If a group of students at the University of Southern California get their way, a longstanding exhibit celebrating the career of legendary Hollywood actor John Wayne will be long gone.
Because of the late actor’s racist viewpoints, student activists at the private Los Angeles-based school are calling for the end of the shrine celebrating the trailblazing career of Wayne, who claimed USC as his alma mater.
A USC spokesperson told the Daily News that The Wayne Collection exhibit went up in June of 2012 and is comprised of movie posters, memorabilia, awards and personal correspondence of the Duke, who attended the college in the late 1920s when he was still known by his birth name, Marion Morrison.
According to the Daily Trojan, the student newspaper, Wayne’s “legacy of endorsing white supremacy and the removal of indigenous people” is the cause for the call for removal.
This interpretation of the iconic star mostly comes from a controversial 1971 interview Wayne conducted with Playboy magazine.
Earlier this year, quotes from the interview resurfaced and were widely circulated on social media, bringing new light to the once beloved actor – affectionately known as “The Duke” and what has been interpreted as his antiquated, conservative and racist beliefs.
“Since the reemergence of [the Playboy interview] I have felt viscerally uncomfortable [with the exhibit] because of the promotion and glorification of a noted white supremacist and racist,” film student Reanna Cruz told the outlet.
In 1971, the 63-year old Interset, IA. native was a dedicated anti-communist who backed the Vietnam War, dismissed student anti-war protesters and railed against the critically-acclaimed counterculture films such as “Easy Rider” and “Midnight Cowboy” – calling them “perverted films.”