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Closing the curtain on “Presidential Assassination Theater”

Closing the curtain on “Presidential Assassination Theater”

Nothing artistic about assassinating a president.

I recently noted there was a bizarre rendition of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Julius Caesar, in which the title character resembled President Donald Trump.

What I did not report at the time is that I called my banking institution of 19 years, Bank of America, and warned them that their continued sponsorship of this travesty would cost them my long-term business. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one either, as the corporation and another sponsor have cut ties to the New York City theater that produced the play.

Delta Airlines and Bank of America pulled out of their sponsorship of New York’s Public Theater on Sunday over a production of “Julius Caesar” that reimagines the main character as President Trump.

…Delta, which donates between $100,000 and $499,000 annually, according to Deadline, pulled its sponsorship Sunday afternoon.

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, one of The Public Theaters’s dozen corporate sponsors, offered similar reasoning.

“Bank of America supports art programs worldwide, including an 11-year partnership with The Public Theater and Shakespeare in the Park,” a spokeswoman told the Daily News. “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.”

Of course, some of the play’s backers remain. For example, CNN and its parent company Time Warner. In fact, plagiarizer and CNN host Fareed Zakaria raved about play!

Zakaria so enjoyed the bloody spectacle, was so enthused, he declared the play a “masterpiece” and publicly recommended it to others.

“If you’re in NYC, go see Julius Caesar, free in Central Park,” Zakaria tweeted 13 days ago, “brilliantly interpreted for Trump era. A masterpiece.

I will remind Legal Insurrection readers that CNN once employed Kathy Griffin, who recently engaged in “presidential assassination entertainment”, and was subsequently shocked to find her career decapitated. The hatred for Donald Trump seems to be the muse for the cable news channel.

Since the new administration arrived in Washington, CNN has continued this war at a fever pitch. Daily they roll out eight-person panels where not one person defending the administration is represented. They have offered the most biased coverage of the Trump administration by far, to the point that Republicans on Capitol Hill openly mock their lack of balance. A network that once strove to be centrist in their approach is now openly antagonistic, and will run with the thinnest of scoops for hours at a time in order to make their case against President Trump.

One final point that I feel compelled to make is that there was actually been a production of an Obama-based Julius Caesar in 2012:

That production, part of a national tour done in collaboration with the Acting Company of New York, starred Bjorn DuPaty, a tall basketball aficionado who resembles then-President Barack Obama (pictured above).

Perhaps the difference is that the degree of hostility to President Trump is far more intense, and Americans are new genuinely concerned that the press-based hatred could inspire an assassination attempt. For example, President Obama did not have to endure:

* His daughter being harassed on an airplane.
* Social justice activists staging protests at the homes of his relatives.
* Graphic images of his beheading (in fact, a rodeo clown was fired for wearing an Obama mask).
* His personal property being vandalized.
* Aging rock stars threatening to bomb the White House during public appearances.

There are just a few of the challenges President Trump has had to face, and he hasn’t even been in office for 150 days.

The difference between the 2012 production and the new version is that Obama-love permeated the media, so Americans were not as concerned about his life being endangered.

In 2017, Trump-hate radiates from the media. Sensing the difference, millions of Americans rallied in support of their President.

In conclusion, it is time to close the curtain on “Presidential Assassination Theater.”



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Bank of America, the presenting sponsor of the Public Theater and an 11-year backer, has also withdrawn its sponsorship of the production, but not the nonprofit itself.

I tried to contact American Express but you have to physically write to them. Their online “Contact us” link is limited to FAQs and other fixed, non-interactive communications.

A few hours ago, they ordered the theater to pull down the American Express banner with a public announcement that although they patronize the regular season schedule, they never funded the summer theater productions. Pretty lame reasoning. They only support the Nazi party when they do good things, not when they do bad things.

You know, I was on the fence about seeing a play in which our elected President is assassinated by anarchists, perhaps thinking it was in bad taste. But I guess if Fareed Zakaria, noted CNN commentator, plagiarist, and early supporter / late critic of the Iraq war endorses it, then it must be good.

