University of South California’s School of Cinematic Arts will remove an exhibit dedicated to alumni John Wayne over the Hollywood icon’s racist views.
Wayne was a student and sports star at the university in the 1920s, but the recent resurfacing of a controversial interview has contributed to the school deciding to make a change.
The interview in question, which was with the Rolling Stone magazine back in 1971, saw Wayne declaring his belief in white supremacy.
The removal of the exhibition was announced by Evan Hughes, the school’s Assistant Dean of Diversity & Inclusion.
“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.”
Western movie icon Wayne said in the original interview: “I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.”
Speaking of Indigenous Americans, he also said, “There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.”
The interview is also the reason politicians in California have also been petitioning to have John Wayne Airport in Orange County renamed.
However, in response, son Ethan Wayne released a statement to Fox News claiming his dad, “was not a racist” saying the word gets “casually tossed around these days”.
He said: “There is no question that the words spoken by John Wayne in an interview 50 years ago have caused pain and anger. They pained him as well, as he realised his true feelings were wrongly conveyed.
“The truth is, as we have seen in papers from his archives, he did not support ‘white supremacy’ in any way and believed that responsible people should gain power without the use of violence.
“Those who knew him, knew he judged everyone as an individual and believed everyone deserved an equal opportunity. He called out bigotry when he saw it.
“He hired and worked with people of all races, creeds, and sexual orientations. John Wayne stood for the very best for all of us — a society that doesn’t discriminate against anyone seeking the American dream.”
John Wayne died in 1979.