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Bank of America cancels funding of NYC play in which Trump-like character is killed

In this photo provided by The Public Theater, Tina Benko, left, portrays Caesar's wife, Calpurnia, and Gregg Henry, center left, portrays Julius Caesar during a dress rehearsal of The Public Theater's Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar in New York. Delta Air Lines is pulling its sponsorship of New York's Public Theater for portraying Julius Caesar as a Donald Trump look-alike in a business suit who gets knifed to death on stage. Late Sunday, Bank of America said it would withdraw its funding of the production. (Joan Marcus/The Public Theater via AP)
In this photo provided by The Public Theater, Tina Benko, left, portrays Caesar's wife, Calpurnia, and Gregg Henry, center left, portrays Julius Caesar during a dress rehearsal of The Public Theater's Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar in New York. Delta Air Lines is pulling its sponsorship of New York's Public Theater for portraying Julius Caesar as a Donald Trump look-alike in a business suit who gets knifed to death on stage. Late Sunday, Bank of America said it would withdraw its funding of the production. (Joan Marcus/The Public Theater via AP) AP

Bank of America says it will withdraw its funding of a New York production of “Julius Caesar” that depicts the assassination of a title character who looks like President Donald Trump.

The Public Theater production had been the subject of intense criticism online and in conservative media for days.

Bank of America issued a statement on Twitter late Sunday night saying the production “chose to present Julius Caesar in such a way that was intended to provoke and offend. Had this attention been made known to us, we would have decided not to sponsor it.”

A bank spokeswoman told the New York Times that it would not otherwise end its 11-year financial relationship with the theater.

Delta Air Lines also pulled its funding Sunday.

“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 by Twitter. “Their artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste.”

The play has been in previews since May 23 but is scheduled to open Monday at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park as part of a free Shakespeare festival, the Times reported.

Caesar’s assassination, by stabbing, is one of the play’s most famous scenes. Fox News said the Public Theater production has “a Donald Trump look-alike in a business suit who gets stabbed to death on stage.”

Donald Trump Jr., a son of the president, questioned taxpayer funding for the production in a tweet Sunday and asked “when does ‘art’ become political speech and does that change things?”

Bruce Henderson: 704-358-5051, @bhender

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