Sponsors Back Out of New York Play After Trump Look-Alike Killing Scene - NECN
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Sponsors Back Out of New York Play After Trump Look-Alike Killing Scene

"Anyone seeing our production of 'Julius Caesar' will realize it in no way advocates violence towards anyone," said Oskar Eustis, artistic director of The Public Theater

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The decision to inject a Trump look-alike into the leading role in "Julius Caesar" is a provocative one. Jummy Olabanji reports.

    (Published Thursday, June 8, 2017)

    Delta Air Lines and Bank of America have announced that they are pulling their sponsorship of a Manhattan-based theater company's portrayal of Julius Caesar as a Donald Trump look-alike who gets knifed to death on stage.

    Atlanta-based Delta released a statement on Sunday saying it was pulling its sponsorship from The Public Theater "effective immediately."

    "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," the statement said. "Their artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste."

    Later Sunday night, Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America said it was withdrawing its funding for the production.

    "The Public Theater chose to present Julius Caesar in such a way that was intended to provoke and offend," the bank said in a tweet. "Had this intention been made known to us, we would have decided not to sponsor it."

    Performances at Central Park's Delacorte Theater began in late May, just days before comedian Kathy Griffin was widely condemned for posing for a photograph in which she gripped a bloodied rendering of Trump's head.

    Oskar Eustis, the Public Theater's artistic director who also directed the play, said earlier in a statement that "anyone seeing our production of 'Julius Caesar' will realize it in no way advocates violence towards anyone."

    Messages seeking comment from The Public Theater weren't immediately returned.

    Earlier Sunday, Donald Trump Jr. retweeted a Fox News story about the play and wrote, "I wonder how much of this 'art' is funded by taxpayers? Serious question, when does 'art' become political speech & does that change things?"

    "Julius Caesar" tells a fictionalized story of a powerful, popular Roman leader who is assassinated by senators who fear he is becoming a tyrant. It is set in ancient Rome, but many productions have costumed the characters in modern dress to give it a present-day connection.

    Inmates Take Down Guards With a Pencil, Go on the Run

    [NATL] Oklahoma Inmates Take Down Guards With a Pencil, Go on the Run

    Officials in Major County, Oklahoma, are searching for two inmates on the run from Fairview after they escaped from a private van transporting them early Tuesday. Officials say the two inmates were able to take down their guards with just a pencil. 

    (Published Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017)

    The production runs through June 18.