Delta, BoA Drop Sponsorship of Shakespearean Depiction of Trump Assassination
By Wanda Carruthers
Delta Air Lines and Bank of America announced they were withdrawing sponsorship from an off-Broadway production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” The New York Times reported Sunday night.
Delta said the play’s simulated assassination of President Donald Trump “crossed the line,” Deadline reported.
“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,” a company spokesman told Deadline Sunday. “Their artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste. We have notified them of our decision to end our sponsorship as the official airline of The Public Theater effective immediately.”
The production features a modern-day depiction of the Shakespeare classic with the characters of Caesar and his wife Calpurnia looking like the president and first lady Melania Trump. Blood spews everywhere when members of the Roman Senate stab Caesar to death.
A spokesperson for the airline told the entertainment news website that Delta representatives had seen the show, which is produced by New York’s Public Theater and has been playing at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The airline has suffered with brand identity after a computer glitch in January left thousands of travelers stranded.
Donald Trump Jr. questioned the use of public money for the theater production in a tweet over the weekend, writing, “I wonder how much of this ‘art’ is funded by taxpayers? Serious question, when does ‘art’ become political speech & does that change things?”
Delta contributes between $100,000 and $499,000 to the theater annually, the article explained.
Bank of America withdrew just hours after Delta’s announcement, saying it was pulling support of the play, but not end its 11-year relationship with the Public Theater, the Times said.
The theater production comes after celebrities have showcased other graphic depictions of Trump, including comedienne Kathy Griffin, who lost major sponsors after a photo showed her holding a bloody head of the president, and rapper Snoop Dogg made a video where he shoots a clown that resembles Trump.
The play began its run May 23, with the official opening night set for Monday.