With corporate sponsors withdrawing financial support for the Public Theater’s “Shakespeare in the Park” due to a recent Donald Trump-inspired take on “Julius Caesar,” documentarian Michael Moore announced Tuesday he is donating $10,000 to the organization. Moore is calling upon his fans to lend their support as well.
Moore says that the $10,000 represents the advance he received for his one-man play, which will premiere at the Belasco Theatre on Broadway next month.
“In a time like this, it is important that we stand up against any attempts to censor art or free expression, especially by denying this expression the funding that it needs,” said Moore. “As one who is about to stage my first theatrical event on Broadway, neither I nor anyone else in the theater should feel intimidated by what’s happened here or ever worry about how much control certain sponsors or investors have over our work.”
The New York-based company’s rendition of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” which ended its run on June 18, was performed in modern dress and featured a Caesar that resembled Donald Trump. Act III begins with the famed assassination of Caesar by conspirators in the Roman Senate, with the rest of the play examining the disastrous consequences as well as the motives and morales of the assassins and Caesar’s surviving allies.
The modernized take – which also included dressing the soothsayer who foretells of Caesar’s demise in an Anonymous-style Guy Fawkes mask – drew backlash from conservative circles, leading Bank of America and Delta Air Lines to pull their support from the company.
“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,” Delta said in a statement. “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.”