Norman Lear Refuses to be Honored by Donald Trump

Matt Sayles  Invision  AP

Other honorees at the 40th Kennedy Center Honors are hip hop artist LL Cool J, musician and record producer Lionel Richie, dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade, and Cuban-born singer Gloria Estefan, who plans on attending the event to express her stance on immigration directly to Trump.

Representatives of Lear have released a statement on his decision to snub the White House reception, explaining "Mr. Lear is thrilled to receive a Kennedy Center Honor this year".

Set to take place on 3 December in the Kennedy Centre Opera House, this will be the first ceremony to take place under President Trump. "Although he has clearly stated he will not be attending the White House reception he looks forward to attending the Awards Gala at the Kennedy Center on December 3rd and 'wouldn't wish to be anywhere else that night'".

Lear cited the president's proposed cuts to the National Endowment of the Arts as one reason why he may miss the event.

"I think the arts are important for our humanity, and that includes this administration", Lear told Variety. If Trump calls off his attack on government support for the arts and humanities, he added, "maybe that will cause me to change my mind".

In a pair of tweets posted Friday, Lear said, "I could never turn my back on the @kencen". Estefan has also been a vocal critic of the new president, but she sees the reception as "the flawless opportunity to make clear and express" her views to the president.

Lear - a longtime outspoken progressive - founded People For The American Way, a progressive advocacy group in 1981.

Executive producer and creator Norman Lear seen at "The Power of TV: A Conversation with Norman Lear and Netflix original series "One Day at a Time" " ATAS Panel at the Wolf Theater at Saban Media Center on Monday, June 19, 2017, in Los Angeles.

For four decades the Kennedy Center Honors have been awarded to those "recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts". "I'm not saying I need to be there backslapping and all of that, but this time, this one ain't about him".

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