USC Gives In To Progressive Pressure To Remove John Wayne Exhibit

AP Photo
AP featured image
Actor John Wayne, making his first movie since his operation for chest cancer, lines up for lunch at a movie commissary near Durango, Mexico, January 7, 1965, where he is filming “The Sons of Katie Elder.” He displays two Mexican Chili peppers in his right hand. (AP Photo)


Apparently, the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) in Los Angeles, California, doesn’t have much in the way of true grit. Amid cries of racism and white supremacy, the institution decided to remove an exhibit featuring actor John Wayne. Students and alumni objected to the display, arguing that “by keeping Wayne’s legacy alive, SCA is endorsing white supremacy.”

Evan Hughes, the assistant dean of diversity and inclusion announced that the exhibit would be taken down. In a statement, he explained, “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.”

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

Hughes also stated that the materials from the exhibit would be relocated to the Cinematic Arts Library along with other artifacts to “allow scholarship to continue on the role John Wayne’s films played in the history of cinema.”

Progressive students and alumni started protesting the exhibit last year after racist comments that were allegedly made by Wayne during a 1971 Playboy magazine interview resurfaced. During the conversation, he reportedly said, “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.”


Initially, the school reacted to the story by keeping the exhibit but adding an additional area that focused on Indigenous filmmaking, critical race theory, and feminism. As usual, this compromise did not satiate progressives at the university.

Of course, this isn’t the only arena where the left is attempting to cancel John Wayne. In Orange County, leftists are pushing to remove his name from a local airport because of the “racist and bigoted statements” he allegedly made.

Some members of Wayne’s family have weighed in on the controversy, claiming that the actor was not racist. His son, Ethan Wayne, released a statement saying, “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 realized his true feelings were wrongly conveyed.”

Ethan Wayne also asserted that it would be an “injustice” to judge his father’s views on one interview. He explained that the overall picture would cast the actor in a different light and show him as a person who “called out bigotry when he saw it.”

This is one in a long series of examples of institutions acquiescing to the crybullies on the left. We have seen the scenario play out numerous times over that past few years, haven’t we? And yet, none of these folks have learned that giving into the Church of Wokeness doesn’t solve any problems. Indeed, it only gives them more power.


If Wayne did make those racist comments, he should be criticized for it. But as his son pointed out, this one interview does not necessarily encapsulate the totality of his beliefs on race. How do we know he didn’t change his mind later in life? How do we know he was not misquoted?

Moreover, how many other actors during Wayne’s time would actually stand up to scrutiny in 2020? This isn’t to excuse expressions of bigotry, but singling out one actor, who happened to be a Republican, over others reeks of political posturing.

It is already apparent that far-left progressives care nothing about racism. Indeed, it is nothing more than a political weapon to be wielded against the right. Unfortunately, it seems that more and more institutions have become too afraid to stand against them, which is precisely the objective the far-left wishes to achieve.


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