With his sitcoms like All in the Family, Maude, Good Times and The Jeffersons, Norman Lear not only ruled the TV airwaves in the 1970s, he also helped change the way a lot of people think. For instance, Maude Findlay, played indelibly by Bea Arthur, shocked America by becoming pregnant as a 47-year-old grandmother and deciding to have an abortion. All in the Family‘s Archie Bunker, Carroll O’Connor’s supremely bigoted blue collar American, was forever getting his comeuppance, including a famous episode when he learned a close friend was gay. Its story line reportedly infuriated then-president Richard Nixon, which gives Lear our everlasting respect. More than four decades later, the legendary producer is still on the right side of history. Just this week he announced that although he’s among the honorees of the upcoming Kennedy Center Honors, he will accept the award on December 3 but won’t attend the pre-awards reception hosted by President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in protest of some of the president’s policies.
“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,” Lear told the Los Angeles Times. “But I will not be going to the White House.” Lear noted that his decision is in response to the president’s budget proposal to eventually eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Even though he’s now 95, age obviously hasn’t softened his stance on bigotry, either. Check out his recent Tweet comparing 45 to his most famous TV character.
Remind you of anyone? pic.twitter.com/2Berc39gXD
— Norman Lear (@TheNormanLear) August 4, 2017