Leading Hollywood liberal and legendary television creator Norman Lear announced Saturday that his progressive causes organization People for the American Way would launch an initiative aimed at combatting “hate speech and anti-Muslim rhetoric” propagated by Donald Trump and other Republican presidential contenders.
The 93-year-old All in the Family and Good Times creator announced the effort at his organization’s Spirit of Liberty Dinner in Beverly Hills on Saturday night, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“I’ll let you in on a little secret,” Lear told the dinner guests. “At a board meeting this very morning, People for the American Way decided to devote a major effort to the issue of hate speech and anti-Muslim rhetoric.”
“I’ve never seen our country so confused, so removed from anything resembling an American dream, heading in a direction that scares the hell out of me,” he added. “Trust me, in 93 years, one sees a lot.”
According to the organization’s website, Lear co-founded People for the American Way in 1981 along with the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan and others who were “disturbed by the divisive rhetoric of newly politicized televangelists.” In the decades since, Lear and his organizations have championed a wide assortment of progressive causes, including leading the battle to overturn California’s Proposition 8 in 2012. In August, Lear described himself as a “bleeding-heart conservative.”
Echoing comments he made during an interview in October, Lear told attendees of Saturday night’s dinner that he does not believe Donald Trump has a realistic chance of winning the presidency.
“I haven’t believed — and don’t believe now — that the American people would elect Donald Trump president,” he said, according to THR. “I see Donald Trump only as the middle finger of the American right hand.”
Saturday night’s Spirit of Liberty dinner honored, among others, Golden Globe-nominated writer-director Judd Apatow and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, both of whom could not resist piling on Trump.
Apatow compared Trump to “the psycho girl on The Bachelor who you don’t want to get kicked off too early” because “you want to see what she might do.”
“And later in the season, you’re like, ‘enough of her, let’s get to the real contestants,'” the 40-Year-Old Virgin director joked. “I feel like we’re at that moment right now. It’s been fun for a while, but now we want to move on.”
Warren, who earlier this year was presented with an ACLU civil liberties award by Lear, criticized what she called Trump’s “racist, sexist hatred.”