BET Founder Robert Johnson on Wednesday ripped protesters tearing down historical monuments across the United States as “borderline anarchists” and said black Americans “laugh” at White Americans who believe toppling statues and boycotting television programs are what black people truly desire.
Protesters destroying monuments “have the mistaken assumption that black people are sitting around cheering for them saying ‘Oh, my God, look at these white people. They’re doing something so important to us. They’re taking down the statue of a Civil War general who fought for the South,” Johnson, the U.S.’s first black billionaire, said in an interview with Fox News. “You know, black people, in my opinion, black people laugh at white people who do this the same way we laugh at white people who say we got to take off the TV shows.”
“Look, the people who are basically tearing down statues, trying to make a statement are basically borderline anarchists, the way I look at it. They really have no agenda other than the idea we’re going to topple a statue,” Johnson added “It’s not going to give a kid whose parents can’t afford college money to go to college. It’s not going to close the labor gap between what white workers are paid and what black workers are paid. And it’s not going to take people off welfare or food stamps.”
The businessman concluded: It’s “tantamount to rearranging the deck chairs on a racial titanic. It absolutely means nothing.”
Johnson’s remarks come after Black Lives Matter activists, who have taken to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd, have torn down multiple Confederate statues. Monuments of leading American figures such as former Presidents George Washington and Andrew Jackson have also been targeted. On Monday, Washington, D.C. police officers successfully prevented protesters from toppling a statue of Jackson. The Department of Defense has since mobilized hundreds of National Guard troops to provide security for monuments in the nation’s capital.
Hollywood has also bowed to pressure from Black Lives Matter activists by adding trigger warnings and pulling episodes deemed potentially racial insensitive to the left. Namely, HBO Max removed the classic 1939 film Gone with the Wind and intends to restore it with a disclaimer and introduction from university professor Jacqueline Stewart.
NBCUniversal was one of several entertainment powerhouses that were forced to remove episodes of shows featuring characters in blackface. This week, the corporation deleted four 30 Rock episodes with characters in blackface from streaming services.