The Public Theater, the New York City “Shakespeare in the Park” group whose rendition of Julius Caesar depicts President Trump being stabbed to death, received an average of $976,296 from the government annually between 2010 and 2014.
“I wonder how much of this ‘art’ is funded by taxpayers?” Donald Trump, Jr. tweeted on Sunday. “Serious question, when does ‘art’ become political speech & does that change things?”
According to 990 forms (Part VIII, Section 1e) obtained by CNSNews.com, taxpayer dollars ("Government Grants - Contribution") accounted for about 4.6% of The Public Theater’s total revenue from 2010 through 2014, which averaged $21,281,920 annually.
Taxpayers shelled out $4,881,480 to The Public Theater over the five-year period, 2010-2014.
The company’s 2012-2014 990 forms are published on their website, and Charity Navigator provided the 2010 and 2011 forms.
On Monday, after CNSNews.com published the list of sponsors of The Public Theater, The Public Theater pulled that list from its website.
Two of the sponsors listed were government agencies: the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts.
After receiving backlash from the public, causing two of its sponsors, Delta Airlines and the Bank of America, to pull their funding, the Shakespeare group put out an unrepentant statement:
“The Public Theater stands completely behind our production of Julius Caesar. We understand and respect the right of our sponsors and supporters to allocate their funding in line with their own values. We recognize that our interpretation of the play has provoked heated discussion; audiences, sponsors and supporters have expressed varying viewpoints and opinions.”
“Such discussion is exactly the goal of our civically-engaged theater; this discourse is the basis of a healthy democracy. Our production of Julius Caesar in no way advocates violence towards anyone. Shakespeare's play, and our production, make the opposite point: those who attempt to defend democracy by undemocratic means pay a terrible price and destroy the very thing they are fighting to save. For over 400 years, Shakespeare’s play has told this story and we are proud to be telling it again in Central Park.”
The group’s production of Julius Caesar will run in New York’s Central Park until its last performance on June 18.
Editor's Note: MRC Business Staff Writer and Research Analyst Aly Nielsen contributed to this report.