Legendary TV producer Norman Lear has been announced as one of five of this year’s Kennedy Center honorees, but the “One Day at a Time” creator will boycott the annual White House reception over Donald Trump’s presidency.”I think of Donald Trump as the middle finger of the American right hand, and they are saying, “This is the kind of leadership you give us everywhere? Corporate America, political America, fuck you.” And he represents that middle finger”.
Gloria Estefan — who will also be honored alongside musician and record producer Lionel Richie, rapper LL Cool J and dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade — says she will attend and use the opportunity to press Trump on his administration’s immigration policy.
“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,” Lear told the New York Times on Thursday. However, Lear’s spokesperson clarified that the producer will attend the awards gala and “wouldn’t wish to be anywhere else that night.”
“Mr. President, as a proud immigrant of this country, it’s very important for me that you see the wonderful contributions we have made,” said Estefan. “We have seen a lot of anti-immigrant backlash this year, so for us, it may hold even more beauty than for someone who has lived here all their lives. To get this kind of award is so American.”
This is not the first time Lear has spoken out against Trump, previously referring to him as a “thorough fool” in an interview with the Daily Beast.
The Kennedy Center honorees are traditionally welcomed to the White House for a reception in December, before the president appears beside them on the red carpet at the annual gala.
In statements to the Times, the other honorees said they had no plans to boycott the event. LL Cool J, the first rapper to be honored, said he’d put his personal politics aside to collect the award.
“I don’t have any stunts planned. I’m not saying I need to be there backslapping and all of that, but this time, this one ain’t about him,” he said. “I’m not going to block my blessings or let the political divide stop me from embracing my art. I’m banking on the goodness and the optimism of people to say: ‘You know what? I get it. Let this guy have this honor.’”