The Public Theater’s new Free Shakespeare in the Park production of “Julius Caesar,” which has stirred controversy with its depiction of a Trump-like Caesar, opened Monday night to a supportive crowd who gave the show a standing ovation after the production became the focus of right-leaning criticism and funding withdrawals.
EDITOR’S NOTE: When liberals want to call for someone’s death or execution without overtly saying the words, like all cowards, they hide behind something to do it. In this case, they are hiding behind the oh-so-thin veil of ‘performance art’. Kathy Griffin held up a ketchup-laden rubber Trump mask, but the ISIS message that sent was clear to everyone who saw it. Using ‘Julius Caesar’ to engage in the Liberal fantasy of seeing someone kill our president is equally clear as well. This is not art, it’s cowardly Liberal incitement to violence.
The Public Theater is refusing to back down after backlash over its production of “Julius Caesar” that portrays a Donald Trump-like dictator in a business suit with a long tie who gets knifed to death onstage.
Delta Air Lines and Bank of America have pulled their sponsorship of the Public’s version of the play, but in a statement Monday the theater said it stands behind the production. It noted its staging has “provoked heated discussion” but “such discussion is exactly the goal of our civically-engaged theater; this discourse is the basis of a healthy democracy.”
Trump-like ‘Julius Caesar’ loses sponsors:
Other defenders included Scott M. Stringer, the New York City comptroller, who wrote letters to the heads of Delta and Bank of America, arguing that dropping their support “sends the wrong message.” He writes: “Art matters. The First Amendment matters. Expression matters.” He enclosed copies of the play with the letters.
“I hope you enjoy it — it is a classic, in any age,” he wrote.
This modern-day Caesar’s violent death at the hands of conspirators comes not long after comedian Kathy Griffin was widely condemned for posing for a photograph in which she gripped a bloodied rendering of Trump’s head.
Though the Public’s version of William Shakespeare’s classic play is unchanged from its 400-year-old original, the production portrays Caesar with a gold bathtub and a pouty Slavic wife. Trump’s name is never mentioned, but backlash was swift.
On 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?”
Fareed Zakaria raves about Trump-inspired ‘Julius Caesar’
Delta responded by saying “artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste.”
Bank of America said the Public chose to present the play “to provoke and offend” without the bank’s knowledge: “Had this intention been made known to us, we would have decided not to sponsor it.”
“Julius Caesar” ends its run Sunday. The comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” begins in the park on July 11.
Oskar Eustis, the artistic director of the Public and also the director of the show, opened the evening with a speech that made clear the Public would stand behind the work, despite the withdrawal of funding support by Bank of America and Delta Airlines. He addressed a supportive, industry-heavy crowd that included Alec Baldwin; Ruben Santiago-Hudson, the director whose Broadway staging of “Jitney” had won a Tony Award the night before; actors Brian d’Arcy James (“13 Reasons Why,” “Spotlight”) and Bill Irwin (“Legion”); and “Hamilton” producer Jeffrey Seller.