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SEPTEMBER 2020

U.S. Protesters Deface, Set On Fire, And Throw Columbus Statue In A Lake For Being Racist

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U.S. Protesters Deface, Set On Fire, And Throw Columbus Statue In A Lake For Being Racist

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On June 9th, protesters in Richmond, Virginia tore down a statue of Christopher Columbus and threw it in a lake.

It happened at Byrd Park in the city, following a peaceful demonstration outside of the statue in honor of indigenous people.

Shortly afterwards the statue was torn down, spray painted, set on fire and thrown in the lake in the park.

At the height of the destruction, agitators attacked photographers, demanding they leave the scene.

According to protesters, Columbus represented genocide and racism.

US President Donald Trump went to Twitter and said that the 75-year-old protester who was pushed to the ground by police officers and was bleeding was likely an Antifa supporter.

The Washington, D.C. Council, the legislature for the United States capitol, unanimously passed an emergency bill to reform policing in the city.

The measure bans police from using chemicals such as tear gas and pepper spray on protestors, as well as “less-lethal projectiles” like rubber bullets and stun grenades. It also makes it unlawful for police to restrain someone by the neck, as in a chokehold.

The bill also prevents the Metropolitan Police Department from hiring law enforcement officers who were fired from a policing job in another jurisdiction, or resigned ahead of pending disciplinary action or termination.

In more questionable moves, HBO Max pulled “Gone with the Wind” from its library of films.

The 1939 film, which tells the love story of Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler during the American Civil War, is considered by many to be a cinematic classic and is one of the most popular films ever made.

The film’s portrayal of slavery, African Americans and the Civil War South has been received much more critically in the decades since its release.

A spokesperson for HBO Max said that “Gone with the Wind” is “a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society.”

These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today, and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that when the film returns to HBO Max, it “will return with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions,” and will be presented “as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.”

“If we are to create a more just, equitable and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history,” the spokesperson said.

This followed an opinion piece by John Ridley, screenwriter of “12 Years A Slave” published in Los Angeles Times calling for HBO Max to remove the film.

“It is a film that glorifies the antebellum south. It is a film that, when it is not ignoring the horrors of slavery, pauses only to perpetuate some of the most painful stereotypes of people of color,” Ridley wrote. “The movie had the very best talents in Hollywood at that time working together to sentimentalize a history that never was.”

Ridley made it clear that he didn’t want “Gone with the Wind” to be “relegated to a vault in Burbank,” California, but rather be taken down for a “respectful amount of time.”

“Let me be real clear: I don’t believe in censorship,” Ridley wrote. “I would just ask, after a respectful amount of time has passed, that the film be re-introduced to the HBO Max platform along with other films that give a more broad-based and complete picture of what slavery and the Confederacy truly were.”

Ridley added that the film “could be paired with conversations about narratives and why it’s important to have many voices sharing stories from different perspectives rather than merely those reinforcing the views of the prevailing culture.”

In the UK, protesters struck out Sir Winston Churchill’s name under his statue and wrote down that he was a racist, causing a bit of controversy around one of the people responsible for actually winning World War II against Nazi Germany.

https://twitter.com/MartinDaubney/status/1270607269869375488?s=20

In the same vein, Queen Victoria’s statue in Leeds’ Woodhouse Moor was defaced with “BLM” and “Murderer.”

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