The USC School of Cinematic Arts have today announced their plans to remove an exhibition focused on John Wayne because of the actor’s past racist statements.
Actor and filmmaker Wayne, who dominated the box office for more than three decades, is quoted as saying “I believe in white supremacy” in the interview which is dated back to 1971. Between 1926 and 1977, Wayne appeared in over 170 films and was undoubtedly one of America’s biggest stars and was nominated for three Academy Awards, winning once for Best Actor in a Leading Role in 1969.
Talking to Playboy, Wayne made comments such as “Hollywood studios are carrying their tokenism a little too far” and described Native Americans as “selfish”.
Wayne also added: “I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility,” said Wayne. “I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.”
Continuing, Wayne said: “I don’t feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these people were slaves. Now, I’m not condoning slavery. It’s just a fact of life, like the kid who gets infantile paralysis and has to wear braces so he can’t play football with the rest of us.”
“I will say this, though: I think any black who can compete with a white today can get a better break than a white man. I wish they’d tell me where in the world they have it better than right here in America.”
Now, after months of protests by students of the school, the exhibit will be removed. Evan Hughes, the school’s Assistant Dean of Diversity & Inclusion, confirmed the news: “Conversations about systemic racism in our cultural institutions along with the recent global, civil uprising by the Black Lives Matter Movement require that we consider the role our School can play as a change maker in promoting antiracist cultural values and experiences,” Hughes said in a statement. “Therefore, it has been decided that the Wayne Exhibit will be removed.”
See the full statement, below.