The fake outrage machine strikes again: a Shakespearean interpretation

Gregg Henry portrays a Trump-esque version of the doomed Roman ruler during a rehearsal of Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park production of “Julius Caesar.” (Joan Marcus/Public Theater via AP)

The pump truppets have their panties in a bunch because of this:

Et tu, Public Theater?

The New York-based arts organization came under fire for staging a production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” starring Trump look-alike Gregg Henry in the titular role. In this staging of play, which was part of the summer’s Free Shakespeare in the Park, Caesar is a businessman known for his petulant personality, fancy suits and blondish hair with orange overtones.

His wife, Calpurnia, even has a Slavic accent, much like first lady Melania Trump.

In the play, Roman senators fear Caesar had become power hungry, so they stab him to death.  

Delta Air Lines pulled its funding of the theater group on Sunday in response to mounting criticism. Soon after, Bank of America pulled its sponsorship of the play but will retain its funding of the theater. …

Soon after, the conservative Breitbart News published a story headlined, “‘Trump’ Stabbed to Death in Central Park Performance of ‘Julius Caesar.’”

The controversy spread nationally Sunday after Trump’s son Donald Trump, Jr., retweeted a story from Fox News stating, “A New York City play appears to depict President Trump being brutally stabbed to death by women and minorities.”

In the retweet, Trump, Jr. said, “I wonder how much of this ‘art’ is funded by taxpayers. Serious question, when does ‘art’ become political speech & does that change things?”

But five years ago:

[T]here was no such backlash in 2012, when a collaboration between the Acting Company and the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis — which also received financial backing from Delta — mounted a contemporary remake of “Julius Caesar” in which the title character appeared to reference President Barack Obama. Caesar’s character, of course, is brutally slain in the play. …

“Because Caesar is cast as a tall, lanky black man, the Obama inference is a bit too obvious,” wrote MSP Mag of the actor, Bjorn DuPaty. “But it fits, sort of. Like Caesar, Obama rose to power on a tide of public goodwill; like Caesar, there were many in government who doubted Obama’s leadership abilities; and now that Obama’s first term has failed to live up to the messianic hype, there are plenty of people who — for the good of the country, you understand, not their own glory — want to take Obama down.”

The Twin Cities Daily Planet also noted the production’s effort to evoke the Obama era: “By the time we got to the OCCUPY ROME sign and the Faireyesque Caesar posters, I was watching through my fingers with my hands over my face,” reviewer Jay Gabler wrote, referring to Shepard Fairey, the artist who designed the iconic “Hope” Obama campaign posters.

Back then, outrage did not ensue; the American Conservative praised the casting choices, calling the production “riveting.” And Delta — which did not immediately respond to a request for comment — maintained its longtime support of the theater.

Will I ever be able to go through another day without these hypocritical clowns pissing me off?

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