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Kal Penn, entire White House arts committee, quits

Kal Penn, entire White House arts committee, quits
Posted at 2:15 PM, Aug 18, 2017

Hollywood and Broadway appear to be taking a page from Wall Street's playbook.

The remaining 16 members of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities resigned in protest on Friday, capping off a dramatic week that included a stream of CEO resignations from two of President Trump's business councils.

Actor Kal Penn on Friday tweeted an official resignation letter that read as a sharp rebuke of the President's actions in the wake of the attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend that led to three deaths and dozens of injuries.

"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 members wrote in the letter. "The false equivalencies you push cannot stand. The Administration's refusal to quickly and unequivocally condemn the cancer of hatred only further emboldens those who wish America ill. We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions."

The PCAH was created under President Ronald Reagan in 1982 with the purpose of advising the White House on issues around arts and humanities, according to its website. First Lady Melania Trump serves as the committee's honorary chairwoman.

The remaining members are holdovers from the Obama-era who agreed to stay on until Trump finds their replacements, according to sources who spoke to The Washington Post. Some Obama-era members quit when Trump was elected last year. Members typically come from the arts and entertainment community. Politicians, educators, lawyers and business leaders round out the committee.

The members also used the letter to slam Trump for policies they say threaten to diminish civil rights, damage the environment, cut funding to arts and risk the overall safety of the country.

"Speaking truth to power is never easy, Mr. President," the letter read. "But it is our role as commissioners on the PCAH to do so. Art is about inclusion."

This committee's decision on Friday bookends a week that started with the President fighting backlash over his remarks on the Charlottesville attack. A rush of CEOs quit one of two business councils in the wake, prompting President Trump to disband both on Wednesday.