- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fleeing sponsors and an attack on congressional Republicans has not shaken Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes’ support for New York’s Public Theater.

Delta Air Lines and Bank of America dropped support for the Big Apple’s Public Theater after the notoriety of its reworking “Julius Caesar” to have the titular character — assassination scene included — be inspired by President Trump.

Regardless, Mr. Bewkes said his company will not try to leverage its influence by pulling financial resources.

The businessman’s decision comes just one day after 66-year-old gunman James T. Hodgkinson shot Rep. Steve Scalise and three others on an Alexandria, Virginia, baseball field. The shooter, a left-wing activist and former volunteer for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, died after exchanging gunfire with cops.

“We’re certainly not going to drop our support for an institution like the Public Theater,” Mr. Bewkes told shareholders, Variety reported Thursday.

“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.”

The CEO then said Americans are drawing erroneous conclusions from watching clips of a Trump-like Julius Caesar stabbed to death on stage.

The play “is not doing what the critics who haven’t seen the play or read the play are assuming the play is leading the audiences to think,” Mr. Bewkes said.

Delta Airlines disagreed. The company released a statement June 11 saying the theater’s “artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste.”

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