The panel, which consists of artist from the worlds of theatre, film, the visual arts, and literature, penned a letter to the President on August 18 explaining their resignation was in direct response to the Administration's handling of the racially charged events in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend. The committee is comprised of 16 members including actor Kal Penn who announced the move via Twitter (where else?).
"Reproach and censure in the strongest possible terms are necessary following your support of the hate groups and terrorists who killed and injured fellow Americans in Charlottesville", the letter states.
"Effective immediately, please accept our resignation from the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities", the members wote. Director George C. Wolfe was the only member not to sign the letter. The arts and humanities are such an integral part of who we are as a nation.
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Referencing Trump's attacks on the media, draconian budgets defunding the arts, threats of nuclear war with North Korea, decision to leave the Paris climate accords, and his intention to ban transgender military service, the group declared, "Ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions". "We took a patriotic oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic", the committee said, in the resignation letter. "Your values are not American values", the former arts council members wrote. We know the importance of open and free dialogue through our work in the cultural diplomacy realm, most recently with the first-ever US Government arts and culture delegation to Cuba, a country without the same First Amendment protections we enjoy here. "We must be better than this".
Another presidential advisory committee appears to be breaking up. Your words and actions push us all further away from the freedoms we are guaranteed. "If this is not clear to you, then we call on you to resign your office, too", the letter reads.
The kicker to all of this is that the First Lady of every administration serves as an honorary co-chair for the PCAH.