Norman Lear is one of the most outspoken liberals in the entire entertainment business, a man who spent the 1970s filling the airwaves with sitcoms directly addressing social issues, then all but dropped out of the industry in the ‘80s (at the height of his powers) to battle the Moral Majority and the Reagan Administration by forming the progressive advocacy group People For the American Way.
So you can only imagine what he thinks of Donald Trump. But Indiewire reports that his decision not to attend the White House’s Kennedy Center reception isn’t political – well, not really.
As Lear explained at the Television Critics Association’s press tour, the Trump administration “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’s back on the arts and humanities that I can’t honor that with a visit.”
He’s been very clear with regards to his feelings about “the individual.” When he talked to Flavorwire last year, we asked if his most famous creation, working-class conservative Archie Bunker, would’ve been a Trump man – and Lear said no. “When he was asked to be part of a group burning a cross on a neighbor’s lawn, he wouldn’t do it,” he explained. “I think he was caught up in what is represented by Fox News today, but not in the ideology of hatred.”
To be clear, Lear will attend the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony, just not the Trump-hosted reception beforehand. And he doesn’t think his decision to skip that reception was a big deal, though he is (as far as anyone can tell) the first Kennedy honoree to do so. “I think of it as a very simple decision,” Lear told reporters at the TCAs. “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.”