Norman Lear — the legendary TV producer behind such progressive sitcoms as All in the Family, The Jeffersons and Good Times — has had a good year. Not only did he recently celebrate his 95th birthday, he also launched a reboot of One Day at a Time, a Netflix sitcom about a Cuban family with a lesbian family member. Lear was also selected to receive a Kennedy Center Honor, an annual award for lifetime achievements in American performing arts, but he has chosen to boycott the pre-awards reception at the White House in protest of U.S. President Donald Trump.
There are several reasons Lear might not want to mingle with Trump. His One Day at a Time features a family in Los Angeles struggling with immigration issues, LGBTQ acceptance and veteran healthcare, three areas Trump has help set back.
But it’s actually Trump’s threat to slash funding to the National Endowment for the Arts that has compelled Lear to boycott the pre-awards reception at the White House.
“This is a presidency that has chosen to neglect totally the arts and humanities — deliberately defund them — and that doesn’t rest pleasantly with me,” Lear said. The veteran producer has also called Trump “a real-life Archie Bunker,” a reference to the bigoted father from Lear’s ‘70s sitcom series All in the Family.
Trump and his wife will host a ceremony for the award recipients in the White House and sit with them at the awards reception in December. Lear may run into the president at the actual awards ceremony, but even then he said he’ll be too much in the moment to consider what he’ll say to Trump.
Among the other 2017 award recipients are LL Cool J, Lionel Richie, Carmen de Lavallade (an actress and choreographer who will also skip the White House reception) and Gloria Estefan, the Cuban-born singer who has also been openly critical of Trump’s immigration policies and who plans on using the pre-awards reception to push for pro-immigration policies.
Lear said he would consider attending were Trump to change his position on the arts. Good luck with that.
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