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Norman Lear Says It Was ‘A Very Simple Decision’ Not to Attend the White House’s Kennedy Center Reception

TCA: The legendary producer criticizes the Trump administration's attack on arts and humanities funding.

Norman Lear, Donald Trump

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Producing icon Norman Lear’s decision to skip the White House reception before the Kennedy Center Honors isn’t political, he said, but rather in reaction to the Trump administration’s stance on the arts and humanities.

Lear will attend the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony on Dec. 3, but he’s believed to be the first honoree to skip the reception beforehand.

“I think of it as a very simple decision,” Lear told reporters Monday at the Television Critics Association press tour. “The Kennedy Center is about the arts and humanities. I’m someone who believes when the world is safe for everybody, the arts will have played a large part of that.”

Lear criticized the Trump presidency for turning “its back on the arts and refuses to fund the arts and humanities. I can’t imagine wishing to go there. Its not political but for that. You can imagine how I feel about the individual. But it is the turning of the presidency back on the arts and humanities that I can’t honor that with a visit.”

“I could never turn my back on the [Kennedy Center],” Lear wrote on his Twitter feed. “It represents the Arts and Humanities which mean everything to me. Of course, I’m accepting the honors. What I’m not accepting is the @WhiteHouse reception with @realDonaldTrump.

He also wrote: “If anything can bring us hope & encouragement in these difficult times, it has to be the arts and humanities. TY @kencen for this honor.”

Lear was meeting with reporters on Monday along with the cast and producers of Sony’s Netflix comedy “One Day at a Time.” A reporter noted that “One Day at a Time” star Rita Moreno had previously been honored by the Kennedy Center, but had attended the White House reception under a previous administration.

“My heart breaks,” Moreno said of Lear’s predicament.

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