In Sanctimonious Moves, Delta, B of A Pull Public Theater Sponsorships

Delta Airlines, which apologized last month for inappropriately booting an entire family off one of its flights from Hawaii to Los Angeles, has yanked its sponsorship from New York’s Public Theater. 

The theater’s sin? Daring to put on a modern version of the Shakespearean play “Julius Caesar.” If you've read anything about it, you know Caesar looks like Trump in this version. And anybody who went to high school knows what happened to Caesar. 

Bank of America, which paid billions to settle government charges and class-action lawsuits related to discriminatory and other bad behavior stemming from the 2008 housing and lending crisis, also pulled its sponsorship of the play. 

Remarkably, according to The New York Times, which broke the story late Sunday, Delta said the play clashed with its “values.”



This from the airline that booted a passenger from a flight earlier this year for having the temerity to quickly use one its plane’s bathrooms before take-off instead of peeing in his seat. 

B of A cited the offensive nature of the play adaptation. Discriminatory lending practices? Pretty offensive to most. 

OK, in the theater’s production, part of its wildly popular “Shakespeare In The Park” series, Caesar looks more than a bit like Trump, replete with dark suit and vintage '80s red power tie. And yeS, he dies a violent death on stage. 

For those unfamiliar with their ancient Roman history, Caesar was violently assassinated—stabbed multiple times by political enemies. Just like in the play! 

I wonder, did any of you clowns at Delta and B of A actually read the play? I mean when most people read it, back in high school or college. 

Obviously not. Otherwise, you’d know the play was not advocating violence in any form. That’s why Shakespeare titled it, “THE TRAGEDY of Julius Caesar.” It was tragic for all involved: Caesar, the assassins and the Roman Republic. 

But you know what? It’s their money. And Public Theater, my guess is you can find better corporate citizens to sponsor your good works.

Here’s the statement the theater issued: 

“The Public Theater stands completely behind our production of "Julius Caesar." We understand and respect the right of our sponsors and supporters to allocate their funding in line with their own values. We recognize that our interpretation of the play has provoked heated discussion; audiences, sponsors and supporters have expressed varying viewpoints and opinions. 

Such discussion is exactly the goal of our civically-engaged theater; this discourse is the basis of a healthy democracy. Our production of "Julius Caesar" in no way advocates violence toward anyone. Shakespeare's play, and our production, make the opposite point: Those who attempt to defend democracy by undemocratic means pay a terrible price and destroy the very thing they are fighting to save. For over 400 years, Shakespeare’s play has told this story and we are proud to be telling it again in Central Park.”

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