A major donor is taking a stab at defending the Public Theater’s controversial staging of Julius Caesar.
According to Variety, Time Warner’s chief executive officer Jeff Bewkes defended his company’s funding New York’s Public Theater, which saw two major sponsors drop their support this week. The exodus of sponsors comes as outrages has mounted over the staging of the Shakespeare play that features a President Trump–like character getting assassinated at its bloody climax.
“We’re certainly not going to drop our support for an institution like the Public Theater,” said Bewkes.
“The point of the play is one that has been debated for probably 400 years. It’s not one that advocates, if you think about the play itself, about Julius Caesar—the killing of Caesar itself raises very important points about how that did not work out well, nor did it accomplish the ends of those senators who did kill Caesar,” he said.
“So I think the weight of opinion has been over the past several hundred years, and why all of us have been assigned it in school, to learn about tyranny, learn about how elected leaders can end up changing what they got elected to. And if the senators who are responding to it engage in, in the case of Caesar, murder, is that a good thing? I think the play on balance says no.”
As Variety notes, Bewkes pointed out that the play has been previously produced with a Caesar based on Barack Obama, and that “it is common for modern Shakespeare productions to cast classic characters to resemble contemporary public figures.”
Below, watch the offending footage from the play.
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