Arts, News

John Wayne’s boots are walking

John Wayne

USC will remove an art exhibit dedicated to the actor because of his racist comments


Actor John Wayne’s cowboy boots are walking right out of an art exhibit at the University of the Southern California.

USC’s School of the Cinematic Arts announced that it will remove an exhibit dedicated to the Academy Award winning actor because of racist comments he made about Blacks during a 1971 interview in Playboy. He won the Oscar for  Best Actor in the 1970 movie “True Grit.”

Wayne made derogatory remarks about, Native Americans, gay characters and African Americans even though some Black women gushed over him to the point of embarrassment.  He attended USC where he majored in prelaw.

“I believe in white supremacy until the Blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe giving authority  and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people,” said Wayne, who died June 11, 1979. He was 72.

Wayne starred in “Stage Coach” (1939) and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (1962) and a number of war pictures although his service was confined to Hollywood’s sound stages. In all Wayne appeared in 142 movies and he is still considered the among the country’s 10 favorite actors.

Removing Wayne’s exhibit is the right thing to do,  a USC official said.

“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,” Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Evan Hughes said recently. Hughes said the exhibit will be moved to the Cinematic Arts Library where it will be placed within the proper archival  and research context concerning Wayne’s role in film history.

There also is a movement to rename John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, in addition to removing his statue that stands at the airport’s entrance.



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