    Walker Evans in reply to tyates. | June 13, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    ROFLMAO! (Don’t you find it difficult to talk with your tongue pushed that far into your cheek?)

It is astonishing just how much this blog has abandoned its principles.

In 2013, this blog rightfully mocked liberals for getting upset over a rodeo clown wearing an Obama mask, noting in particular that the previous president had had the same treatment.

Now, when the right gets upset over Trump getting the same treatment as Obama in a play, Legal Insurrection decides being a special snowflake is something to be celebrated. The premise that there was no violence towards Obama before that play in 2012 is ridiculous.

There were “Obama hangings” during his first campaign:
And plenty more after.

An “aging rocker” ‘threatened to kill him’ (at least in the sense Madonna threatened to kill Trump) back when he was still in the Democratic primaries:

There were Obama severed heads:

And Obama mannequin targets that really bleed:

Buzzfeed asked the worker if the resemblance was intentional.

“Let’s just say I gave my Republican father one for Christmas,” the worker replied.

Threats against Trump have been at the same level as threats against Obama at this point in his presidency, according to the Secret Service:

This is just hypocrisy, plain and simple.

    Oh, no…I have been called a hypocrite! Whatever shall I do.

    Here’s the thing: That public theater can put on any play it wants to, in any manner it wants to. However, when tax-payer dollars are being used, or when a company that I do business with spends profits on these inanities, I have every right to complain, which I did.

    And the day I change my opinion based Think Progress piece on the Tea Party, it will be a frosty day in Tartarus. But, thanks for trolling anyway.

      notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Leslie Eastman. | June 13, 2017 at 8:52 pm

      Bravo Leslie, Bravo!

      You might need a self-esteem tune-up after that one. A few quiet minutes in my happy place usually does it for me.

      Please point out where I claimed you didn’t have the right to complain. You absolutely have the right to threaten BofA with a boycott because you don’t like the speech of some speakers they support financially. And I have the right to call the blog hypocritical. And idiot leftists have the right to threaten Chick-Fil-A with a boycott because its CEO has views they disagree with, or complain to the Missouri State Legislature because now it’s their president’s turn to get lampooned. Now that we all understand our rights, do you have any actual defense to the charge that your post here makes the blog hypocritical? I mean, of course, besides complaining that I supported one of my assertions that something occurred by citing to video documenting that occurrence, and the video happens to be on a website you dislike.

    Paul in reply to Awing1. | June 13, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Wow, that was quick and with multiple citations! I think LI is on somebody’s radar and they’re feeding their trolls with talking points. Hilarious. Pathetically hilarious.

      Awing1 in reply to Paul. | June 13, 2017 at 9:31 pm

      Or, you know, I have access to that secret database known as “google”. And yeah, this blog has been on my radar since 2011, when I found it while looking up professors at the law school I was about to attend. I then went on to take Professor Jacobson’s clinic for two semesters, because I play that troll long game.

        ee76 in reply to Awing1. | June 13, 2017 at 10:06 pm

        So I suppose you have the stats on how many “journalists” are Democrats, and how many news stories have been critical of Trump vs Obama, etc. How many riots the tea partiers instigated. How many times Republicans have shut down freeways, and speakers on campus. A few drops against the tide
        won’t save you.

    tom swift in reply to Awing1. | June 13, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    This is just hypocrisy, plain and simple.

    Not at all; it’s your lack or perception, plain and simple.

