Oregon drive-in cancels showing of 'Kindergarten Cop' after criticism about police portrayal
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A Portland, Ore., drive-in theater series has removed the 1990 comedy “Kindergarten Cop” from its lineup amid criticism that it glorifies the school-to-prison pipeline.

The NW Film Center initially selected the movie to open its Cinema Unbound drive-in series on Thursday because of its “importance in Oregon filmmaking history,” the organization wrote on Twitter.

Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as an officer who goes undercover as a kindergarten teacher to catch a drug dealer, the movie was filmed and set in the coastal town of Astoria, Ore.


But on Monday, citing “overwhelming demand” and a “discussion with staff and community members,” the NW Film Center said that “at this moment in history,” the series should instead open with “John LewisJohn LewisLawmakers, activists remember civil rights icons to mark 'Bloody Sunday' Clyburn: Allowing filibuster to be used to deny voting rights would be 'catastrophic' Walking in the footsteps of giants — honoring the legacy of Rep. John R. Lewis MORE: Good Trouble,” the documentary released in July on the civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who died later in the month.

A previously scheduled Friday screening of the documentary had already sold out, the group said.

Portland author Lois Leveen posted a series of tweets Saturday criticizing the film series for including “Kindergarten Cop,” Willamette Week reported.

“National reckoning on overpolicing is a weird time to revive Kindergarten Cop. IRL, we are trying to end the school-to-prison pipeline,” she tweeted, according to the outlet. “Five- and 6-year-olds are handcuffed and hauled off to jail routinely in this country. And this criminalizing of children increases dramatically when cops are assigned to work in schools.”

The nationwide protests against police brutality following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis have prompted a reckoning about portrayals of racism and law enforcement by the entertainment industry.

In a statement to Willamette Week, Leveen compared the Schwarzenegger movie to other films facing criticism in the wake of Floyd’s death.

“It’s true Kindergarten Cop is only a movie,” she wrote. “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,” she added.

HBO Max temporarily removed “Gone with the Wind,” the highest-grossing film of all time, from its platform in June until it could add “multiple historical contexts” to the 1939 film, which critics argue romanticized slavery in the Deep South. 

A&E also canceled its popular “Live PD” series, which followed officers on patrol in real-time, while Paramount Network cut the long-running show “Cops.”