The Public Theater chose to present ‘Julius Caesar’ in a way that was intended to provoke and offend,” Bank of America said. “Had this intention been made known to us, we would have decided not to sponsor it. We are withdrawing our funding for this production.”
Delta explained its stance in even greater detail, issuing its reasoning in a four-part tweet. The airline stated: “Their artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste,” and, “We have notified them of our decision to end our sponsorship as the official airline of The Public Theater effective immediately.”
The decision to bail on the Shakespeare production came after the recent political firestorm involving comedian Kathy Griffin, who held up a faux-severed head that was supposed to be of President Trump.
The backlash was severe, even leading CNN to fire her from her New Year’s Eve role on the network.