A University of Southern California exhibit dedicated to John Wayne will be removed from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts following a student-led protest that decoded the actor’s history of racism and homophobia.
“Talking about systemic racism in our cultural institutions along with the latest global, civil uprising from the Black Lives Matter Movement requires that we consider the role that our school can play as a change maker to promote anti-racist cultural values and experiences,” said USC’s assistant dean for diversity and inclusion, Evan Hughes said in a statement. “Therefore, it has been decided that the Wayne exhibition be removed.”
The contents of the John Wayne exhibition, which also criticized the Western film genre’s depiction of Native Americans, will instead be placed in the university’s Cinematic Arts Library. “Placing them in the right archival and research context allows scholarships to continue with the role that John Wayne’s films played in film history,” Hughes added.
Announcement about the John Wayne Exhibition: pic.twitter.com/8vg5tUUjCj
– USC Cinematic Arts (@USCCinema) July 10, 2020
Wayne briefly attended USC on an athletic scholarship in the 1920s before an injury forced him to leave the university.
In recent months, the Democratic Party in Orange County also passed an emergency resolution to rename the county’s John Wayne airport and remove a statue of the actor, citing his “racist and big statements.”