Donald Trump Jr. asked a question on plenty of Americans’ minds when he asked this “serious question” on Twitter about the New York theater that staged a play featuring the assassination of his dad:
I wonder how much of this "art" is funded by taxpayers? Serious question, when does "art" become political speech & does that change things? https://t.co/JfOmLLBJCn
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) June 11, 2017
The play was Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” and it is quite literally a political play which features the murder of Caesar by his friends for basically becoming “too big for his britches.” (Apologies to the Bard.)
The younger Trump understandably might be a little sensitive about this because the Central Park production cast a man who looks similar to his dad as ‘Caesar.’
And it features a bloody stabbing scene at the hands of triumphant leftist protesters who are black and women.
Trump’s once white shirt is soaked through with blood:Screenshot/YouTube
The younger Trump wasn’t alone in his outrage.
Two of Shakespeare in the Park’s higher profile benefactors, Bank of America and Delta Airlines, pulled their funding because of the bloody depiction.
We are withdrawing our funding pic.twitter.com/MlaONF82FN
— Bank of America News (@BofA_News) June 12, 2017
While Delta is a longtime sponsor of the highly-respected Public Theater, we do not condone this interpretation of… 1/2
— Delta (@Delta) June 11, 2017
Seeing where this whole thing was headed, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) issued a statement saying, basically, don’t look at us:
The National Endowment for the Arts makes grants to nonprofit organizations for specific projects. In the past, the New York Shakespeare Festival has received project-based NEA grants to support performances of Shakespeare in the Park by the Public Theater. However, no NEA funds have been awarded to support this summer’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar and there are no NEA funds supporting the New York State Council on the Arts’ grant to Public Theater or its performances.
The group does receive a variety of government funding, however. In its Form 990 from 2015, the last year for which the numbers are available, showed that the charitable organization received government grants totaling $886,208:Screenshot/The Public Theater
Anne Hathaway and Kevin Kline are among the actors who volunteer their time at the organization. The Public Theater is licensed to fundraise in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and California.
And one thing’s clear. Taxpayer money funds the organization, but it just might not be from the NEA.