There is just approximately no voice in television more universally lauded and respected than Norman Lear, the creative force behind landmark shows like coarse in the Family, The Jeffersons, and Maude. So it makes sense that the Kennedy Center would want to honor him, as it has decided to finish this year — but Lear has already announced that he won’t attend the traditional reception for honorees, because the annual event is held at the White House.
Lear insisted on Twitter that he isn’t disavowing the Kennedy Center in general. But he was just as firm approximately the fact that he couldn’t in kindly conscience attend the center’s 2017 festivities whether it meant playing nice with the Trump administration.
I could never turn my back on the @kencen. It represents the Arts and Humanities which mean everything to me. Of course, I’m accepting…
— Norman Lear (@TheNormanLear) August 4, 2017
Lear further explained his decision during an August 7 panel for his latest exhibit, Netflix’s remarkable, brilliant One Day at a Time, at the Television Critics organization summer press tour, specifically nodding to the Trump administration’s calls to eliminate funding for agencies that support the arts and humanities:
I assume of it as a very simple decision. The Kennedy Center is approximately the arts and humanities. I’m somebody who believes, when the world is safe for everybody, the arts will play a large share in that. And a presidency that … turns its back on the arts and refuses to fund the arts and humanities — I can’t imagine wishing to recede there. … It’s nearly not political but for that. I understand everything else that’s going on, and you can imagine how I feel approximately the individual, but it’s the turning of the presidency’s back on the arts and humanities that I can’t honor that with a visit.
Don’t accumulate him wrong: Lear has previously been clear that his opinion on Donald Trump is that the man is “a thorough idiot.” But so far as the Kennedy Center honors are concerned, Lear hopes to develop a statement approximately his investment in the arts as something far more famous than a distraction.