- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 4, 2020

A Portland theater has canceled an upcoming screening of the Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy “Kindergarten Cop” after people complained the movie sympathizes with law enforcement.

The Northwest Film Center had planned to show the 1990 film shot in Astoria “for its importance in Oregon filmmaking history” as part of its summer drive-in series at Zidell Yards, but it was called off after Portland author Lois Leveen fired off a series of angry tweets saying the depiction of police in school perpetuates systemic racism, The Willamette Week first reported.

“There’s nothing entertaining about the presence of police in schools, which feeds the ‘school-to-prison’ pipeline in which African American, Latinx, and other kids of color are criminalized rather than educated,” Ms. Leveen wrote.

“Criminalizing of children increases dramatically when cops work in schools,” she argued. “Yes, KINDERGARTEN COP is only a movie. So are BIRTH OF A NATION and GONE WITH THE WIND, but we recognize films like those are not ‘good family fun.’ They are relics of how pop culture feeds racist assumptions. KINDERGARTEN COP romanticizes over-policing in the U.S.”

The Northwest Film Center responded to Ms. Leveen’s tweets, writing that it would instead show a second screening of “John Lewis: Good Trouble” in honor of late congressman, after the first screening scheduled for Aug. 7 sold out.

“Thank you for your feedback,” the film center replied to Ms. Leveen. “Due to overwhelming demand, the Northwest Film Center has added a second showing of John Lewis: Good Trouble to the Cinema Unbound Drive-In at Zidell Yards, with tickets on sale now at http://nwfilm.org.”

“The additional showing on August 6 replaces Kindergarten Cop, which had been chosen for its importance in Oregon filmmaking history,” the film center added. “After discussion with staff and community members, however, we agreed that at this moment in history, John Lewis: Good Trouble is the right film to open this year’s Drive-In series.”

Ms. Leveen appeared to reject the film center’s gesture, responding, “I think what you meant to type was ‘Yes, we made a grave error in not realizing the implicit racism in that programming decision. We apologize and are rethinking who makes our programming decisions hereafter.’ How deep a white normativity hole will @nwfilmcenter keep digging?”

The decision comes amid ongoing political unrest in Portland, where riots have continued for more than two months following the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

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