Delta Air Lines and Bank of America have pulled their sponsorships of Shakespeare in the Park’s Julius Caesar due to the main character’s resemblance to Donald Trump.


The play tells the story of the Roman emperor, who was assassinated by Roman senators over fears of tyranny. The production reimagined Caesar as Trump, and his wife Calpurnia as Melania TrumpGregg Henry was cast as Caesar, who had already played Trump’s stand-in on Scandal last year. Henry’s Caesar is modeled almost perfectly on Trump.

In the production, Caesar meets his end when he is stabbed to death by women and minorities on stage. Tina Benko, who plays Calpurnia, acts with a thick Slavic accent. The show has met criticism for its violence toward the president. One critic in particular was Donald Trump, Jr.

“I wonder how much of this ‘art’ is funded by taxpayers? Serious question, when does ‘art’ become political speech & does that change things?” he tweeted on Sunday.


A week of entertainment news in your in-box.
We find the news you need to know, so you don't have to.

Delta, which donates between $100,000 an d $499,000 annually, pulled sponsorship. “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,” said a company spokesperson. “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.”

Bank of America wrote a similar statement. “Bank of America supports art programs worldwide, including an 11-year partnership with The Public Theater and Shakespeare in the Park,” the company shared. “The Public Theater chose to present Julius Caesar in a way that was intended to provoke and offend. Had this intention been made known to us, we would have decided not to sponsor it.”

A warning about the violent nature of the show’s climax is included prior to the show. Artistic director Oskar Eustis has said the production should not be taken literally. “Julius Caesar can be read as a warning parable to those who try to fight for democracy by undemocratic means,” he said. “To fight the tyrant does not mean imitating him.”

Leave a comment

Read more about: