Celebrities Call for Boycott of Delta, Bank of America after Companies Pull Funding from ‘Trump’ Stabbing Theater

FILE - In this May 21, 2017, file photo provided by The Public Theater, Tina Benko, left, portrays Melania Trump in the role of Caesar's wife, Calpurnia, and Gregg Henry, center left, portrays President Donald Trump in the role of Julius Caesar during a dress rehearsal of The Public Theater's …
Joan Marcus/The Public Theater via AP
DANIEL NUSSBAUM

Several Hollywood celebrities have called for a boycott of Delta Air Lines and Bank of America after the two companies announced Sunday they would no longer sponsor the New York City Public Theater over a controversial staging of Julius Caesar in which a Trump look-alike is brutally murdered on stage.

In separate statements Sunday, Delta and Bank of America said they would no longer sponsor this summer’s Free Shakespeare in the Park series over the Oskar Eustis-directed production of Julius Caesar, which opened in previews last month and is set to open for a limited run Monday in Central Park’s Delacorte Theater.

In the play, Caesar sports a slicked-back blond haircut and a business suit, while his wife Calpurnia speaks with a Slavic accent. During the climax of the play, the Trump-inspired Caesar is brutally stabbed to death by his associates in the Senate.

The character’s resemblance to the president has shocked some attendees and sparked a backlash among his supporters.

“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 company said in a statement Sunday. “Their artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste.”

Added Bank of America: “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.”

Now, Hollywood figures including House of Cards creator Beau Willimon, The Wire creator David Simon, actor Ron Perlman and others have taken to social media to blast the companies for pulling their sponsorships, and some called for an active boycott against them.

“Now I know where not to bank & who not to fly with,” Willimon, a vocal critic of President Trump, wrote on Twitter Sunday. “Actions like this create a culture of fear. We must support free expression, not punish.”

Still, not all of Hollywood was displeased with Delta and Bank of America’s decisions. Actor James Woods wrote on Twitter that he would use the bank’s services in the future.

 

Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum

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