President's arts advisers resign over Trump's Charlottesville response
Fox, Univision CEOs also speak out against racism, bigotry
Members of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities resigned Friday over U.S. President Donald Trump's response to the violent unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia.
"Supremacy, discrimination and vitriol are not American values. Your values are not American values," the members wrote in their resignation letter dated Friday.
"If this is not clear to you, then we call on you to resign your office, too."
The committee included private members such as actor Kal Penn, author Jhumpa Lahiri, painter and photographer Chuck Close, singer-songwriter Paula E. Boggs and theatre performer John Lloyd Young. All of the members were holdovers from former president Barack Obama's tenure.
"The Administration's refusal to quickly and unequivocally condemn the cancer of hatred only further emboldens those who wish America ill," the letter reads.
"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."
- Trump's business, manufacturing councils disband
- CEOs of Intel, Merck, Under Armour abandon White House council after Charlottesville
The only private member who did not sign the resignation letter was Broadway director George C. Wolfe.
Representatives for Wolfe at Creative Arts Agency said Friday that he was also resigning and that his name would be added to the letter, according to The Associated Press.
The White House also did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
The arts and humanities committee was established in 1982 under former president Ronald Reagan and works with both government and private agencies in promoting the arts. The first lady serves as honorary chair.
CEOs denounce bigotry
The panel's resignation follows Trump disbanding his business and manufacturing councils, after many CEOs of major American corporations announced they were leaving due to his response to the events in Charlottesville.
Other CEOs have also since expressed concern over Trump's reaction to the deadly violence in Charlottesville.
James Murdoch, the CEO of 21st Century Fox, said Trump's response "concern all of us as Americans and free people," in a personal email first reported by the New York Times on Thursday. Murdoch added that he and his wife, Kathryn, will donate $1 million US to the Anti-Defamation League.
Meanwhile, Univision Communications CEO Randy Falco published an open letter saying: "Leaders from corporate America must step in to protect the communities we serve, as so many leaders in our nation's capital are failing to speak out forcefully and clearly against the spreading hate and bigotry."
He added: "The current insanity threatens to spiral out of control and has to stop. Leadership is needed."
Trump blamed "many sides" for the demonstrations that left an anti-racism activist dead at last weekend's "Unite the Right" gathering in Charlottesville. He blamed the violence on both white nationalists and those protesting the gathering last weekend, saying there were "very fine people" on both sides.
With files from The Associated Press