Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Portland drive-in fest pulls Kindergarten Cop screening after criticism it "romanticizes over-policing in the U.S.”

Illustration for article titled Portland drive-in fest pulls iKindergarten Cop/i screening after criticism it romanticizes over-policing in the U.S.”
Screenshot: Kindergarten Cop

Kindergarten Cop is a movie about a kindergarten teacher played by Arnold Schwarzenegger who’s also a cop, you idiot. It’s also the latest piece of cop-centric entertainment to be reexamined following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, which has since prompted worldwide protests and calls to defund the police. Cops and Live P.D. were canceled amidst the protests, while the team behind Brooklyn Nine-Nine is currently rethinking its next season. (Paw Patrol, however, is safe, despite what you may have heard from the White House.)

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Portland’s Northwest Film Center was slated to screen the rowdy 1990 comedy on Thursday evening at its summer drive-in series, citing its “importance in Oregon filmmaking history” (it was set and shot in and around Astoria). A Portland author, Lois Leveen, took issue with that choice, calling it “a weird time to revive Kindergarten Cop” in a tweet addressed to the organization. “There’s nothing entertaining about the presence of police in schools,” her tweet continued, “which feeds the ‘school-to-prison’ pipeline in which African American, Latinx and other kids of color are criminalized rather than educated.”

“Yes, Kindergarten Cop is only a movie,” she went on to say. “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.”

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(Leveen has since made her tweets private, presumably after some angry fans called her a “party pooper.”)

“After discussion with staff and community members,” the Northwest Film Center axed the presentation, replacing it with a second screening of the documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble.  

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No matter how you feel about the decision, one thing is for sure: Our nation’s princesses will no longer be forced into becoming policemen.

[via Deadline and The Washington Times]

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Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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