- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 5, 2017

Television icon Norman Lear, the writer and producer of classic sitcoms including “All in the Family” and “Sanford and Sons,” said he won’t attend a White House reception when he’s honored at the Kennedy Center later this year, citing his disapproval of President Trump and his administration’s policies.

Mr. Lear, 95, announced the boycott shortly after he was named Thursday as one of five entertainers being recognized at the annual Kennedy Center Honors ceremony in December, a snub rarely seen in the event’s nearly 40-year history.

“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,” Mr. Lear first told The New York Times on Thursday.

“I am honored to accept the award, I could not respect the arts and humanities more, and I could not be more honored to be in the company that are being honored,” he told The Los Angeles Times on Friday. “But I will not be going to the White House.”

Mr. Lear plans to attend the awards gala being held December 3 at the Kennedy Center, his representative said in a statement, and “wouldn’t wish to be anywhere else that night.”

“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 the honors,” Mr. Lear clarified Friday on Twitter. “What I’m not accepting is the @WhiteHouse reception with @realDonaldTrump.”

“If there was ever a time to pay attention to the arts and humanities, it’s now,” he told the L.A. Times. “It’s what brings us together, it’s what connects us, it’s what holds us together culturally. And the arts and humanities could not be more important than now, when we are so badly splintered.”

The Trump administration has endorsed eliminating both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities —independent agencies that have each contributed millions of dollars annually to various projects dating back to the 1960s, — much to the chagrin of liberals, Mr. Lear included.

Other honorees slated to be awarded at December’s gala include singer-songwriter Gloria Estefan, rapper and actor LL Cool J, dancer-choreographer Carmen de Lavallade and singer-songwriter Lionel Richie.

Mr. Lear would likely be the first recipient to skip a White House ceremony for honorees since the event’s start in 1978, the L.A. Times reported.

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