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USC to remove John Wayne exhibit amid unearthed racist comments and student protests

In a 1971 interview with “Playboy,” John Wayne admits to believing in white supremacy.

Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock

The University of Southern California has decided to remove an exhibit dedicated to the late John Wayne from the School of Cinematic Arts.

USC students led a protest demanding its removal after racist and homophobic remarks from the actor, who briefly attended the university, resurfaced from a 1971 Playboy interview.

“I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility,” he said. “I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.”

He also had some disparaging words to say about Native Americans.

“I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them, if that’s what you’re asking,” he said during the interview. “Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just 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.”

Additionally, Wayne used the f-word, a homophobic slur, while discussing the 1969 film Midnight Cowboy.

USC students have reportedly been asking for the exhibit’s removal since October.

“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,” Evan Hughes, USC assistant dean of diversity and inclusion, said in a statement. “Therefore, it has been decided that the Wayne Exhibit will be removed.”

The contents of the exhibit will be placed in the university’s Cinematic Arts Library for “the purpose of research and scholarship.”

In light of Wayne’s resurfaced racist and bigoted comments, the Democratic Party of Orange County are currently pushing for the renaming of John Wayne Airport. They also are demanding that the statue of the actor also be removed from the county airport.

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