Sponsors drop 'Julius Caesar' over murder of Trump-like figure

It is "Julius Caesar" with a Trumpian twist. The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park stages its production with the main character not in traditional Roman garb but in a business suit with a long tie and reddish blond hair and a wife with a heavy Slavic accent. But some people and companies say the staging goes too far and that the classic scene where rival politicians violently stab Caesar in the back promotes violence against the president of the United States.

Now corporate sponsors Delta and Bank of America are pulling their support for the show. Delta said: "Their artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste." Bank of America said: "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."

And after, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted: "I wonder how much of this 'art' is funded by taxpayers?"

The National Endowment for the Arts wants everyone to know that no taxpayer funds support the production.

People waiting on line in Central Park for free tickets to the production said they feel the Public Theater should have the free artistic license to present the play as it chooses.

Oskar Eustis, the Public's artistic director, told the AP in a statement, "Anyone seeing our production of 'Julius Caesar' will realize it in no way advocates violence towards anyone."

Some sponsors are standing by the theater company, including the New York Times, which said it supports the right of the Public Theater to stage the production as it chooses.