In this year’s “Shakespeare in the Park”, an annual tradition in Central Park in New York City, there was a slight change in character when it came to the death by assassination of Julius Caesar; the Emperor was replaced by a man in a business suit and a very familiar appearance.
In this May 21, 2017 photo provided by The Public Theater, Tina Benko, left, portrays Melania Trump in the role of Caesar’s wife, Calpurnia, and Gregg Henry, center left, portrays President Donald Trump in the role of Julius Caesar during a dress rehearsal of The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar. (Joan Marcus/The Public Theater via AP)
In the play, of course, Caesar is assassinated by the conspirators, including Marc Antony (played by Elizabeth Marvel, above right). The brutal stabbing remains a part of the “re-imagined” play, but with the twist that the President is instead murdered by only women and minorities. Because get it??
“Fox & Friends” aired a segment this weekend featuring Townhall’s Guy Benson this weekend to discuss. “This is so incredibly in poor taste that I’m surprised they haven’t cast Kathy Griffin in the production,” said Benson.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 11, 2017
There will be whataboutism to go around, with the left jeering about how Trump voters are supposed to be opposed to “safe spaces” and the right pointing out how much hell would have broken loose if the first black President were assassinated in a play. There will be a fair amount of “but Shakespeare was’t glorifying assassination” know-it-all-ism too.
But as all that goes on and social media rages, two major sponsors of “Shakespeare in the Park” have pulled their funding. First came Delta Airlines:
Then later, Bank of America pulled their funding as well. Via the New York Times:
Bank of America followed hours later, saying it would withdraw financial support from the production of “Julius Caesar” but would not end its financial relationship with the theater, which a spokeswoman, Susan Atran, said had lasted for 11 years.
“The Public Theater chose to present ‘Julius Caesar’ in a way that was intended to provoke and offend,” Ms. Atran 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.”
(Note that the New York Times refers to the lead as “Trump-like.” Let’s not be children here. It’s a distinction without a difference.)