The woke panic gripping the nation now includes the board of New York City’s American Museum of Natural History. The museum and city are set to remove the iconic 14-foot statue of former president Theodore Roosevelt that’s sat outside the museum entrance for the past 80 years. And actor-director Ben Stiller has declared it be replaced with a statue of actor Robin Williams.
“How about replacing it with a statue of Robin Williams. He deserves one,” said Ben Stiller on Sunday, responding to the news.
How about replacing it with a statue of Robin Williams. He deserves one.
— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) June 21, 2020
Stiller, of course, co-starred with Robin Williams in the 2006 adventure comedy Night at the Museum. Williams — who committed suicide by hanging in 2014 — played the role of Roosevelt, who, like several of the exhibits in the Museum of Natural History, comes to life atop his horse.
“The time has come to move it,” said Museum of Natural History president, Ellen V. Futter, citing “the ever-widening movement for racial justice that has emerged after the killing of George Floyd” as part of the reason behind the decision to remove the statue.
Stiller cosigning the toppling of Rosevelt’s statue — which the New York Times says “has long prompted objections as a symbol of colonialism and racism” — comes just days after the Comcast-owned, U.K.-based network Sky slapped a trigger warning on 16 films for their “outdated attitudes.” One of those movies with “outdated … cultural depictions which may cause offence today” includes Tropic Thunder, the 2008 hit comedy which Ben Stiller directed, co-wrote, and starred in, alongside Robert Downey Jr. in blackface.
To many, Tropic Thunder is a classic, including Breitbart News’ John Nolte. “The performance is brilliant and brilliantly funny. There’s nothing racist about it — quite the opposite. The whole point of the character is good-natured satire. Co-writer, director, and star Ben Stiller uses Lazarus like buckshot to satirize too many things to count…” Nolte wrote on Sunday. […] “Hollywood is one of America’s rule-makers, and Hollywood has declared blackface in any form racist regardless of intent.”
Again, many agree with Notle.
But are the New York Times right? Was the intent behind the statue honoring one America’s most iconic presidents, flanked by a Native American and an African American man, as the Times claims some say to glorify “a symbol of colonialism and racism”? If the statue “does not reflect Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy,” as his great grandson now says, was that true before George Floyd died in police custody? In other words, if the statue of Roosevelt doesn’t reflect “the values of equality and justice,” then why did it take the Museum of Natural History 80 years realize it?
Robert Downey Jr.’s performance in Tropic Thunder earned him a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the 2009 Academy Award. I wonder Ben Stiller, did he deserve it?
Jerome Hudson is Breitbart News Entertainment Editor and author of the bestselling book 50 Things They Don’t Want You to Know. Order your copy today. Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter and Instagram @jeromeehudson.