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'The Good Place's William Jackson Harper Calls Out Trump For Dangerous Censorship Over 'Malcolm X' Screening

By Kristy Puchko | Celebrity | October 6, 2020 |

By Kristy Puchko | Celebrity | October 6, 2020 |


Last night on Twitter, The Good Place’s William Jackson Harper brought a disturbing form of Trump-initiated censorship to light. Harper, who is the son of a marine, was invited to host a virtual event through Arts In The Armed Forces, which would involve a Talkback and Q&A about a film of his choosing.

The film chosen was 1992’s Malcolm X, the Spike Lee-directed biopic about the Muslim minister and civil rights activist, who was memorably played by Denzel Washington.

Harper shares in his Twitter thread his excitement about the movie and the chance to discuss its themes with the academy’s students. Then, two days before the event, President Trump’s “Executive Order Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” proved a snag. The order dictates that military institutions not promote the “pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country; that some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors.” Basically, because Malcolm X is a film about systemic anti-Black racism in America, showing it to military members could be seen as breaking this order.

THAT is where we are at.

Confronted with this, Jackson stated on Twitter, “This is censorship. This executive order is an attempt to censor certain difficult truths that still haunt our society. This executive order denies the very real experiences of so many minorities in this country. This executive order is rooted in the fictitious idea that the scourges of racism and sexism are essentially over, and that the poisonous fallout from centuries discrimination isn’t real.”

He also argued, “I believe that the selective censorship of certain chapters of our country’s because we find it disquieting, or because it disrupts our narrative and tarnishes our self-image, is cowardly at best, dangerous at worst, and dishonest either way.”

Here is William Jackson Harper’s full thread:

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Kristy Puchko is the managing editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.

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