USC Will Remove John Wayne Exhibit After Student Protests

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USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) in Los Angeles, California will remove its exhibit featuring iconic actor John Wayne following protests by students and alumni claiming that “by keeping Wayne’s legacy alive, SCA is endorsing white supremacy.”

The exhibit, which was dedicated to Wayne, who attended the university and played football for the school in the 1920s, will now be removed according to a Friday announcement by the assistant dean of diversity and inclusion, Evan Hughes.

“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,” said Hughes in a statement.

“Therefore, it has been decided that the Wayne Exhibit will be removed,” he added.

Students and alumni began protesting the exhibit last fall after allegedly racist comments made by the actor in a 1971 Playboy magazine interview resurfaced, according to a report by the Hollywood Reporter.

The school responded in December by retaining the exhibit, but creating a new area to expand on Indigenous filmmaking, feminism, and critical race theory — which wasn’t enough to quell protests among students.

The report added that one of the banners used during the protests read, “by keeping Wayne’s legacy alive, SCA is endorsing white supremacy.”

In his announcement on Friday, Hughes added that the material from the John Wayne exhibit “will not be housed in the Cinematic Arts Library archives where other artifacts and papers of influential Hollywood figures reside for the purpose of research and scholarship.”

“Placing them within the proper archival and research context will allow scholarship to continue on the role that John Wayne’s films played in the history of cinema,” he added.

USC School of Cinematic Arts students are not the only people trying to banish the late iconic actor over comments he made in an interview almost 50 years ago.

Democrats in Orange County are demanding the removal of actor Wayne’s name from the local airport due to the “racist and bigoted statements” that he made.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler at @alana, and on Instagram.

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