Delta Airlines and Bank of America cancelled sponsorships of The Public Theater’s “Shakespeare in the Park” series in New York due to this year’s controversial adaptation of Julius Caesar.
The 2017 interpretation of the play has been criticized for appearing to depict the assassination of President Donald Trump in perhaps a not-so-subtle political statement.
Guy Benson, a Fox News contributor said, “This is so incredibly in poor taste that I’m surprised they haven’t cast Kathy Griffin in the production.”
Delta and Bank of America apparently shared that sentiment and released statements as to the reasoning behind pulling funding. Delta clarified the company’s position saying:
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. 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 published the following statement on Twitter as well:
Bank of America supports art programs worldwide, including an 11-year partnership with The Public Theater and Shakespeare in the Park. The Public Theater chose to present Julius Caesar in such 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. We are withdrawing our funding for this production.
A third sponsor of The Public Theater, American Express, also attempted to publicly distance itself from the controversy:
We would like to clarify that our sponsorship of the Public Theater does not fund the production of Shakespeare in the Park nor do we condone the interpretation of the Julius Caesar play.
We would note that all three of these companies have very liberal records on the issues; the scorepages for Delta, Bank of America, and American Express in our company database illustrate the links between each corporation and the advocacy they support.
However, it appears that leadership at these companies have recognized a problem with the political statement made in this summer’s adaption of Julius Caesar by The Public Theater, especially in the wake of the recent controversy over Kathy Griffin’s tasteless photo shoot.
All things considered, the Shakespeare in the Park should be a lesson to corporations for the problems that arise from getting too close to political advocacy in the first place.
Breitbart has collected a series of tweets from liberals in Hollywood are threatening to boycott these three companies in retaliation for stepping away. We believe it makes more business sense, and causes fewer headaches, just to stay neutral in the first place.
This article was originally published at 2ndVote.com.