    As subject matter, Obama and Trump are hardly comparable. If we speak of the tyrannicide, the deaths of tyrants, Obama was a tyrant … or at least a wannabe; but Trump, despite the paranoid fever-dreams of our Progressive Axis, is not. The implication of this production—that he is a tyrant—is just standard Democratic projection, accusing their enemies of their own crimes. And the Democratic crimes were very real. Surely you recall the phone and pen which Obama bragged were his ticket to do an end-run around the Constitutional limits to his powers. Trump has shown no such blatant disdain for the fundamental structure of our federal government. Nor has he perverted the foundations of civilized government, weaponized the IRA and the NSA to harass and spy on good Americans, funded criminal organizations, provided aid and comfort to America’s enemies and their weapons programs, illegally shipped weapons to foreign criminals, conducted his own personal drone assassination program, etc, etc. The two are different as night and day.

    tyates in reply to Awing1. | June 13, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    On behalf of everyone here at this blog, thank you for letting us know that disagreeing with the firing of a rodeo clown wearing an Obama mask in 2013 invalidates our right to express our disapproval of a corporate sponsored event in New York City’s largest public park that depicts the Republican president being assassinated. It can be hard to come up with examples of so-called “liberal logic”, so I have to say that you’ve really done us a service. Please enjoy a complimentary dunce cap on your way out.

      Awing1 in reply to tyates. | June 13, 2017 at 9:37 pm

      Don’t thank me, because you didn’t grasp what I said at all. The hypocrisy is in deriding liberals for complaining about their president being treated the same way as the previous president, then yourself complaining when your president is treated the same way as the previous president. It’s really not that complicated.

        ee76 in reply to Awing1. | June 13, 2017 at 10:26 pm

        Too late at night, or I would google! But I call hogwash.
        If you look at the media for one, they never treated Obama this way. But you seem able to search, forget about bias and google, keeping in mind scope and magnitude. Apples and oranges.

        Tom Servo in reply to Awing1. | June 14, 2017 at 10:08 am

        So, Awing, you should be jumping for joy and grinning from ear to ear this morning. A gunman tried to assassinate as many Republicans as he could, you can be proud, he did exactly what you wanted and what you called for!


    Get out of the sun and under an awning. And fast.

    buckeyeminuteman in reply to Awing1. | June 14, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Go back to the abyss from whence you came.

The National Endowment for the Arts (YOUR tax dollars hard at work!) also funds this theater company.

Of course the progs and the press (oh wait, that’s redundant) are racing to the scene to argue that NEA grants are for specific projects, and no NEA money went to THIS specific project.

Of course, that is a a mind-numbingly asinine argument, much like Planned Parenthood saying that federal money doesn’t go to abortions, just to mammograms. Money is fungible… give an organization money to do A and they can spend their own money on B. Giving them money for A enables them to do B just the same as if you’ve directly funded B.

The NEA should be completely de-funded. ZERO tax dollars should be going to “art” of any kind.

Humphrey's Executor | June 13, 2017 at 8:46 pm

Don’t forget, things don’t end up well for the assassins. And I must admit I wouldn’t mind seeing a Trump impersonator deliver these lines:

I could be well moved, if I were as you:
If I could pray to move, prayers would move me:
But I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true-fix’d and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament.
The skies are painted with unnumber’d sparks,
They are all fire and every one doth shine,
But there’s but one in all doth hold his place:
So in the world; ’tis furnish’d well with men,
And men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive;
Yet in the number I do know but one
That unassailable holds on his rank,
Unshaked of motion: and that I am he,
Let me a little show it, even in this;
That I was constant Cimber should be banish’d,
And constant do remain to keep him so.

    “But I am constant as the northern star,
    Of whose true-fix’d and resting quality
    There is no fellow in the firmament.”

    There are many words that come to mind to characterize the President, but ‘constant’ is not one of them.

Re – Shakespeare in the Park, the Assassination of Donald Trump

I am not claiming that my efforts caused anything to happen, but I do know several other “Road Warriors” who did just about the same thing I did.

I have pointed out before that I fly Delta, ALOT. I have flown on 100 or more flights a year on Delta every year for the last 26 years. I now have a new traveling companion and she has flown 100 or more Delta flights with me each of the last two years. I have two AMEX cards, and one is a Delta Platinum AMEX car. I use it mostly for buying tix on Delta. She has a Delta AMEX Gold card.

Anyway, when this thing broke I had just received an email from AMEX inviting me to upgrade my non-Delta card to get great gifts. I replied to the email, described my reaction to the play and told them that the upgrade would not occur.

