‘Julius Caesar’ Production Loses Sponsors Over ‘Trump’ Knifing Scene

Bank of America joined Delta Air Lines on Sunday in pulling sponsorship from a Manhattan-based theater’s production of Julius Caesar because a Donald Trump look-alike gets knifed on stage. BofA tweeted its decision, saying The Public Theater “chose to present Julius Caesar in such a way that was intended to provoke and offend.” Earlier, Delta slammed the theater for its production, which is being shown as part of the Shakespeare in the Park festival in Central Park. The airline said in a statement the theater’s staging of the play had “crossed the line on the standards of good taste” and its decision to end sponsorship is “effective immediately.” The play, which runs through June 18, is set in ancient Rome, but the characters wear contemporary clothing to give it a present-day feel. The character of Julius Caesar, played by Gregg Henry, bears a striking resemblance to President Donald Trump, and has a wife who speaks with a Slavic accent. In one of the final scenes, he is shown getting stabbed repeatedly before collapsing on stage in his blood-soaked shirt. While the theater has yet to comment on the backlash from sponsors, Artistic Director Oskar Eustis has previously defended the production and said it is not intended to advocate violence. Rather than encouraging violence, Eustis said, the play makes “the opposite point: Those who attempt to defend democracy by undemocratic methods pay a terrible price and destroy their Republic.”