Film students at the University of Southern California are protesting against a campus exhibit dedicated to the life and films of John Wayne.
According to a report by the USC student newspaper, a group of student protesters is pushing back against an on-campus exhibit dedicated to the films of Hollywood legend John Wayne.
Eric Plant, a junior at USC, created a banner that he intends to display outside of the film school.“By keeping Wayne’s legacy alive, SCA is endorsing white supremacy,” Plant’s banner reads.
“I’m going to go every minute that I have and stand there,” Plant stated. “I had conversations while I was standing there, and I was getting people to support it. I would like to keep being there and keep having a presence there.”
The criticisms of Wayne are in part based on a 1971 Playboy interview in which Wayne said that he believed in “white supremacy” and defended the taking of the land that became America from the Native Americans.
“I believe in white supremacy,” Wayne said during the interview. “We can’t all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the Blacks.”
“I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them,” Wayne added. “Our so-called stealing of this country from them was a matter of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.”
USC’s Interim Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Evan Hughes offered a vague statement to the student newspaper in response to the student protests.
“Our values as an inclusive community are predicated on the idea that our student population needs to be heard and have a say about our SCA environment, especially when information comes to light that changes how we relate to it,” Hughes said in a short comment.