Then I called Delta. I called customer support, explained my reaction to the play and indicated that there is another airline that is actually more convenient for the majority of my flights. I was passed to her supervisor, had the same conversation, and was passed to her supervisor. I also pointed out that that I was just as upset with AMEX and wasn’t really sure how much I needed that Delta AMEX card.

My friend made the same call and had just about the same conversation. She got to three supervisors rather than two, but that may be because she called after I did and they may be more sensitive to this now. Of course, it could also be because she is an attractive blonde and I am not.

Today, we each got a call from someone who said they were a “Regional Supervisor”, thanking us for our input. They said that Delta was surprised and shocked at what had transpired in the play and had withdrawn all of their financial and other ‘in-kind’ support. They were calling us back to make it clear that they took their customers opinions seriously.

And I saw that they did just that.

Of course, we have no idea who we actually spoke with, but at least they were concerned enough to go through the motions. Made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Nothing public from AMEX yet. I did get another email today telling me that they had increased my credit limit. A little while ago, I called them and told them that they didn’t really need to do that because I was probably going to cancel the card. The lady started going – “but”, “but”, “but”. But, I hung up.

Payback’s a bitch.


Henry Hawkins | June 13, 2017 at 9:28 pm

Upcoming Public Theater productions:

To Kill A Mocking Donald

Bonnie & Donald

The Manchurian Donald

The Devil Wears Donald

The Donald Went Down To Georgia

The Devil And Donald Webster

Full Metal Donald

All Quiet On The Western Donald


I wonder what Shakespeare had to pay for life insurance. Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Richard II, Titus Andronicus, Henry IV pt 2, King Lear, Richard III … there sure were a lot of dead monarchs left lying around in Shapespeare’s plays. Pretty daring, considering that the Tudors were none too enchanted with that whole concept.

Shakespeare was still active when the Tudor line died out, but that didn’t help much, as the Stuarts were a bit touchy about the topic, too … and, it later turned out, with good reason.

    stevewhitemd in reply to tom swift. | June 13, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    To be fair, all of Shakespeare’s royal subjects were long dead, Caesar especially. Sure, one could read between the lines, and many did (that was the point of plays).

    But notice that the Bard never wrote a play about the assassination of Queen Elizabeth.

    If he had, perhaps Sir Francis Bacon would then have written a play about the death of a popular playwright in the Tower of London…

To be (president), or not to be (president) – that is the question. And – it has been answered: The Donald is president, and clinton has been put out into the woods (though she might get hauled back for indictment.)

I hadn’t heard about the Obama-as-Caesar play. And to be honest, I have no desire to see either. But, I do have to wonder how the assassination scene in each was staged.

Will all donors withdraw from this travesty now that Steve Scalise has been shot? His shooter was clearly influenced by the play’s message.

Awing1, Your examples look like under-the-radar small-time incidents. Shakespeare in the park is not.

There are two possible bases for your charge of hypocisy: 1) if Leslie thinks it’s OK to stage the murder of Obama, but not of Trump, or 2) if Leslie puts more energy into protesting the staging of the murder of Trump than she would put into protesting a similar staging of the murder of Obama.

If you are arguing for 1), then you’re not a reasonable person and there’s no point responding to you.

Regarding 2), I don’t believe this is a similar staging. Also, I think a case can be made that Trump is more in need of defenders than Obama.

In summary, I think your charges of hypocrisy are specious.

Albigensian | June 14, 2017 at 3:22 pm

Is it necessary to point out that Shakespeare presents the murder of Julius Caesar as a tragedy, or that it is the title character (not Cassius!) who is the tragic hero (although flawed, as all tragedic heroes must be)?

At best, casting Pres. Trump as Caesar seems to make a mishmash of the original play. One wonders, is there a dramatic purpose here beyond whatever pleasure the audience gets from watching knives go into the Caesar/Trump character?

Also, it didn’t go well for Marc Antony. He came to a sticky end. And his girlfriend too.

It’s not art, whatever they call it. It is political propaganda. Treat it as such. Boo and heckle the actors. Throw garbage on the stage.